It occurred to me today in a conversation that one reason God might desire us to walk in faith is because he already knows everything.
I was talking with Believers about the size of a task, a choreography project, which seems impossible. I am on a team that is constructing a new show, and the deadline is looming. The choreographer is feeling stretched and unable to complete the task, and understandably so. However, she (I think rightly) believes that God gave her this task, that it’s important to him, and that he wouldn’t have called her to do something that he wasn’t going to help her accomplish. This is a small comfort, but we still can’t see how it’s going to happen!
The choreographer lamented: “If only he would tell us everything that was going to happen so we would know!”
How many times have I said this myself. God, if I just knew what was coming it would be so much easier!
Some people answer he doesn’t tell us because we would freak out and panic if we actually knew what was coming. Possible.
But today I occurred to me that one reason God might require a walk of faith is because he has given us the gift of not knowing. Imagine if you were omniscient… you would never be surprised by anything. Ever. Neither pleasant nor unpleasant. Not knowing invites us to trust—we have to trust in people, trust in ourselves, trust in luck, trust in hope, trust in God…. If you knew everything before it happened—if you knew everything right now—what would be the point of living? You already have every experience you could possibly ever have. Not knowing is the gift of being stuck in linear time as a linear being. We don’t know; we have to find out.
In a lot of ways, God has given us the one thing he doesn’t have: not knowing. We experience life one moment at a time, and like an infant seeing the world for the first time, we see each moment with innocent eyes, seriously not knowing what comes next! This is why faith pleases God (according to the book of Hebrews): because he delights when we trust to walk with him by faith, trusting in him who is unseen for the future that is unseen. And as a God who knows all things, I think he likes seeing us discover the moments, one at a time. Like a parent lives each moment with their baby child, experiencing life anew. Like an author experiences things through his character’s mind’s eye.
Is that unfair or unkind of God? No. He’s God; he can do what he wants.
Is it sadistic of God to “live vicariously” through our experiences? No; he’s not cruel. If he does, he does it as a good father, who celebrates every joy and feels every pain. Besides, I’m only hypothesizing that he enjoys the moment with us, so don’t get your theological knickers in a twist.
But just so that he could erase any doubt, God did come down to our level, and walk the walk of faith. Jesus Christ, God come in the flesh, came and experienced life one moment at a time. And even though he seemed to have a direct pipeline to the Father in heaven, there were things that Jesus confessed he didn’t know (like the day of the Second Coming of the Son of Man).
I think it’s amazing what Jesus experienced so he could identify with we who don’t know all things. And I think it’s amazing that God would give us the gift of discovery, surprise, and finding out. He invites us into his amazing Kingdom, and even puts impossible tasks before us. Not so we will fail, but so we can learn to trust in him. He’s actually inviting us to know him better, the God Who Knows Everything. I can ask my wife, “What are you thinking?” and she can tell me several things. But try asking God, “What are you thinking?” He’d blow your circuit board. But he invites us into the wild, blue yonder, and says, “Walk with me, and you’ll learn my thoughts, my deeds, my power, and my love.”
And I think that’s a gift.