The Glory Of The Unexplainable
June 13, 2019
There is a common saying among people that we use to cope with situations that seem to be out of our control: Everything happens for a reason. This is obviously a true statement, but it can be challenging to identify the reasons that things happen. Many times when we say things like this, it is because of the fact that we’re trying to find solace and the silver-lining in circumstance that seem bad, but we hope will turn out good. We assume that “the reason” our difficulties come is to provide a more favorable outcome. This is true depending on perspective. The Bible plainly teaches that God works all things together for good. God is sovereign and in control of all things. He wants to take the total sum of life’s events and produce a “good” result in the end. However, the rest of the verse says that God desires to do good, “for those who love Him and are called according to His purpose.” This changes things. This means that things that seem bad might not always turn out good. The “reason” for difficulties might actually be a form of judgment in preparation for greater suffering. Thus, it is not wise to just state the obvious that everything happens for a reason. The wisdom comes when we recognize, not the reason (since God doesn’t always explain Himself, nor does He need to), but when we recognize the cause of all things, submitting to His reasons in humility, whether we know the reason or not.
When God addressed Job in Job 38:19-24, God brought up two simple principles to identify the extent of His control, and that He has wonderful, unexplainable methods and purposes to His works. God again brought up the matter of light, but with a different twist, introducing another mind-boggling principle. God also brought up snow and hail to show the extent of His control, and how we as people cannot comprehend the reasons for which God does what He does. The issues of light and dark as so basic and elementary to human life, that we seldom consider how they work, assuming that each day has a time for both. Hail and snow is such a normal process of weather in certain parts of the world, that we seldom recognize that God uses these things as His tools to do works that have eternal implications. God’s point is that, even if we actually paid attention to these routine elements of our world’s functionality, we could never identify the reason for God’s work, nor explain the results of these simple things. What seems simple, is actually very complex, and beyond human reason. Since we can’t fathom even the routine works of God, how then can we criticize the other things God does in our lives?
In Job 38:19-24 God reintroduced the concept of light. God first brought up the principle of light to remind Job that He is the source of it. We might see light come from the sun, but the testimony of Genesis explains that light came to our world three days before the sun, moon, and stars. Somehow, God was able to produce day and night cycles without the use of the sun, moon, and stars. God reminded Job that HE is the light of the world, not the material elements we observe. When God spoke about light again, He developed this complicated principle.
God asked Job: “Where is the way to the dwelling of light?”
This seems like a simple question, but things get complicated when we think this through. Is the sun the source of light for the world? What about the light of the stars that are so distant from our planet? Where does their light come from? What about fire? People have used fire as a source of light since the beginning when the moon or the stars were not sufficient to illuminate areas. Here, it seems that heat is a major factor for light. The sun is a big ball of fire. Other stars in the universe bear the same types of characteristics. However, we know that there are certain creatures in this world that can manufacture light from within themselves. Bioluminescence is a real thing that scientists have classified as a legitimate light source. There are sea creatures, very distant from the light of the sun, moon, and stars, that are able to manufacture this energy.
The English dictionary defines “light” as: the natural agent that stimulates sight and makes things visible. This is easy to state, but to God’s point, what is the source of the “natural agent?” Can we as people visit the home of this “natural agent?” How did something as large as the sun develop the same ability as something like a firefly? Light makes these two things common in one sense, but they are nothing alike. How did each get “light” to make them common? People have tried to explain things on a case-by-case basis, but no one has come up with the answer to God’s question without answering the question with “God.” Where is the source of light? What sparked the simple stimulation that enables sight? The Bible teaches that God is light. Jesus validated His nature as “the Light of the world.” Without God, there is no “natural agent.” God is the means by which a deep-sea fish and a star in another galaxy can both illuminate and stimulate sight to some degree.
Still, can a person just go and visit the house of God, mapping out the directions to the source where Light dwells? What GPS coordinates would be input to find the way to the kingdom of God from where light originates? Light is one of the most basic principles of light, and yet we are so distant from its source. We receive the benefits of light every single day, and yet the source of light is totally unapproachable. How does this happen? If these principles are so difficult to comprehend, how then can we criticize God of other issues in life. He is the cause of all things whether we can explain it or not. We as people have learned to deal with light to the best we can regardless of our limited understanding of it. We should take the same approach with the “light” seasons in our lives, trusting God is behind it all, whether we recognize the reason or not. We just need to remember He is the cause!
What about darkness? God asked Job if he knew the place from where darkness dwells and originates from. Many people think that darkness is simply the absence of light. The Bible doesn’t teach this. If part of God’s nature is “light,” how then was there “darkness” in the beginning before God said, “Let there be light?” Isn’t God omnipresent? Wouldn’t God’s transcendent glory affect every inch of all places ever known? Isaiah 45:7 teaches that God created both light AND darkness. He exists as light, and made the essence of His nature visible in a physical way when He created the universe as we know it. However, before God manifested Himself in a physical form of light, He created darkness. This means that God is in control of darkness just as light. He created darkness before He said, “Let there be light,” but then removed darkness when He manifested His glory as physical light.
