We’ve learned to distrust God from our skeptical culture. “What is the reason for this trial?” we murmur. “Show me the reason you’ve sent this into my life,” we beseech the Lord.
Scripture gives us a place to wrestle through the hard things of life. The psalmists in particular ask hard questions of their God (for example, Ps. 22). But the Bible has a stronger answer than this. When biblical figures boggle at the realities of the human condition, God frequently directs His struggling people to one theological principle: His “Godness.”
We see this in Isaiah 40. The people of God feel abandoned. They do not have clear answers to their vexing queries. In response, the Lord offers no point-by-point rebuttal. He leads His people to think afresh about Him:
Why do you say, O Jacob, and speak, O Israel, “My way is hidden from the Lord and my right is disregarded by my God”? Have you not known? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He does not faint or grow weary; his understanding is unsearchable. (Isa. 40:27–28)
Isaiah’s response is striking. His encouragement for the weary is to train their eyes on God alone. He does not delve into their circumstances. He reminds them of the Godness of God. Yahweh is everlasting. He is the Creator. He is not a frail creature like them. He is all-wise. To a suffering people, Isaiah offers a simple but stunning prescription: God. The people need more of Him, and less of everything else.
The Lord gives the warmest encouragement the human heart could desire through His Spirit. His chief gift to us, however, is not immediate relief from our trials. It is not release from human fragility. His greatest kindness is to open our eyes to His majesty. This is no spectator sport, though; we are not theistic tourists. When we set our sight on the Lord, the outcome is this: He looms large, and our challenges slowly recede. We contemplate His timelessness, His creative ability, His tirelessness, and His wisdom. As we do so, the tide draws back.
A skeptical age demands that heaven issue a press release when trials come: “Explain yourself, God!” But the Lord does not immediately resolve every dilemma. Rather, He lifts our eyes to the hills. We contemplate His greatness. We consider the depth of love poured out in the death of Christ. We dry our eyes, and we remember afresh that our trials will soon fade, and we will live with this awesome God forever.
The human heart asks for precise accounting from God. His common reply is not a flashy sign but a reminder of His presence. In truth, it is not an explanation we need. It is the Godness of God. God, we could say, is His own answer.