Understanding God is Optional

St. Bonaventure, Bishop and Doctor


When we come face to face with tragedy or setback or difficulty, we are tempted to think God has abandoned us. People like to say things always happen for a reason. Always. But what we fail to grasp is that what makes sense to God will not always make sense to us. Have you ever tried explaining something complex you understand to a child or to someone who is unable to grasp your explanation? It can be frustrating. But because it makes sense to you, you don’t feel put out or diminished. So when we seek an explanation from God when we cannot make sense of life’s challenges, just because we are unable to make sense of things doesn’t mean God doesn’t understand what’s going on. And we also have to remember that God is not obligated to explain anything to us. Not. A. Thing.

But when God does choose to reveal his mysteries to us, it is entirely God’s doing and God’s choice. Jesus praises his Father for revealing “these things” – I would imagine “mysteries” – not to the wise and the learned but to the childlike. “Yes Father, such has been your gracious will.” We can seek understanding all we like, but it is God alone who grants it. And God grants it not to the wise and the learned but to the childlike. You got a beef with that? Take it up with God.

So when we see in the passage from Isaiah how the arrogance of Assyria results in the oppression of God’s people, it seems like a helpless situation. Yet the prophet reminds the people that God is still in charge, and that even the powerful and influential are but instruments in his hands. We need to trust more that God knows what is best for us and will bring about the fulfillment of his will, even when we have difficulty understanding his “reasons.” What makes sense to God will not always make sense to us. But when it does, it is because God chose to reveal “these things” to us. But God is not obligated to explain anything to us. Not. A. Thing. Trust God as children trust those who love them. Trusting God is essential. Understanding God is optional.

We offered this mass for the repose of +Irvin Butler.

Rolo B Castillo © 2020