jonathan stone's blog

. . . posts on faith and life

Unknown

There are times when we feel like we have to know. Times when not knowing seems as if it might drive us to the edge of sanity. Times when questions burn so intensely that it seems that they might consume us.

After Jacob wrestled with a heavenly being all night he had to know his name (Gen 32). After Job lost everything he had to know why he was suffering (Job 3). After the Israelites were brought out of Egypt they had to know why God was apparently going to let them die (Exodus 14). We see it again and again throughout the Old Testament.

We might wonder if New Covenant believers would be able to overcome such moments. After all, we have the Holy Spirit, and He knows everything. There are even verses that we could use to back it up. Such as this one:

But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. 1 John 2:20

However, the reality is that in the New Testament we see more of the same. After some time in his dungeon John the Baptist had to know if Jesus really was the Christ (Luke 7:18-23). After suffering from a thorn in his flesh Paul had to know why God had not healed him yet (2 Cor 12:1-10). After Peter heard that he would glorify God in his death he had to know what fate awaited his friend John (John 21:15-25).

This existential problem has haunted believers of every sort throughout human history. Whether their faith was big or small, their experiences with God grand or mundane, all of them faced moments where they felt like they had to know. God does not seem agitated by this. He does not mind when I scream at Him, I have to know! But the question is this, How does He respond? 

A quick scan of biblical examples brings about interesting results. One is hard pressed to find many examples where an individual screams out to God in this type of angst and receives that for which they were asking. So, the bad news is that God is probably not going to let you know. But here is the good news. For those who are determined to wait God always shows up. And when He does, He always give something better than that for which they were asking.

Jacob did not learn the man’s name, he learned he had a new name. Job did not learn why he was suffering, he learned that God was still in control and still blessing him. The Israelites did not learn why they were traversing the wilderness, they learned that God was their provider.

We have reduced knowledge to facts, informations and propositions. We have a hard time believing that there is knowledge that really is bigger than our minds can conceive. However, the biblical concept of knowledge is much greater than logical concepts. We can see this in the Hebrew verb “to know,” yada. To yada is to know something personally, intimately, experientially. That is why yada is the word used for sex in the Hebrew bible. When the Apostle John wrote that we all know the truth, he was not referring to knowing concepts in our head. He was referring to knowing The Truth, a person in our heart.

If you feel like you have to know something today there is a pretty good chance that you are not going to get the answer that you are seeking. But don’t let that stop you from screaming the question to God. Because in the end you will receive the answer that you need. And when you do you will know the Unknown.

44 comments on “Unknown

  1. ansuyo
    March 9, 2012

    I seldom ask why about the big things (having learned that lesson), but it is certainly human nature to want our questions answered. Look at any child who wants to know why they must or mustn’t do something… Good post 🙂 Angie

    • Jonathan Stone
      March 9, 2012

      You’re blessed to have learned the lesson, Angie! I think I’m still in process! 🙂

  2. selah
    March 9, 2012

    good post.. I think the key is in your last sentence “because in the end you will receive the answer that you need.”… and that may not be what we thought we needed.. and sometimes it takes a very long to learn the outcome of our trials, and the reason for them.

    • Jonathan Stone
      March 9, 2012

      Yes. And sometimes it feels much too long. But when something deep within us keeps us determined the outcome eventually becomes worth the wait. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  3. James
    March 9, 2012

    It’s within our nature to want to know what we cannot know. I also think that God “designed” us with a need to know more than we do. Otherwise, why would we ever seek Him out and, once we have found Him, why would we strive to know more? Anyone who knows me, knows that I cannot resist asking that next question and “wrestling” with God over the answer.

    Oh, and I disagree that we have a “spiritual leg up” over Jacob and Job because we are Christians. They both had relationships with God that I don’t see in most believers today (and how many Christians can be said to have literally wrestled with a Divine being, though often, we wrestle with our spirituality?).

    • strader612
      March 9, 2012

      I totally agree with you …. it is in our nature to want to know what we cannot .. so in return it causes us to seek Him out. I never thought of it like that.

      • Jonathan Stone
        March 9, 2012

        Amazing when you think about it. I think God puts that there to drive us towards Him. We want answers, but we need Him. And that’s how it works out for us if we are determined to keep pushing the question. Thanks for your comment!

    • Jonathan Stone
      March 9, 2012

      Agreed, James. That is the beauty and wonder of “wrestling,” something I have written on before. Few things are as intimate and glorious as wrestling with God. So keep wrestling! Thanks for reading and commenting. Blessings, brother.

  4. strader612
    March 9, 2012

    Awesome Post!
    Would you mind I repost your blog?! I cannot get over how comepletely awesome this post is lol! Because it is so TRUE and anyone in their walk with Christ comes to this point in their lives multiple times. Funny thing is … is I had a convo about this yesterday (about faith and wanting to know exactly where do I stand with you God … the “I have to know’s) God is truly awesome! But I it takes me back to the word where it says “We walk by faith and not by sight” also we have to remember God thoughts and ways are much higher than ours … He knows what we need long before we ask.
    Ok … I’m rambling on your post …. sorry lol

    God Bless You ♥ Keep up the great work!