Think about this: Where did darkness go when light came into the world so that it was able to return at the beginning of the next day? How does darkness know to leave and return every day at the same time? Where does darkness retire to when light comes? The Bible teaches why God manifested and created darkness (which is a whole other Bible study in it of itself), but where does darkness hide during the day, even when the sun might not be shining to its full strength? Can we identify the location from which darkness originates and hides? Can we point to the place where darkness comes from seeing that there is darkness all over the earth? If we can’t identify the cause and workings of something as simple as darkness, how can we criticize God and judge His works that have more variables and factors? Like with light, we as people have learned to deal with dark and night. We do our best to cope with the reality that night will come and that light will be sparse in that time. We’ve come up with ways to make the best of the situation, and trust that light will come again. We can’t explain the reasons for God’s work, nor the ultimate purposes for the details of His works, so we should trust Him and His control over all things just like we trust in the rotation of earth. How can we be so sure a season of darkness will come to an end? God has been controlling darkness since the beginning because, like all other things, it’s just another tool He uses to do His wonderful works. This doesn’t mean that the removal of darkness will suit our preferences, but the Word promises that the Light of the world will dispel darkness once and for all when He’s good and ready.
God asked Job to answer these questions about light and dark, asking him if he was around to see God’s work when light and dark were created. One of the simple reasons we can’t identify or approach the source of light and dark is because we weren’t there when they were created. God can speak confidently and truthfully about light and dark because He was there as the Creator. Light and dark are simple in principle, but have been around long before people. We are still learning their characteristics and how to use them for beneficial purposes. If our understanding of them is still so elementary with all the time we’ve had to learn, clearly the basic principles of this world transcend our ability to know. We weren’t there when these things began, and so we are heavily crippled to know the basis of these things. God is not crippled in anyway, and so His wisdom and power are FAR greater than ours will ever be.
God expressed this sentiment by bringing up the issues of snow and hail. These seem to be factors that are random, coming off of the points of light and dark. However, the point of God’s control and transcendent purposes is still the teaching point. God asked if Job could point to the “treasury of snow or hail.” One might think that the “treasury” of snow and hail is the clouds from which they come, but is that true? We know that snow and hail come from clouds just like rain. However, how do these clouds know when to produce snow, hail, or just rain? For all of the rain that the planet receives, how do the clouds not produce an equal amount of snow or hail? If the planet got the same amount of snow as it does rain, our planet would be vastly different. The same for hail. Somehow, these things are regulated. Where is the source of this regulation? How do the clouds know to regulate the amount of snow and hail so as to ensure the continuity of our planet?
This regulation shows that there is specific purpose for the amount of snow and hail that come. If there is purpose, God must be in control, but what is that purpose? Is it always good? In Joshua 10:11, the Bible explains that God controlled light, dark, and hail to accomplish a specific purpose in a way that the world has not seen since. At that time, God brought Joshua and the children of Israel victory in battle by pouring out hail upon Israel’s armies, and also by keeping the sun in its place for the whole day so that the Israelites could finish the fight. According to the Bible, God brought hail in the middle of the day, but the day remained light for its entirety! How does this happen? Many people might say that it is impossible, but is it really impossible for the Creator to use His creation in any way He wants at any time for His purpose? We might not be able to explain the science behind this miracle, but we don’t have to. God is the cause and His purpose was clearly stated – to provide victory. Here, God used hail as soldiers of His army, not the children of Israel. Though the Israelites swung the swords, it was the hail that defeated the enemy. God is called “the LORD of hosts,” referring to His supreme control over ALL things, including the armies of heaven and earth. In Joshua 10:11, God used hail like an army, producing victory by the extent of His supreme control.
This might seem like just one fluke instance, but the Bible shows that God often caused the sun, moon, stars, and other facets of weather to provide aid to His people, or judgment. The hindsight of scripture always explains the reason, but we don’t always have the benefit of hindsight. We just know the truth of the constant – God is the cause. The Bible speaks of another time when God will turn the sun black and the moon to stop shining, though light to some degree will be evident. God will hurl hailstones measuring one hundred pounds from heaven. When God does this in the Day of the LORD, many on earth will be confused. Many will say, “Everything happens for a reason” in anticipation of better days. For some, there will be better days – those who humble themselves in the time of God’s wrath, repent of their sin, and seek forgiveness through faith in Jesus Christ. For others, there will not be better days; only condemnation and judgment where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth. What is God’s “reason” for this? He will exalt His name through both the “good” in salvation and “bad” in judgment. He will accomplish His perfect will and purposes by proving that He alone is God and there is no other so that every knee will bow and every tongue will confess in agreement that Jesus Christ is He! Whether we fall on the favorable side of God’s work or unfavorable, God will continue to do simple things in unexplainable ways to ensure we all know that Christ is LORD. Knowing this, we are not called to whine, gripe, complain, criticize, or scrutinize God’s works, but trust them to be good because He is; knowing that His eternal purposes are supremely great no matter how we might be affected in this life.