THE ABIDING LIFE
And the answer is...
By Gwen Sellers
Having all the answers isn't all it's cracked up to be, or at least not all I have previously cracked it up to be. Maybe you've not struggled with the issue of gray areas, or not knowing, or constantly learning and changing. Such an attitude probably helps you experience less turmoil in this less-than-perfect world. The truth of the matter is there just isn't always black-and-white. In my opinion, accepting that reality opens us up to enjoy life more fully.
First, the reality of things. We act like science is fact, but then in daily life we come to find out that oven temperatures, scales, and even rulers are not all the same. That's not too disappointing. Human error in manufacturing makes sense, and it doesn't significantly change whether our brownies turn out right. It doesn't even necessarily challenge the validity of findings in a laboratory. But then we also come to find out that things we thought were rules of life are more like general guidelines. Yes, in general, direct communication will work to solve a conflict. But sometimes it makes things worse. In general, focusing on things that you are thankful for will help stave off depression. But not always. Then, what's even worse, is that we can't answer questions about God or morality definitely. Don't hear me wrong, there are some definite answers we can give about God and morality. And the fact that we don't have a definite answer does not challenge the existence of absolute truth. But, there are gray areas in the Christian life. I suppose it should come as no surprise. Romans 14 pretty much spells it out for us. But somehow it can be irksome. And, because I have a rather exacting nature, what is more irksome to me is not the fact that there isn't a black-and-white answer, it's the fact that we try to make one. When the answer is neither "yes" nor "no", why do we feel compelled to pick a side? If reasonable arguments support both sides, why does one always have to win? Does my inability to provide certainty challenge God's unchanging nature or His sovereignty? No. Does my indecision on a matter or at least openness to the other side mean that I lack intelligence or am giving a cop-out answer? No. What I have learned in working at a place where answers are our business is that sometimes not having an answer is actually best.
It's okay to admit that we don't know everything. It's okay to admit that some things aren't clear and that God actually wants to relate with us personally over it. It's okay to admit that sometimes what's right for you is wrong for me even though we both follow the same God who declares what is right and what is wrong. It's okay to tell people that the Christian life isn't about having the answers. In fact, I think we should be telling them that. The Christian life involves some answers (Deuteronomy 29:29; John 16:13-15). These answers are extremely helpful, especially in building up the foundations of faith. We have to be solid in the basics before we can learn the exceptions. But the Christian life is primarily about knowing God (Isaiah 43:10; 1 Corinthians 13:9-12). The Christian life is not something we achieve or garner for ourselves (2 Corinthians 5:15-18; Ephesians 2:8-10). It's not about knowing all the right things or even doing all the right things. It's about receiving from God. It's about believing He is who is says He is and accepting His gift. It's about yielding to the Holy Spirit who resides in us and allowing Him to produce fruit (Galatians 5:22-23). It's about receiving nutrition from the vine so that we may be beautiful for the glory of God (John 15:1-17).
So next time you don't know the answer, just admit it. Next time you look for an answer and can't find a solid one, it's okay. God knows the answer. Just because you're not sure doesn't mean He isn't. And if you're relying on Him, He'll let you know the way to go (James 1:5; Isaiah 30:21).
Photo credit: albertogp123; Some rights reserved.
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