Knowing how little you know

I don’t know much.

I think I know a lot.

I think I know what would be the best way to steward my life.  I think I know what is going on in the world.  I think I know what movies are best.  I think I know what is right for the women in my church.

But really, I don’t know much.

Here’s the deal: life is not going to go according to my plans.

None of us can execute the dream we have for our lives.  We cannot will or plan it into existence.

Our lives will be interrupted by death and by life, by joy and by tragedy, by unexpected blessings, and unwanted obstacles.

The comfort in those moments will be that simple truth: I don’t know much.Screen Shot 2013-07-28 at 2.18.14 PM

That’s the message that God condescends to speak to Job:

Have you commanded the morning since your days began, and caused the dawn to know its place…

Where is the way to the dwelling of light, and where is the place of darkness?… 

You know, for you were born then, and the number of your days is great!”

Sarcastic God sort of makes me tremble.

I don’t think the writer of Job wrote that tone into God’s words because he wanted us to think God was making fun of Job.  I think he wanted to emphasize the ridiculousness of created beings trusting in themselves rather than their creator.

His point to Job is clear: our knowledge is so limited.  Yet, when life doesn’t go according to our plan, we behave as if God needs to explain Himself to us.  We behave as if God is making a mistake.

Today, I am seeking comfort in the limits of my knowledge.

So many things in my life are perfect, and yet so many things are not as I would have planned them.  And it is good for me to lay my head on this wooden table and repent for the absurd arrogance that lurks hidden in my heart: the symptoms that I secretly think I know better than God.

My arrogance presents in symptoms like:

Anxiety

Anxiety about work.  Anxiety about what to do today.   Anxiety about what to do in ten years.  Turning strategies around and around in my mind; planning conversations as if enough planning and prepping will make this world be what I want it to be.

As if the God who “provides for the raven its prey” will not provide for my ministry, my day, my life.

Self-pity or bitterness

My absurd arrogance produces the pouting I bring to God’s feet when He refuses to do what I want.  I think I know what is best: for me, for my friends, for my ministry, for my church.  When God doesn’t act in line with my vision I am – at best – confused, and at worst – filled with murmurs that He is holding out on me or not in control.

As if the God who prescribes limits for the ocean waves is not sovereign.  As if the God who cares “when the mountain goats give birth” is not to be trusted to direct the lives of His children.

Frustration and entitlement

When my heart forgets my smallness in the face of His majesty, I start to treat God as if He works for me; as if He is some genie, locked up in the Heavens, ready to be unleashed if I have the right quiet time, if I memorize enough scripture or pray the right prayer.  I talk to God any way I please.

As if He is only my friend and not also the one for whom the “morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy”.

Recall the limits of your creatureliness.

Rest your smallness inside the depths of His might.

One thought on “Knowing how little you know

  1. Thank for this post today. In the midst of a hard, hard time my spirit has been fighting against my faith and all that I’ve ever trusted. Thanks for pointing out the symptoms of my sinful heart and being a tool the Spirit can use to bring me to repentance.

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