I love the prayers of my children. There is something raw and honest about them.
Occasionally, I will hear certain phrases that get on repeat, but usually, each day will provide something unique.
The other day, my son, Eli, was praying over lunch. Something he said got my attention and caused me to do a double-take.
“Thank you, God, for this day. Thank you for this food. Thank you that Dad is off work. Thank you that we all get to spend time together. And thank you that one day we will get to heaven and learn more about you. Amen.”
The last line kinda struck me funny. I was getting ready to educate my 5-year-old that heaven’s purpose is not so that we would learn more about God. The goal is to worship him and enjoy him at a level never experienced before.
But before I corrected him, I believe I was corrected by the Holy Spirit.
When we get to heaven, we will learn more about God. In one moment, it will all make sense.
It’s a tricky balance when it comes to understanding the person and the work of God. In one sense, the desire for Mankind to obtain the same knowledge as God created Mankind’s Fall in the first place as Satan tempted, “You will not surely die. For God knows that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil” (Gen. 3:4-5). Did you catch that? The desire to know what God knows has so much to do with a desire to take his place.
So, while we accept that we are not to know everything that God knows, we are still supposed to apply our minds to better understand him. We are to love the Lord with all of our “mind” (Mark 12:30). We are not to be conformed to the world but be transformed by the renewing of our minds (Rom. 12:2). Someone who loves the Lord should strive to study the Word in order to know God better so that he can love God better (2 Tim. 2:15).
We are to be careful concerning knowledge understanding that “knowledge puffs up, but love builds up. If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know” (1 Cor. 8:1-2).
King Solomon the Wise said, “I have acquired great wisdom, surpassing all who were over Jerusalem before me…and I applied my heart to know wisdom and to know madness and folly. I perceived that this also is but a striving after wind” (Ecc. 2:16-17).
So, where is the balance? I think somewhere in Eli’s prayer. He understands it a lot better than me.
In my journey to press on to know God more (Hos. 6:3), I have found the healthy balance for this life. I am to love God with all my mind applying myself to grappling with the hard questions and deep truths of God and also understand that my mind can’t completely handle all of it – at least yet.
If my finite mind could completely comprehend the infinite God then he ceases to be that impressive.
My balance is found in the middle of the Bible in the Book of Ecclesiastes. King Solomon is speaking of his quest to find meaning in this life and he writes this line that connects all the dots for me:
“He has made everything beautiful in its time. Also, he has put eternity into man’s heart, yet so that he cannot find out what God has done from the beginning to the end” (Ecc. 3:11).
Do you see it? Even our knowledge and understanding of God will be beautiful – in time. Eternity has actually been placed in our hearts so that we are longing for God yet a limit has been placed upon it for now. We will not and cannot discover all of who God is and what God is in this present moment. Overtime, we will understand more as we behold the Lord and we are “being transformed into the same image from glory to glory” (2 Cor. 3:18). “Beloved, we are God’s children now, and what we will be has not yet appeared; but we know that when he appears we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is” (1 John 3:2).
Ecc. 3:11 warns me from pride and laziness. I cannot be prideful enough to think I can figure God out but I also can’t be lazy enough to figure out what this finite mind can currently handle.
So, yes, Eli, I can’t wait to get to heaven and learn more about God. For when we see him, we probably won’t even worry about the questions anymore. Everything will make sense when we are illuminated by the brilliance of his glory and can say like Job, “I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eyes see you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:5-6).
Travis Agnew serves as the Lead Pastor of Rocky Creek Church in Greenville, SC. His most recent book is Just (About) Married.
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