The contrasting forces of nature that can be at once beautiful and ugly can cause us to question the nature of God, or even his existence. In the all-out pursuit to find meaning and purpose in life, how many of us take the time to ponder the tough questions in life? How will God judge me? Why does he seemingly allow hate to flourish when there is so much potential for love?
Where is God when the world around me does not make any sense?
I vividly recall a scene in the movie, “The Passion of Christ.” A brutally beaten Christ appears before Pontius Pilate. Confronted by the unyielding demands from a religious faction, trying to keep the peace, and hearing the pleas for his innocence from his wife, Pilate was in a difficult situation. He asked, “What is truth?” Pilate was not expecting to hear an answer, even though the only answer stood directly before him. In his pursuit for truth, it seems the most important truth needed to take a back seat to expediency.
How many of us do the same thing?
The pursuit of truth is an age-old question. With competing thoughts, distractions, and influences, it is very heart to find truth in a noisy, fast-paced world. Where do you start? Who can I trust? How can I silence the whispers in my soul that seeks a deeper meaning, a grander purpose, a soother of conscience?
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” (Prov. 9:10)
Too often, we think of an angry, unfair God who positions himself as an ultimate authority figure who demands fear or suffer the consequences. Is that what it really means to fear God?
To fear God is to recognize that God is God and we are not. Fear is associated with uncertain judgment. It means walking into a courtroom uncertain of the verdict. It’s making the assumption that all people are good and deserving mercy from a loving God. That seems fair to us. But in doing so, are we positioning ourselves in place of God? Fear means we don’t have an answer. Fear can also prompt us to find an answer — and that is the beginning of wisdom. A good place to start is trying to understand the nature of God.
God’s nature is perfection. He never makes mistakes. He is a perfect Judge. This means that God is perfectly objective. He judges based on the standard of perfection. To fear God means that we can’t presume to judge others, nor presume how God makes judgments. By doing so, we are trying to be God. Instead, God asks us to trust Him that he is perfectly fair and just.
God’s nature also includes love, forgiveness, and mercy. Even though we can’t begin to understand or fathom God’s nature, he does reveal enough of himself to make us wise unto salvation. One way God reveals himself is through love that is displayed through others. The love of family. The love we have for our neighbor. This all comes from God because God first loved us and he is the author of love. All goodness in this world reveals that God is still active and present in this world.
“Wisdom” is received by placing our trust in God’s promises. The greatest promise God gives is how we can receive life and wisdom through His Son. God’s perfect love gave His Son as the one and only sacrifice to pay the penalty for our sins. His perfect obedience is substituted in place of our lack of obedience. His sacrifice was not meant to make our lives better on earth, but to rescue us from the consequences of a guilty verdict.
Since God is perfectly objective — his judgments based on the standards of holiness and perfection will be fair and just. And the consequences of not being perfect to be in his presence is eternal separation from his presence.
The wisdom unto salvation, or to be rescued from the eternal consequences of sin, is received by trusting in this promise. By faith alone we receive the full benefits of Christ. He simply asks us to believe him and to take him at his Word.
What is truth? What is God’s purpose? How can I respond when the world around me doesn’t make sense?
Remember Jesus’ words, “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” To understand the ways of God is to place our trust in the Truth and the Life in Christ. In His perfect fairness, perfect love, and his perfect solution for us, we can receive the status of being fully worthy and righteous in His sight.
There is freedom in receiving wisdom in knowing for certain God’s verdict before we enter his courtroom.
“He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure.” (Isaiah 33:6)