If there’s one thing I hate, it’s not knowing things. Well, certain things. Some things I genuinely don’t care about, but usually, since I’m kind of narcissistic, I like knowing what’s going on. This is frustrating because there’s a lot that I don’t know and never will. I am small, limited, and, at times, quite foolish. Also, I’m only 27–that’s the definition of not knowing a bunch of stuff about life (aside from being 19, which is a particularly ignorant year in your life, precisely because you’ve got a year of college under your belt so you have the illusion of knowledge, while still not really knowing anything).
This is part of why I read Calvin–he reminds me of truths that keep me sane. In John 2:17, we are told that the disciples remembered a passage of Scripture that applied to Jesus when he was clearing out the Temple (“zeal for your house…”). Calvin moves to address the fact that some people might be perplexed as to how the disciples could have remembered a passage whose meaning they couldn’t have originally known. Calvin says that we shouldn’t be surprised at this, because the Holy Spirit revealed it to them after much after the fact. I mean, that is the Spirit’s job, to reveal Christ.
After making this comment, he moves on to make a general point about God’s revelation:
And, indeed, it does not always happen that the reason of God’s works is immediately perceived by us, but afterwards, in process of time, He makes known to us his purpose. And this is a bridle exceedingly well adapted to restrain our presumption, that we may not murmur against God if at any time our judgment does not entirely approve of what he does. We are at the same time reminded, that when God holds us as it were in suspense, it is our duty to wait for the time of more abundant knowledge, and to restrain the excessive haste which is natural to us; for the reason why God delays the full manifestation of his works is, that he may keep us humble.
–Commentary on John 2:17
The line that kills me is “when God holds us as it were in suspense.” In authoring the grand drama of redemption, God can be like Alfred Hitchcock–at least when it comes to my bit of the story.
Of course, he has that right. He’s the producer, director, author, main character, and editing team all rolled into one. I don’t have the right to demand God to answer me or explain himself to me. I still watch cartoons, forget to brush my teeth sometimes, and laugh at jokes a junior higher would roll his eyes at. I am not the pinnacle of knowledge and wisdom. And so it’s good that I remember that God’s time-table of revelation might be a little different than mine. My place isn’t to sit in judgment on God’s works, or God’s decision to inform me about his works, but to humbly and patiently wait for God to reveal what he deems fit and the right time.
I make no bones about the fact that this is a simple post with a simple point. That said, sometimes simple is best. All too often we are tempted to forget the simple truth of God’s transcendent goodness and wisdom, leading to all sorts of dismay and folly. Which, I suppose, is one of the reasons God keeps us in suspense about some things. Try and remember that today. Go read Job 38-42 or something.
That said, God has not kept us completely in the dark. Kind of like the blanket you cover your face with in the middle of a scene you just can’t take, he has provided a focus for us in those moments where the suspense is killing you: his unfailing love and grace towards us through Jesus Christ in the Gospel.
Soli Deo Gloria