By Ray Nierman
I’m not the only one who expected my pastor to know all the answers when I was young. As I’ve heard, it’s a pretty common sentiment. If my pastor has gone to school for years to study God and the Word, then why don’t they know all the answers? How, after all that time spent focusing on one thing, do they still have empty spaces in their mind? Well, I think I’m starting to understand how that works. Another belief I had when I was young was that eventually, after college probably, I would know everything. After so many years of school, how could I not? It’s not like there are THAT many different subjects, right?
As a high schooler having to choose a major, I realized how wrong I was, that you can spend your whole life specializing on one subject and not know everything there is to know about it. Then, when I think of all the different subjects that exist, from math to art to theology, I start to get a little better grasp on what it really means to be All-Knowing. It’s impossible. Except it’s not. As I develop a better understanding of how much information is out there in the world, I lose my understanding of how God can possibly be omniscient.
I’m glad I’m not shooting for that anymore, because that’s a lot of pressure. Pressure that I still face today, with every piece of information I’m expected to take in. Pressure that we each still face, especially during this time of hardship that is school during Covid.
I think the beauty I’ve been able to see in losing my understanding of God’s omniscience is my understanding of why we are called to be students, however we define student. God doesn’t call us to learn for the sake of becoming like God. We are called to learn to better serve the world we’ve been given and the people and communities we’ve been placed in. This doesn’t require us to be like God, to be All-Knowing, to learn perfectly. That’s not what’s asked of us. What’s asked of us is that we learn as well as we can, that we use that knowledge to care for the people and world around us in a Christian way. In keeping with that, if you “learn” nothing from this blog, remember this prayer.
Lord, help us to learn as we can, help us understand that you don’t expect us to have all the answers, and help us to find comfort in the fact that despite our imperfect minds, you love us with your perfect heart. Amen.