And I was overcome with wonder at this: our faith is grounded in God’s word, and whoever believes in that word will be preserved completely. Now holy doctrine tells us that many creatures will be damned. And if this is true, it seemed impossible to me that everything should be well, as our Lord had shown me by revelation. And in regard to this I had no other answer but this: “What is impossible for you is not impossible for me. I shall honor my word in everything, and I shall make everything well.” -Julian of Norwich*
Impossible to understand? Yes. This is THE great act of the Trinity that has remained hidden in God’s heart from the beginning of time. How He will accomplish making all things well is completely incomprehensible to me.
Impossible to believe? Well, that depends. Am I willing to suspend this compulsive need to understand everything in my universe? Yes, curiosity can be a good and healthy thing. But it is also what killed the cat, as the old saying goes. And old sayings hang around precisely because there is a measure of truth in them!
If I stop long enough to consider it, there are many things for which I have suspended that need to understand. I look at an airplane and reason tells me that it can’t stay aloft. But it does. I don’t understand how. Yes, I could consult with an aeronautical engineer who could explain it to me, but I haven’t. Nor do I intend to. I’ve suspended my need to understand how the plane flies and simply boarded it, trusting that it will take me safely to my destination.
Neither do I understand how my microwave works. Yes, I could consult another kind of engineer (who makes microwaves anyway?) who could explain how it cooks my food in a fraction of the time it takes on the stove. But I haven’t, nor do I intend to. I have more important things to do with my time, so I just throw my bag of veggies in there, push a couple of buttons, and trust that when it beeps at me, I’ll have perfectly cooked food.
I have faith in someone I’ve never met, who designed that airplane that takes me where I want to go. I have faith in another someone I’ve never met who designed the microwave that cooks the food I need for nourishment. As it turns out, I suspend my need to understand on a pretty regular basis, choosing to trust some unknown being who is smarter than I am in their particular field of work, having faith that what they have planned and designed will meet my need.
When I think about it that way, having faith in Someone I’ve never met but whose Presence I sense with every breath I take comes a little easier. In fact, it’s not that difficult to suspend my need to understand and choose to trust that He will, indeed, make all things well. I don’t have to understand. I just need to have a little faith that what is impossible for me to understand is possible for Him to accomplish.
*Excerpted from All Will Be Well: Julian of Norwich, (Notre Dame, IN: Ave Maria Press, 1995, 2008, Quest Associates), pg. 38