Some time ago as we studied the book of Job in my theology class, I stumbled upon a problem. My view of God was absolutely deconstructed and left in that state until I would have time to study this topic more.
I was so confused of who God even was that I struggled to talk to Him.
“God, all this new information makes me feel like I don’t know who you are at all, and I don’t know how to talk to you anymore. You feel so distant, so alien, so incomprehensible. How can I ever know the true you?!”
I wanted to stop there and forget everything until I could get around to reading more theology books, but He spoke back to my heart.
“You do know me; this is just a new aspect of me that you do not fully understand yet and do not see how it fits in with what you already know. But it does, just trust me, and for now, focus on the unshakable truths that you do know.”
This brought to mind His words to me a few days prior when I asked Him how long a hard season in my life would last. At the time, I was in the woods, lying on a branch of a tree, looking at the sky through the swinging leaves.
I heard God say to my heart, “Look at the highest branches; they’re tossed to all sides by the wind, but the trunk and the low branch you are on won’t move because they grew strong from a firm foundation.”
These two moments were totally different, but oddly, they come to the same conclusion- a strong foundation is the key in this life.
If you are struggling personally, your leaves and the fine branches of your life might be tossed around or even broken. But your roots will keep you in place and your trunk steady. Look at them; don’t look up and fear for the life of your tree. Yes, these top branches are important to catch the sun and bring fruit, but in the storm, the priority is to stay rooted, to know who you are and more importantly, who The One who sustains you is.
You have all you need to endure the storm (and I am sure you will), but if you keep looking at the circumstances you do not understand, it will be a time of anxiety and pain. Looking at your roots (your foundation, the truth that you know) and it will bring peace and hope because they keep the tree alive through the storms of life.
However, if your worries are of a global, maybe even a cosmic measure, like suffering, violence, global warming, social justice it can be a very heavy and often a lonely position. But once again, God is saying to go back to the roots. Fill your mind with what you know is true of Him first. Go to His Word, listen to sermons and podcasts and be sure of the essential truths of Him. Although not everything about Him will make sense to us, He will add to the picture as we become ready for the vastness of His being.
Have you ever noticed what Jesus says to His disciples when they are scared to death because this “ghost” is walking on water?
But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” Matt 14:27 (NLT)
The disciples did not understand what was going on. They did not even realize it was Jesus who was walking towards them at first. But you know what? Jesus did not try to explain how God is capable of breaking the laws of physics nor did He try to shame them for their confusion. He simply reminded them that He is the same ole’ Jesus they knew so well. He brought them back to the grounded point of their foundations. They needed to realize they knew Him in order to stop fearing Him. And suddenly, walking on water was the only part they did not understand.
It is alright to not understand all of God’s character or will. It is alright to not understand why things are happening globally or personally. It is alright to go through hardships and not enjoy the entire process. It is alright. But don’t forget what your roots are. In the hard times, focus on what you know for sure, the truth, whether that is one statement about God or 50. Be faithful in what you know and seek God to discover more when you are ready. And until then, “Be still, and know that He is God.” (Psalms 46:10)