You Don’t Have to Understand God to Trust Him

The dead tremble
    under the waters and their inhabitants.
Sheol is naked before God,
    and Abaddon has no covering.
He stretches out the north over the void
    and hangs the earth on nothing.
He binds up the waters in his thick clouds,
    and the cloud is not split open under them.
He covers the face of the full moon
    and spreads over it his cloud.
10 He has inscribed a circle on the face of the waters
    at the boundary between light and darkness.
11 The pillars of heaven tremble
    and are astounded at his rebuke.
12 By his power he stilled the sea;
    by his understanding he shattered Rahab.
13 By his wind the heavens were made fair;
    his hand pierced the fleeing serpent.
14 Behold, these are but the outskirts of his ways,
    and how small a whisper do we hear of him!
    But the thunder of his power who can understand?” – Job 26:5-14 ESV

Job is convinced of God’s greatness and that is what motivates his cries for the Almighty’s help. He is calling on the only one who is able to assist him during his time of need. His God was majestic and mighty in power and that is exactly why Job was willing to place himself at God’s mercy.

Job understood that God was all-knowing and all-powerful. This great God knows things that no human being could ever hope to know. His knowledge is far beyond anything the human mind can comprehend. Just take a look at some of the Hubble Telescope images of the universe and the scope and size of God’s knowledge starts to become clear. Job seemed to have a solid grasp of the greatness of God and could see it reflected in the world around him.

“By his hand the north is stretched out in space, and the earth is hanging on nothing. By him the waters are shut up in his thick clouds, and the cloud does not give way under them. By him the face of his high seat is veiled, and his cloud stretched out over it. By him a circle is marked out on the face of the waters, to the limits of the light and the dark.” – Job 26:7-10 BBE

Job tells his friends that while they seem to be speaking for God, they have no clue what what they are talking about. They are ignorant of the ways of God, and are presumptuous to think that they have figured out the mysteries of life. These men have repeatedly made assumptions about Job’s guilt as if they know for sure what has taken place, but they don’t know. Only God does.

We can’t understand the ways of God; our understanding is limited. We can’t fully comprehend or explain what God does or why He does it, and He doesn’t explain Himself to us. For Job, all he could rest on was his own integrity and his hope in God’s rescue. He stood firm on his claim of innocence and, as he states in the very next chapter, he would go to his grave knowing he had done nothing wrong.

“Let it be far from me! I will certainly not say that you are right! I will come to death before I give up my righteousness. I will keep it safe, and will not let it go: my heart has nothing to say against any part of my life.” – Job 27:5-6 BBE

Job didn’t understand why he was suffering. He couldn’t explain the reasons for all his losses. All he knew was that he had done nothing wrong to deserve any of it. And when it came to his understanding of God, Job was relegated to examining the world around him. He could not see God but he could gather insights about God from nature.

The apostle Paul provides insight into God’s divine display of His glory through His creation. The universe bears the mark of its Maker, giving ample proof of His existence and providing visible illustrations of His power, immensity, creativity, and sovereignty.

They know the truth about God because he has made it obvious to them. For ever since the world was created, people have seen the earth and sky. Through everything God made, they can clearly see his invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature. So they have no excuse for not knowing God. – Romans 1:19-20 NLT

At the end of the day, all any man can know about God is what He chooses to reveal about Himself. Job could see aspects of God’s power and creativity in nature and within the world around him, but he couldn’t fully comprehend how it all worked.

As modern human beings, we can look into the design of the human cell and appreciate its intricacy and complexity, but we can’t explain how God made it. There is so much about God that we don’t understand but we do know that He is powerful. His creation provides a daily demonstration of His power. From the sun, moon, and stars hung in the night sky to the storms that rage on this singular planet floating in the vastness of space, we have been given ample evidence of God’s existence and essence.

King David recognized this cosmic display of God’s glory and immortalized it in words.

The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
    The skies display his craftsmanship.
Day after day they continue to speak;
    night after night they make him known.
They speak without a sound or word;
    their voice is never heard.
Yet their message has gone throughout the earth,
    and their words to all the world. – Psalm 9:1-4 NLT

Yet, fallen man has a way of looking past the signs of God’s glory that surround him. In his pride and arrogance, he tries to write God out of the script by providing his own explanations for the existence of the universe. Yet, humanity would have a difficult time answering the probing questions that God directed at His servant Job.

“Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?
    Tell me, if you know so much.
Who determined its dimensions
    and stretched out the surveying line?
What supports its foundations,
    and who laid its cornerstone
as the morning stars sang together
    and all the angels shouted for joy?” –Job 38:4-7 NLT

No man was there when God created the universe. Yet the creature still tries to explain away the Creator. Man, in his huberis, attempts to play god by providing answers to all the mysteries of life. But God exposes the absurdity of it all.

“Where does light come from,
    and where does darkness go?
Can you take each to its home?
    Do you know how to get there?
But of course you know all this!
For you were born before it was all created,
    and you are so very experienced! – Job 38:19-21 NLT

When all is said and done, all we can really know about God is what He chooses to reveal about Himself. He is the unknowable, unsearchable God. He is beyond finding out and impossible to comprehend and yet He has made Himself known through His creation. And Job knew this God. He knew of the power and majesty of God. But He also knew of God’s love, sovereignty, righteousness, and justice. He knew that God was always watching.

Job knew these things and he rested in them. While knowing these things did not stop his pain or eliminate his suffering, it did give him a sense of hope in the midst of it all. Job’s approach to his situation is similar to that of King David reflected in another one of his psalms.

I said to myself, “I will watch what I do
    and not sin in what I say.
I will hold my tongue
    when the ungodly are around me.”
But as I stood there in silence—
    not even speaking of good things—
    the turmoil within me grew worse.
The more I thought about it,
    the hotter I got,
    igniting a fire of words:
Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.
    Remind me that my days are numbered—
    how fleeting my life is.
You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand.
    My entire lifetime is just a moment to you;
    at best, each of us is but a breath.”

We are merely moving shadows,
    and all our busy rushing ends in nothing.
We heap up wealth,
    not knowing who will spend it.
And so, Lord, where do I put my hope?
    My only hope is in you. – Psalms 39:1-7 NLT

My only hope is in You. Is God where you put your hope? Is He the first place you turn to in times of trouble? There is much about life we will never understand, but we can know that God is faithful, just, righteous, merciful, powerful, and completely in control of any and all circumstances. We can trust Him.

Father, I want to trust You, but I struggle so often with wanting to understand first. I want to have everything explained to me, THEN I’ll trust You. But You aren’t obligated to explain Yourself to me. You don’t have to justify Your actions to me. Part of trusting You is learning to rely on You even when I don’t understand You. You’ve never proven Yourself untrustworthy, Lord, so I’m not sure why I struggle so much with trust. But thank You for your patience. Thank You for Your love. Thank You for Your faithfulness. Amen.

English Standard Version (ESV) The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001

New Living Translation (NLT) Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.