I Don’t Know

Wisdom begins by not having answers but by being open to the questions that arise normally from the endless stream of events we face each day. So much of life begs the question: Why?

Why did Sally get cancer? Why did Harry lose his job?

A few weeks ago at Christmas, we confronted one of the biggest questions ever: why did God become human, exchanging the infinite power of divinity for the helplessness of a baby totally dependent upon two lowly humans for survival? Imagine…God needing to be fed, bathed, clothed, and taught to walk. Imagine…God becoming one with us in our normality, in our laughter and tears, in our triumphs and failures, in our suffering and loneliness. Imagine…God needing to wash the dishes, clean up his or her room.

The Incarnation made the divine a normal human being, just like us in every way except for our yielding to temptation and sin. God becomes human in each of us. God is one with us not just in our best moments, but also in our worst moments. The scandal of normality is that God becomes one of us in our ordinariness, in our human weakness. Within each of us, the mystery of divinity becomes a reality and is truly alive and present within us as we go about the mundane, normal tasks of simply living. Everything human is sacred…except hatred and violence.

We demand answers. But for me, when I hear someone say, “I don’t know,” it is music to my ears. I believe God became flesh and dwells among us and within us…dwells within you and me, and even dwells within our enemies. But I don’t know why.

God does not offer answers to the impenetrable mysteries of life. God only offers presence…and love, mercy, peace, and unity. We need to be still in order to feel the presence of God, to experience the love of God…even while taking out the trash and standing in line at the supermarket. Wisdom begins not with answers but with sight… seeing God within the poor and the powerful, seeing God with the saints and sinners we encounter every day, seeing God within everything, even unfathomable tragedies. Wisdom begins by seeing the way God sees…and striving to love the way God loves, even if such divine love is beyond our imagination and ability. Without any effort at all, I can think of a long list of people whom I would find impossible to love. Today, God asks me to try to find a way to love those I consider unlovable…because Jesus made it clear that no one lies beyond the mercy of God.


4 Responses to “I Don’t Know”

  1. 1 Rev. Paul McKay January 15, 2015 at 5:51 am

    Great stuff, Gerry. There’s a guy on Christian radio in the States who calls himself “The Bible Answer Man.” He takes questions from callers about God and the bible and I’ll swear, he knows more about God than God knows about God, much less more than any other human on earth.

  2. 2 squeaky kneeler January 15, 2015 at 5:53 am

    Gerry, my family often laugh at me – with a very Frustrated Laugh –
    because of how often i say, “i don’t know,” – as if i’m supposed
    to know everything as husband and father. Sometimes they’ll
    come right out and ask, DO YOU KNOW ANYTHING??? and
    i will answer by imitating that Aaron Neville guy with the wobbly
    singing voice: “i DON’T KNOW MUCH, BUT i KNOW i LOVE
    what a profound lyric!! Imagine if we lived that way? for Love,
    not for answers!

  3. 4 alicenyaliceny January 15, 2015 at 3:13 pm

    Two statements that you make in this post have sent my mind, and my heart, into 360-degree reverse thinking. :

    1. “Wisdom begins not with answers but with sight….”

    2. “God asks me to try to find a way to love those I consider unlovable….
    because Jesus made it clear that no one lies beyond the mercy of God.”

    After serious thought, I can rationalize and understand the first statement. It makes sense. To me it really expresses in very simple terms exactly what it means to be a disciple of Jesus – to see as He saw, to act as He acted.

    The second statement is tough. Tough because it involves such a sharp attitude change toward a person or persons whom you do not like for one reason or another — particularly persons whom you deem have caused you intense hurt. The suggestions that you offer for such an attitude change seem, at first, to be difficult for the average person to try to accomplish. Most people are not contemplatives or mystics. Just trying to achieve complete silence to try to come into God’s presence seems, to me to be nearly impossible. But my soul and my belief in Jesus the Christ tell me that, difficult or not, that is what I must do.

    Thank you for YOUR words of Wisdom in this so beautiful, hopeful posting,

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