Steve’s Devotional – I’m Confused about God
FEBRUARY 3, 2020
I grew up religious and always felt that, if I could ever believe the religious stuff, I would somehow find meaning, reality and joy. Then, years later, after much agonizing doubt, I came to believe the truth that God had revealed. I finally knew the truth and believed all of it. Then I waited for the promised meaning, reality and joy—and, for a very long while, I thought I had it.
Sometimes, during those days, I had the feeling that God was saying that it was nice that I now knew the truth and even tried to live it. But I came to suspect that belief in, defense of and the promulgation of the truth to as many people as possible weren’t even the point.
Are you sometimes confused about God?
Let me tell you a secret. I’m confused about God too.
The difference between you and me is that I’m not supposed to be confused. In fact, if I ever start sounding confused, people will stop listening to me and reading my books. If that happens, I could lose my job. Nevertheless, I’m confused about God and I’m confused a lot (but if you say I said that, I’ll say you lied).
I know. I don’t sound confused. I have this deep voice and, even when I’m scared, I sound like I’m not. Not only that, I know a lot more than most people about the Bible, about theology, about the church and about God. So, if you put my deep voice with my lifetime of knowledge, even if I don’t know what I’m talking about, I sound like I do. That is, I suppose, a blessing of sorts.
Don’t worry. I’m not going to become a Buddhist or anything. I’m not confused about the verities of the faith. I still believe that the Bible is true…all of it. I know Christ and I trust him alone for my salvation. I believe in the virgin birth, the physical resurrection of Christ and that he is coming back…really. I support the mission enterprise of the church and I’m still big on evangelism. I believe there are a heaven and a hell. I can repeat The Westminster Confession of Faith backwards, believing and accepting it as my standard of faith.
I’m still confused.
But it doesn’t matter that I’m confused. In fact, my confusion is the natural state of a real Christian. Paul put the point in the form of a rhetorical question: “For who has known the mind of the Lord? Or who has become His counselor?” (Romans 11:34). The obvious answer is “Nobody…absolutely, nobody!” Isaiah said that God said, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, Nor are your ways, My ways…For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, And My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9).
Correct doctrine and correct theology (as important as they are) have only one purpose. The purpose is to point to him and, insofar as we can proclaim truth to others, to enable them come to him too. He is not a doctrine. The relationship between doctrine and God is the same relationship of Gray’s Anatomy to the human body. It is a description of a reality. It is not the reality itself.
The Psalmist understood that when he wrote: “O Lord, my heart is not lifted up; my eyes are not raised too high; I do not occupy myself with things too great and too profound for me. I have calmed and quieted my soul, like a weaned child with its mother” (Psalm 131:1-2).
Are you confused about God?
Good. If you aren’t confused, then you are probably worshiping an idol. Be careful—be very careful—of those who seem to have God in their back pockets, have answers to every question and who are sure that they are right about everything. Frankly, God isn’t in anybody’s back pocket, we don’t even know the right questions much less have the answers, and nobody is right all the time.
But doesn’t the Bible say somewhere that God isn’t a God of confusion? Yes, it does in 1 Corinthians 14:33. “For God is not the author of confusion but of peace.”
But Paul was talking about worship and the confusion that was taking place in the Corinthian church. And that’s not what I’m talking…uh…well, maybe I am. Now that I think about it, that’s exactly what I’m talking about—worshiping a God who isn’t confused, even if you are. Standing before a God who really is God and knowing that you aren’t.
God ought to be very angry…but he’s not. God should have destroyed the fallen and rebellious world…but he hasn’t. God should not have come to us…but he did. God’s love should not be unconditional…but it is. God should have washed his hands of us a long time ago…but he hasn’t. Knowing your secrets and my secrets, God should have turned away…but he didn’t. The last thing God should do is to give us forgiveness, eternal life, and joy…but that’s exactly what he does.
That confuses me, but it’s a good confusion. It’s the kind of confusion that tells me that I don’t have to be right, or acceptable, or perfect, or wise, or knowledgeable, or religious, or smart, or beautiful, or great, or famous, or spiritual, or good. It’s the kind of confusion that allows me to go to him.
I don’t have to explain it or even understand it. It’s enough.
Time to Draw Away
Read Romans 11:33-36 & Isaiah 55
Are you confused about God? In what ways does he confuse you? You really can trust God in the midst of your questions, confusion, uncertainty and doubt. In fact, confusion can be a good thing. It points out that God is God and we’re not. And frankly, that is a relief. We can now rest in his arms.