In the midst of discussing life we ended up reminding each other that, truth be told, there are just a lot of things in this life that don't make sense. Under the sun there are many secret things and this side of heaven much remains mysterious.
I found myself quoting Deuteronomy 29:29 (as I often do when things puzzle me and seem beyond any reasonable explanation). There, Moses reminds us that "the secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law."
My friend shared with me that she knew of a seminary professor who, when asked obviously unanswerable questions in class, would quote that very verse and then would draw a line on the classroom board. Above the line were the "secret things" that belonged to the all-knowing and infinite God. Below the line were the "revealed things" that belonged to the small-knowing and finite us. He would simply answer his students by pointing atop the horizontal line he made and saying "Gentlemen, THAT is above the line."
Solomon, in Ecclesiastes 8:17 is telling us that we need not trouble ourselves with striving to grasp that which "above the line" here under the sun. It is above the line for a reason. It is secret for a reason and that is part of the faith journey that we are on. Faith has not yet been made sight. Secret things have not yet been revealed. Let us not put the cart before the horse but ride patiently in the wagon while looking at the back-end view! The day is coming when questions will be answered and when we will see things as they truly are.
"The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things revealed belong to us and to our sons forever, that we may observe all the words of this law." (Deuteronomy 29:29)
"And I saw every work of God and I concluded that man cannot discover the work which has been done under teh sun. Even though man should seek laboriously, he will not discover..." (Ecclesiastes 8:17)
Friends, God is God and we are not. Were we able to understand and comprehend all of His ways and means and thoughts and actions then He would not be very "God-ish" and therefore not very worthy of our reverant awe. The "secret things" and the things that we "cannot discover" are honestly the very things that make God most amazing and the impossibility of His existance the REAL imposibility!
Now, to shoot perfectly straight with you, I must confess that I am one of those people who far too often likes to attempt to venture above the line. I try to jump the hurdle of divine wisdom and seize it as my own. I want all of the pieces to fit and when they don't I can tend to freak out a bit - OK, so perhaps a bit more than a bit!
Those who know me well know that I am a chronic doubter and the quintessential questioner. I am a woman who loves logic and reason and who believes - despite my doubts and questions - that the Christian faith is not merely some blind-faith crap shoot but is truly the most solid, reasonable, and firm foundation for the understanding of anything. Those reasoning characteristics can be both good and bad. They are good when, by grace, I use them "beneath the line". They are bad when I try to use them to force my way "above the line".
Knowing my tendancy to "cross the line" is perhaps the thing that makes Solomon's admonition so good for me. With him, I have "concluded that man cannot discover the work which [He] has done under the sun." It is a vain waste of my time to even try to step across "the line" into the secret regime. Besides, is there not MORE than enough that has been "revealed" here beneath the line that I still don't know?
I suppose the bottom line of it all is that I need to master what has been made available to me beneath the line and practically apply it here under the sun before even bothering to reach beyond the stars to that which my puny finite brain can't contain anyway.
With Job I once again find myself covering my mouth with my hand. A fool without knowledge, daring to darken the counsel of the all-knowing and just-enough-revealing God.
The time will come when secrets will be revealed. Lord, help me to be willing to wait and make me a wondering worshipper in the meantime while I live under the sun.