This is a guest post from George Iskaros, who has guest posted on this blog before. George is a recent graduate from Rutgers Business School who now works as a financial analyst and is also a proud member of St. George & St. Shenouda Coptic Orthodox Church in Jersey City. If you too are interested in guest posting on my blog, please visit my Guest Post guidelines for more info.
Why? The three letter question that is seemingly impossible to answer. Many times in life, whether in good, but usually in bad, circumstances, we just stop and ask— Why God? Why did you let this happen or why didn’t you let that happen?
You can spend hours, days, years, even a lifetime driving yourself crazy to find a complex answer to such a simple question. And it isn’t a new question— it goes back thousands of years to the story of Job. But at the conclusion of your quest for an answer, no definitive answer can be found. And typically when we can’t find an answer to a question, we feel angry, sad, hopeless, unmotivated and/or belittled.
So why can’t we find an answer? Because we, as humans, are LIMITED.
We are limited in our knowledge, in our reasoning and in our understanding. God has a divine plan that transcends comprehension by the human mind— how can we humans dare to rationalize a divine plan created by an infinite, omnipotent, omnipresent, eternal and all-knowing God?
The two biggest disconnects are the knowledge disconnect and the temporal disconnect.
The Knowledge Disconnect
God is all-knowing, while we are extremely limited in knowledge and even further limited by understanding. Of the universe of knowledge, we know an infinitely small amount of it. In addition, we can’t explain a lot of the things we do know when you start to peel the skin off the onion. We all know about cars—after all, we use them our entire lives. But most of us don’t understand and can’t explain the intricacies of a car: how the parts work together, the science of the engine and how it runs, etc.
If we cannot understand something we use every single day, how then can we understand the will of an infinitely knowledgeable God?
The Temporal Disconnect
The second disconnect is related to time. God exists outside of time, while we are bound to the years of our lives—which are, no matter how long, negligible relative to eternity. This further amplifies our dilemma. Of the universe of knowledge, we know an infinitely small amount of it, and out of the infinitely small amount, we understand a tiny fraction of it, and of that tiny fraction, our understanding of it is further bound by the limited time we are alive—the limited time we have to fit the pieces of a puzzle we don’t know together, the limited time we have to understand the purpose of our short lives in the context of eternity… “For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes” (James 4:14).
So What Now?
We are inherently incapable of comprehending God’s will. That is just human nature, whether we like it or not—whether we accept it or not. Therefore, the pursuit of an answer to the original question is futile and fruitless. What our pursuit should be is for wholehearted faith and trust in God. This breaks the circular reference that drives us crazy in the pursuit to answer “why?”
Picture this: you are driving on an unfamiliar road, headed up to the top of a mountain. It is a cloudy day and there is thick fog settling extremely low, impairing your ability to see anything in front of you. The whole time you are trying to make sense of your surroundings and figure out where you are and where you are headed. You’re so tied up with everything that you don’t notice there is a truck in front of you and you forget there is a solid yellow line on the road that, if you follow, will lead you safely to your destination.
That road is your life and the top of the mountain is Heaven. The truck is God’s will; you can barely see the truck because of the fog—you can’t make out the type of truck, the model or the color of it—but what you can see is its bright taillights, which assure you that the truck is there. That solid yellow line on the road is the Bible and the Church as well as all the spiritual guides we have. It is right next to you and easily accessible to guide you throughout the entire journey but sometimes we get so caught up with everything around us that we forget what’s right next to us the whole time.
It is human nature to expect God’s will to be simple and linear in application but the revelation of God’s will to be a spectacular occurrence. In reality, it is the opposite. God’s will isn’t linear or formulaic—it is more of a lifestyle than a life plan. We have all the spiritual resources to lead us throughout the way and if we make a mistake, just like a GPS, it recalculates and gets us back on track at the next closest turn. What’s important is to first recognize that it is there, then live day-by-day relying on it and finally trust it even if it seems to take us through a dark tunnel in our lives or on some bumpy and unpaved roads. God gave us everything we need and more, all we have to do is believe and trust, even without full understanding.
“Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
Trust leads to faith, faith leads to hope, hope leads to love and love leads to trust. That is the circular lifestyle through which God’s perfect will is manifested in our lives.
We may never be able to comprehend God’s perfect will, but we can be assured there is one. There is a Great Potter, who is aware of all, is in control of all, and has a plan for all.
And although that Someone is infinitely beyond our understanding, He is always with us. St. Athanasius said, “He is outside all things according to His essence but He is in all things through his acts.” God is unknowable in His spirit yet known in His power; beyond and above all that we can think of or express yet closer to us than our own hearts. He is the host who welcomes us at the conclusion of the journey, yet He is also the companion who walks by our side every step of the way.