The Lord has been teaching me a little bit more of the blessedness of not knowing the right answer to a question or difficulty I’m facing. I’ve always been touched by Ezekiel’s response when the Lord questions him in the valley:
“He said to me, "Son of man, can these bones live?" And I answered, "O Lord GOD, You know."”
Ezekiel 37:3 NASB
It’s so tempting, in the face of a new question, to feel the pressure of needing to know the answer. I love seeing Ezekiel’s humility in his willingness to admit that he doesn’t know the answer. I can imagine the pressure that a prophet might feel as a particularly spiritual man to have an answer to any spiritual question. I have felt it myself, and I’m nowhere near a prophet! But it’s such a temptation, to think I need to know it all, to have it all figured out, etc.
I see that same humility in the Apostle John’s life, in an incident during his revelation on Patmos:
“Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, "These who are clothed in the white robes, who are they, and where have they come from?" I said to him, "My lord, you know..."”
John must have been the most spiritual man on the face of the earth at that time, having walked with the Lord for decades, and as history tells us, having outlived all of the other apostles. And yet, when a spiritual question comes (in the midst of a vision of heaven, no less!), he gladly admits that he doesn’t know the answer! It’s so encouraging to see that as an aspect of growing in humility: a willingness to admit it when “I don’t know.”
But the thing that has especially touched my heart is that both of these brothers’ testimony isn’t just negative — ie “I don’t know” — but rather, it’s positive: “The Lord definitely knows!” There’s a world of difference between the two statements. What’s the ultimate truth to me - that I don’t know, or that God does know? One ends in defeat, the other in hope. It reminds me of Jehoshaphat’s prayer:
“...We are powerless before this great multitude who are coming against us; nor do we know what to do, but our eyes are on You."”
2 Chronicles 20:12
I have been through some trials recently that have birthed this kind of prayer. And my honest testimony is that there is a tremendous blessedness in helplessly casting myself upon the Lord. I have seen that circumstances that cause us to run for refuge in the Lord are one of God’s chosen means to help us “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Psalm 34:8).
So instead of being bothered by the things that expose my helplessness, I want to delight in the nearness of the Lord. I’ve found that when I run to Him for an answer, He reminds me that He is the AnswerI need. And I’ve left numerous prayers truly at rest, not because I have an answer, but because I know Him! And He knows all!
“"Blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD And whose trust is the LORD.”
Jeremiah 17:7 NASB
A Heart That’s Completely His
It says that “the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the whole earth to strongly support the one whose heart is completely His” (2 Chronicles 16:9). If we see the broader context of this statement, we can see how the Lord Himself defines a “heart that is completely His.” This wonderful promise is actually a rebuke to Asa because he conducted himself wrongly when Israel threatened, in 2 Chronicles 16, after having demonstrated such a heart years before, when the Ethiopians attacked, in 2 Chronicles 14. The Lord is essentially saying, why didn’t you do what you did last time? Looking at the incident of the Ethiopian attack, we see what Asa did that pleased the Lord so greatly:
“Then Asa called to the LORD his God and said, "LORD, there is no one besides You to help in the battle between the powerful and those who have no strength; so help us, O LORD our God, for we trust in You, and in Your name have come against this multitude. O LORD, You are our God; let not man prevail against You."”
2 Chronicles 14:11
It’s interesting that Asa claims they “have no strength” despite having an army of over 500,000 valiant warriors (14:8)! So we see that the Lord defines a “heart that is completely His” as a heart that feels and confesses its own helplessness, no matter how many other resources might be available. It’s one who says to the Lord, “I have no one but You to help. I have no where to turn but You.”
I’m asking the Lord to bring me to that place. All too often, I am choosing between countless resources — strategies, tactics, tools, and approaches — only to find that I consult the Lord as a “last line of defense.” But the trials He has brought me to recently, where He has proven Himself sufficient despite my utter lack, have practically shown me the blessedness of helplessness. In all of the other trials I face, where it might appear I have other things to draw upon, I want to abandon every other refuge in faith, and gladly count them as nothing, so that my helpless little life might also prove that the Lord “strongly supports the one whose heart is completely His,” the one who has none but God.