“It is the glory of God to conceal a matter; to search out a matter is the glory of kings.”
Proverbs 25:2 (NIV)
My family loves a good mystery. Whether we’re watching Columbo, reading an Agatha Christie novel, or playing Clue, we like the challenge of figuring out “who did it” or how something was done. There’s just something about using logic to bring what is hidden into the light that appeals to us. In essence, like the kings in Proverbs 25:2, we want to find answers to important issues and gain glory for being smart enough to accomplish what others could not.
Unlike us, however, God often chooses to conceal a given matter, and he does this for his glory. In Romans 11:33, Paul exclaims, “Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways!” (NLT) This idea is also expressed in Ecclesiastes 8:17 and Colossians 2:3. According to these verses, wisdom and knowledge belong to God alone. We, in our humanness, cannot fully understand his ways.
In the same way, God does not promise that he will give us an explanation for everything that happens in this world. There are some things that we simply will not understand this side of heaven, or perhaps ever. Deuteronomy 29:29 tells us, “The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may follow all the words of this law.” (NIV) The knowledge of God is too much for us (Psalm 139:6).
So, when we begin to become frustrated and question God because we don’t understand why things are happening the way they are, we can take comfort in knowing that God, himself, is a marvelous mystery that we cannot fully understand. Our response is to ascribe glory to him alone (Revelation 4:11) and trust him because we know that, no matter what happens, he is in control (Proverbs 19:21) and he loves and cares for us (Isaiah 41:10 ).
In good times and bad, let us embrace the marvelous mystery of God.