Shortly after my book Prone To Love released I came across a review. The reviewer was an earnest believer who graciously but systematically challenged many of my core thoughts regarding the perfection of Gods always-good love. The review was thorough, the disagreement thoughtful, surgical and, because of the reviewers sincerity and the fact that scripture supported each challenge, convincing.
As I read it I felt anxious. Not because the reviewer disagreed, I don’t need agreement. It was how the reviewer used scripture to methodically undermine the truths I had written. I felt a heavy obligation to systematically respond to each question raised. There was one problem, I wasn’t sure I had the answers.
The next time I sat down to write, instead of further developing the book I was working on, a book about sovereign love, a book that releases later this year, I began to develop a rebuttal.
I opened a new Word Doc on my MacBook. But after only ten minutes of writing I was uneasy. If I responded to each scripture reference, I would be at it for days, maybe even weeks; and after all that, I wasn’t sure I would be able to deliver convincing answers.
Then I heard God laughing.
“What are you doing?” He asked.
“I’m trying to get answers to the scriptures used in that review.” I responded.
“Any luck?” He asked.
“Not yet, and it’s a little overwhelming.” I responded.
“Well, whatever you do, don’t make them up.”
I smiled. “Father, You are so good. I love You.”
“I love you.” He replied.
Then I slid my little MacBook navigation arrow up to the left corner of my new Word Doc. I clicked the dark grey dot, which triggered the on screen prompt, “Do you want to save the changes you made to this document?”
“Don’t Save,” I clicked, smiling again, all anxiety gone. Then I went back to writing what I had been invited to write, I leaned into His pleasure.
My Fathers gracious interruption had done two things. First, He identified the source of my anxiety. I had started defending instead of revealing. Many years earlier I had come to the freeing realization that God doesn’t want, nor need, to be defended, but He loves to be revealed.
And I love to reveal Him. It’s my great joy to seek after and reveal His perfect love nature; to discover wisdom that I might have answers to the questions. Thats why I love Proverbs 4:7
“The beginning of wisdom is this: Get wisdom. Though it cost all you have, get understanding.”
Wisdom, it’s both a gift and mandate. And we have been both invited and instructed to seek after it until we have understanding. And this world needs men and women who have wisdom and understanding – who have the answers. This world needs leaders confident in His always-good love nature.
As believers, it’s not just our joy to discover the answers, it’s our honor to reveal them. And as Christians, we have all felt the cultural pressure, the expectation to provide the answers – all of them, even when we don’t yet know.
That’s why I believe this next phrase is so important.
I don’t know…
As I mentioned, my Fathers gracious interruption of my brief attempt to write a rebuttal had done two things. The second, He empowered me to live in the tension of not knowing. He removed from me the anxious striving to have all the answers and in so doing, He invited me into the process of wisdom and understanding.
I don’t know… is the humble gift we offer to the One who wants nothing more than to reveal Himself more fully to us. I don’t know frees and then empowers us to discover.
You can’t fill a glass that’s already full. My point, greater revelation is only available to those who don’t have it. The willingness to not have an answer is what positions us for THE answer. A humble “I don’t know” will lead us into wisdom and understanding quicker than knowing ever will.
I don’t know is the invitation to discover His goodness in greater measure. Because, while there is plenty I don’t know, there is one thing I am absolutely positive about, God is good.
I don’t know but God is good. That phrase has been one of our family and ministry motto’s for years. It’s a faith statement that has served us well.
The first half of that statement is extremely powerful only because we believe the second half with absolute conviction. We have made it our position on everything.
Why did we experience a miscarriage, I don’t know, but God is good.
Why did we lose our business, I don’t know, but God is good.
Why are we not experiencing breakthrough? I don’t know but God is good.
Why are we being persecuted for loving the lost, choosing honor, seeking His presence, revealing family, hoping where there is no hope, giving beyond comfortable, choosing life, living wildly faithful…
I don’t know, but God is good is the grace that empowers us to live between the tension of not knowing and His invitation to know, to get wisdom and understanding.
Wisdom is the gift given to those who are willing to embrace both mystery and revelation. Understanding is discovered by those willing to live in the tension of not knowing while believing He is good. The answers are imparted to those who have made intimacy the answer.
“I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.” (John 15:15)
The good news is, He really wants to tell us the answers! He really wants to give us wisdom and understanding.
I recently stumbled across that contrary review – the one that had briefly caused such anxiety. You know what’s funny; I can answer the questions now. In fact, I was surprised to realize I had unknowingly answered many of them in my forthcoming book.
I am convinced the gospel is easy, He loves us, and we grow sure. Just so, I am convinced ministry is easy, we are loved, we believe it, and we reveal His love.
I don’t know… but God is good and that’s more than enough.
May you grow sure in His pleasure!
Jason Clark is an author, speaker and director of A Family Story ministries. His mission is to encourage sons and daughters to grow sure in the love of an always-good heavenly Father. He and his wife, Karen, live in North Carolina with their three children. Jason’s new book Untamed is available now.