    • Jonathan Stone
      March 9, 2012

      I’m so glad it was a blessing for you! Thanks for your comments, and by all means repost this or anything else whenever you like. Blessings!

      • strader612
        March 9, 2012

        Thanks Jonathan! Also thanks for following 🙂

        God Bless!!

  5. Pastor Paul Hartley
    March 9, 2012

    Awesome word, May I use this in A Sermon?

    • Jonathan Stone
      March 9, 2012

      Absolutely, Paul. You are always welcome to use anything on here in your sermons. Blessings!

  6. Sally Green
    March 9, 2012

    Sometimes I believe that if we saw what God’s plan was for us, we might look at it and think it was impossible to achieve. Not knowing and taking small leaps of faith works better…for me anyway. I think I must have a Jonah personality. 🙂 But there are many times when I feel I must know & that’s where he teaches me patience. Enjoyed your post. Thanks

    • Jonathan Stone
      March 9, 2012

      Agreed, Sally. Whatever the purpose is in keeping us “in the dark,” I have no doubt that He has our best interests in mind! Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment!

  7. Steve Meidahl
    March 9, 2012

    Jonathan…well said! Truth is not the equivalent of enlightenment precision. Thank you!

    • Jonathan Stone
      March 9, 2012

      You’re welcome, Steve. Thanks for reading and taking the time to comment. Blessings!

  8. wheretruthleads
    March 9, 2012

    Much peace, my brother–this is a wonderful post and demonstrative of how one is to engage in a knowing that transcends knowledge. The very prayer that Christ shares with us is a prayer that represents the Divine as being both “our Father” and yet moves on to say that His name is “holy.” Christianity is rich with paradox, and this is one of them. We address the Unknowable as “Father,” not reducing His nature to something we can grasp intellectually, but rather showing that even as He is transcendent, He remains nearer to us than we our to ourselves.

    May peace be with you, and may you continue your journey into the Unknown.

    • Jonathan Stone
      March 9, 2012

      “We address the Unknowable as “Father,” not reducing His nature to something we can grasp intellectually, but rather showing that even as He is transcendent, He remains nearer to us than we our to ourselves.”

      So well said! Thanks so much. The journey continues! Blessings!

  9. heroldsroses
    March 9, 2012

    Amazing, Thank You.

  10. ginaree
    March 9, 2012

    Now, THAT’S a good word. 🙂

  11. lbtk
    March 9, 2012

    A few years back, I came to the fork in the road where I could turn left and worry (which doesn’t change anything anyway) or turn right and just believe God for the journey. I used to say that I had a list of questions I was going to ask God when I get to Heaven. Turns out that Scripture assures me that I will have the complete mind of Christ and I’ll know it instantly. Great post. Sandy

  12. strader612
    March 9, 2012

    Reblogged this on Strader612 and commented:
    This is an awesome post! Enjoy 🙂

  13. Heretic Like You
    March 9, 2012

    Love it. Thanks for those good words. It spoke to me today. I needed that.

  14. generationdavid
    March 9, 2012

    Amen, amen, amen! God bless you brother, I praise God for you because you’ve been on point with your posts and He’s been speaking directly to me and my situation.

    It’s all about me dying to self because it’s hard to just step out there in faith without knowing. It was easy for me when I was a teenager in the Lord and in college, but now I have a family so I’m in the process of learning at this stage. It’s heavy stuff because it’s on me, but it’s really on me to trust God and that’s it.

    And with knowing Him, intimately, knowing His truth, it’s all a part of arguably the longest journey we will ever take in our lives and that journey is the 18inches from the mind to the heart. It’s actually impossible, but bless God for Jesus, and praise Him for sending us His precious Spirit.

    • Jonathan Stone
      March 10, 2012

      Awesome, brother! So glad to hear that. Praying that you continue to receive all of the clarity and direction that you need. Blessings.

  15. terry1954
    March 10, 2012

    you write so well!!! enjoy your readings

  16. ieatlionsforbreakfast
    March 10, 2012

    Well stated. I really needed to hear this in regards to somethings I’ve been pursuing in faith. I may not receive the answer in the way I want. But I will receive what I need! Thanks for your insights brother.

    • Jonathan Stone
      March 11, 2012

      You’re welcome, brother. Thanks for reading and commenting!

  17. Chrystal
    March 10, 2012

    Love!

  18. Pingback: Great Things I’ve Read This Week… « Heretic Like You

  19. cloakedmonk
    March 11, 2012

    There is a book by Donna Markham called Spiritlinking Leadership. It is actually a secular book. But this book talks about leadership the way I think Christian leaders should be leading. Relying on God without demanding all the answers. She calls it leading through the fog. You’re leading, you know the guidelines (love God and neighbor), the end point is up to God to provide. We just need to open up and listen. God is always talking to us.

    • Jonathan Stone
      March 11, 2012

      Cool! I’ll check that book out. Thanks for sharing the insight.

  20. Jimmy Proulx
    March 12, 2012

    Fantastic post. It is in the times of the unknown that we are to step out in faith and trust God the most.

  21. Pingback: Great Things I’ve Read This Week… | Snarky Faith

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