I used to think that as a Christian, I should know all the answers to life’s questions. And if I didn’t know an answer, then I could ask God, and He would give me one. It was cut-and-dried. God was like the library – full of information. I just had to wander down the aisles until I found the volume that contained what I was looking for. Then I ran into hard questions that seemed to have no answers.
Years ago, I cried out to God to let me in on His answers. I prayed and prayed for His wisdom. And it seemed to me that God was unwilling to talk. So I became angry and scared. In some of those worst months of my life, I remember clearly telling God, “I don’t doubt who You are. I don’t think I ever could. But I do doubt Your relevance in my life. If You’re not going to answer my questions, what good are You to me?”
The longer I live, though, the more I’m convinced that much of faith is about asking questions. And it’s believing even when I don’t get answers that makes faith faith. I’ve come to understand that if I could explain everything about God, then He wouldn’t be very big – or very God-like – at all. The mystery is that God is at once personal and knowable, yet never fully knowable. And I’m learning to accept, even embrace, that God’s ways are not my ways (Isaiah 55:6-9).
Steven James, author of “Sailing Between the Stars,” says, “I’m glad I don’t serve a deity I can cram into my brain-sized understanding of the world. If I could, I would be more than human, and he would be less than God. Mystery always exceeds knowledge, always swirls out beyond the borders and encircles the whole. By definition God must be bigger than my knowings, or he couldn’t be who he is.”
Church planting and growth has been a focus for most of my ministry. I frequently lecture and speak on church planting and have been actively involved in many church plants. Under God's hand and direction, my wife, Kaye, and I planted the