Lately I’ve been struggling with the question of why a clear picture of God frequently seems so inaccessible. There are so many conflicting views that the image of the Creator often seems murky at best, when you’d think it should be the clearest thing in the world. I think it’s likely that our religious constructs are to blame for most of the distortion; but nevertheless, it’s often difficult to separate what’s true from what is erroneous. If God wants us to know Him and love Him, why didn’t He make the truth unquestionable? If He’d made it easy, there would be no atheism, no competing religions, no arguing and debating about how to best relate to Him. Right?
So this morning, I ran across the song “Could it Be” by Michael Card. I hadn’t heard it in a long time, and I’d never paid attention to the lyrics. But this morning, the chorus caught my attention.
Could it be You make Your presence known so often by Your absence?
Could it be that questions tell us more than answers ever do?
Could it be that You would really rather die than live without us?
Could it be the only answer that means anything Is You?
So along with Michael, I’m pondering the paradoxical question, “Is God’s seeming absence an indicator of His presence?” Sounds foolish and illogical on the surface. But might not His seeming absence entice us to seek Him?
“Is it possible that there is more value in the questions than we’d find in an easy answer gained without a struggle?” I firmly believe that this life is sort of a preparatory phase of our existence. I don’t believe that the struggles we face on earth are only due to sin. While our human selfishness and spitefulness certainly adds unnecessary pain and difficulty, I don’t think that God intended this life to be without inherent challenges that would force humans to develop mentally and spiritually. I may be wrong about that, but in any event, I see a lot of value in the struggle. Growth comes through the questioning and seeking.
The third question of the chorus really struck me: “Could it be that You would really rather die than live without us?” Wow. There’s no doubt that we’ve collectively made a mess of this world. We suffer the consequences of our poor decisions, and we often see others negatively affected by our poor decisions as well. We’ve certainly built barriers between ourselves and God. Yet, He loved us. Consider that Jesus loved us so much that He would rather die than live without us. I cannot find any words to describe how stunning this is. This is the sort of love that perhaps only a song could come close to capturing.
“Is Jesus maybe the ultimate answer?” I think that He is. It kind of sounds cliche, in a sense, because when confronted by life’s problems, the glib, religious answer is “Jesus is the answer to whatever problem you have”; while the problems often go ignored by Jesus’ followers. But at the end of every question, Jesus is the only explanation that ties everything together.
Perhaps the quest for answers is the point of this life. Questions always lead to more questions. The more questions I ask, the more questions I have. The more I understand, the more I realize just how much I don’t understand. Yet, despite the difficulties and frustrations, seeking God, wrestling with doubts, and fighting for answers to my questions is proving to be a most incredible journey. Far from feeling like a rat in a wheel laboring in a futile endeavor, I find that every discovery is an enlightening, energizing experience. Every piece of the puzzle that I find brings a bit more elation as I see the picture slowly unfolding before me.
For those of you who, like me, struggle with questions about God and why He sometimes seems inaccessible, I would encourage you to keep seeking. He loves us, and to prove it, He’s given us the most valuable thing He owns. Which shows how much he values you.
Listen to the song for yourself. After all, sometimes the poets say it best.