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Do I Really Need To Know?

My favorite part of a movie is the "behind the scenes". I love to know how they did that, how things are made, the story behind the story. I've always been curious that way. I was one of those kids who was taking things apart just to find out how they worked. Not surprisingly I ended up in a career (manufacturing) where I make things.

This need to know how something works has actually been a problem in a couple areas of my life. The first time I noticed it was in high school math class, Algebra 2, I think. I was doing ok until we reached the point where the teacher could not (or would not) explain the "why" of what we were doing. He said that I didn't need to know why, I just needed to memorize the formula or equation and just do it. At that point, I was done... mentally. That "need to know" part of me refused to accept that reality and I barely finished the class with a passing grade.

It wasn't until several years later when I was taking a night-school class to improve my manufacturing skills that I was able to move beyond this roadblock. The difference was that I had seen the actual application of the mathematics in the design and manufacturing of the tooling. I had seen the "why", and because of that understanding, I was freed to use it.

Still Wondering Why


This "problem" still haunts me to today. Not necessarily the math thing, but the need to know "why". In the last several years it has been causing me difficulty in the most basic of places, my spiritual walk.

You may not have noticed but I've found that God is the God of mystery and paradox. It's hard to know exactly what He's up to. He works in "mysterious ways" as they say. The prophet Isaiah records it this way:

"'For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,' declares the Lord. 'As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.'"

What I find is that is that I spend a lot of energy trying to solve and understand Him and His plans completely before committing myself to doing what He tells me. I spend a lot of time trying to figure out the "why" of His commands before choosing to be fully obedient. The problem is that it is not my right or place to do so.

Jesus says, "Whoever has my commands and keeps them is the one who loves me" and "Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching." I'm still looking for the part where he says, "Hey Gary, just continue doing it your way until you understand completely why I'm commanding you to do this."

Walking by Faith


One day I may understand Him (and His intentions) better, maybe not. For now it does not matter. I must do MY part. He will do HIS. Even as I devote my life to exploring Him and searching Him deeply (which is a good thing), I cannot wait to fully know Him and His reasons before I respond. No, even in my poor understanding of "why", I must act on what I know, now.

I'm convicted and challenged by the words of that fine old hymn. "Trust and obey, for there's no other way...  to be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey."

How about you, are you a "need to know" person?