Thursday, September 20, 2007

On Not Knowing

The more we think about Haiti and all that has happened since we first learned where to find the country on a map back in 2002, the more we think Haiti is God's tool to change our hearts and help us grow. Not help us know; but help us grow. Our experiences over the last few years have challenged our faith and shaken us individually and as a family.

I don't suppose that Haiti is unique in this way, I would venture to guess that most any intense cross-cultural experience could teach the same lessons and bring about changes.

The change has meant knowing less. The change has meant being okay with knowing less.

Maybe that sounds stupid. Let me try to explain.

Things used to be very black and white for me. Either it was right or it was wrong. (Almost) everything had a clear-cut answer in my mind. My opinions were solid, my views did not have room to move, I knew a lot. Name a topic, I could tell you with certainty what the "right" opinion was and I could tell you why it was the "right" opinion. There were not too many things I did not have figured out. Whether it was politics, hot button issues of our day, faith, famine, you name it ... I had an answer.

While there are still things that I feel strongly about and believe in with passion, most of what I knew five years ago ... I no longer know. I know much less today then I did in 2002.

I think it is where God wants me. I think He probably got tired of my righteous opinions on all things and just wanted me to learn to say, "I don't know ... But God knows ... And that is enough."

There is freedom in not needing to know it all. There is freedom in recognizing that not all things are so easily discerned. Life does not come in a nicely wrapped little box. Not knowing does not mean not caring. Not knowing does not mean weak faith.

It may make some squirm a bit to hear me say this. That is okay. The change that has taken place is something that we would not trade for anything.

Very few people leave a place like Haiti without serious questions. The contrast between what you thought you knew and what you see drives you to your knees. Concern and love for people totally unlike yourself begins in a place like this. Your anguish over the injustice of it all causes you to call on an all-knowing Sovereign God. It causes you to think. It causes you to not know what to do. It leaves questions unanswered. It changes you. It is changing me.

Having unanswered questions and knowing less has not made me feel less intelligent, less important to God, less capable or less faithful. Knowing less has caused me to seek Him more. I truly believe that is what He wanted from me all along.

You don't have to have all the answers, you just need to know The God who does.


P.S. (Remind me of all of this when I forget it in a few weeks ... or months.)