You Don't Have to Understand Everything to Believe

“Daniel’s a good man,” Catherine said, her dark eyes filling with tears. “He takes good care of his family, he works hard. But he doesn’t believe. Says it isn’t logical.” 

This mother’s heart was breaking for her adult son, and as we talked, I watched it crack open. Years of prayers, bucket-loads of tears, and nightly fears that her precious son would one day die and spend eternity separated from God spilled out in one frantic, slobbery, heart-breaking conversation. 

“He says it isn’t logical. . .” 

Tim, a college student at our Wednesday night Bible study, peppered my husband, our pastor, with questions—archaeology, science, biblical history. My husband is well educated and was able to present a sound defense of the Bible and its truths, but it was apparent that the young man’s questions were limitless.

“Faith doesn’t require us to set aside our intellect,” he finally said to Tim. “There are volumes of good, sound reasons and evidence for what we believe. But you’re never going to get all your questions answered. Ultimately, you’re going to have to exercise faith.” 

“Without faith,” the writer of Hebrews said, “it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him” (Heb. 11:6). 

The thought that we should be able to understand everything about God is ludicrous. And presumptuous. And prideful. 

Daniel and Tim would never expect to fully understand everything about Einstein, or DaVinci, or Aristotle. 

“It’s impossible,” they’d respond. “They’re geniuses. There’s no way we could even begin to get inside their heads.” 

Yet they and others like him expect to be able to fully grasp the breadth and depth of God? 

"As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts,” says the Lord (Isa. 55:9). 

If you’ve read my blog for any length of time, you know I am a passionate student of God and his Word. I believe God calls us to dig deep and ponder long in our pursuit of him. Yet the hammock in which our lives must rest is trust—even when we don’t fully understand. 

Lord, we pray with the psalmist, my heart is not haughty, 

Nor my eyes lofty. 

Neither do I concern myself with great matters, 

Nor with things too profound for me. 

Surely I have calmed and quieted my soul. 

Like a weaned child with his mother; 

Like a weaned child is my soul within me (Psa. 131:1-2).

Quiet trust. Believing faith. 

What about you? Do you struggle with what you don’t understand about God, or is it easy for you to rest in faith? Do you think acknowledging the limits of our ability to understand God means we’re setting our intellect aside? Leave a comment below and join the conversation. If you’re reading by email, CLICK HERE to visit Hungry for God online, scroll down, and leave a comment at the bottom.

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