Why Is God So Hard To Understand?

Isaiah 55:8-9
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts.”


Many of us do not understand God. We hear about God and His Son, Jesus Christ. We are told the good news that Jesus died for our sins and we can be saved from going to hell if we believe in Him. However there are many who do not want to follow Jesus without being sure they know what they are doing. So we ask many questions, but to our surprise, we rarely get satisfactory answers. An impasse is reached and our relationship with God stalls. Why does this happen?

Our Own Wisdom Is Insufficient To Understand God

The Bible makes a distinction between the wisdom of man and the wisdom of God. Man’s wisdom is gained through experience and knowledge and depends on an ability to understand. God’s wisdom is a gift from above and comes through revelation. 1 Corinthians 1:21 shows that we cannot know the things of God using our own wisdom. The Bible says “For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe.” Nicodemus could not understand what it meant to be born again. Jesus said to him, “I tell you the truth, unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” “How can a man be born when he is old?” Nicodemus asked in John 3:3 – 4. Jesus replies to Nicodemus “The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” Jesus was saying to him to trust in God and not to try to work it all out. Proverbs 3:5 says “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding.”

God Gives And Withholds Understanding

God can give to, or take understanding away from anyone. In Luke 10:21 Jesus
praises God “because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned,
and revealed them to little children.” In His mercy, God sometimes calls out to us. However He is waiting for us to respond to Him. In Proverbs 1:23 Jesus says “If you had responded to my rebuke, I would have poured out my heart to you and made my thoughts known to you.”

Instead of directing our questions to God, we try to work out the answers ourselves or ask someone else. If we acknowledge God and ask Him then He will answer us. James 1:5 says “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him.”

We Need To Believe In God

If we refuse to follow God until our questions have been answered, then we are saying we do not trust Him. This is not good, because “without faith it is impossible to please God” we are told in Hebrews 11:6. “Believe in the Lord
Jesus and you will be saved” we are instructed in Acts 16:31. God is someone we can trust fully. He is a good God and will lead us in ways of righteousness and peace. Romans 9:33 reminds us that “The one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”

We Don’t Have To Understand God

When we don’t understand something about God, some people are tempted to discredit him completely. We were often taught in Sunday School that you don’t have to understand everything to believe in something. It is called having faith. In John 9, Jesus met a man who was born blind and forced to beg just to get by. Jesus’ disciples wanted to know whose fault it was that the man was blind: Was it his fault? Or his parents?

For some reason, it’s human nature to place blame. For example, if someone gets cancer, some Christians might wonder, What do you think they did to deserve cancer? If someone’s wife walks out, insensitive churchgoers might think, If he had been a better spiritual leader, his wife wouldn’t have done that. If a teenager is rebellious, hardened onlookers might privately reflect, If that kid’s parents had been more involved, this never would have happened.

People Like To Place Blame

In John 9:3 when the disciples wondered who to blame, to their surprise Jesus answered, “Neither this man nor his parents sinned… but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life”.

This man had spent years enduring the hardships of a life without sight, and Jesus basically said that God would be glorified through this tragedy. God can have a purpose in our pain. In a coming lesson we will address why God allows suffering and pain.

Just because God can use what happens doesn’t mean he causes everything. God does cause some pain Hebrews 12:7–11 talks about God “disciplining” his children, but much pain – especially that caused by the sins of other people – is not caused by God. He may allow it, but he doesn’t cause it. That’s an important distinction. Recognizing this fact might still leave us angry with him (and I’m guessing he probably understands when it’s a person in pain). We learn to overcome this anger as we get to know God. And as we do, we learn how to trust that he is still good, loving, and wise in everything he does, even if we don’t know why things happen.

God Will Give You Understanding

You can’t read your Bible alone.

No, this isn’t a criticism of private devotional times. Rather, we are not able to read our Bibles without help from the very one we are trying to see and hear from in our Bible reading. God himself gives us understanding when we read our Bibles, and without his help, we can do nothing.

But when we say this, it must not be taken to mean that we open our Bibles, sit back, close our eyes, and wait for God to talk to us. As with everything in the Christian life, we must “work hard” at understanding the Bible, though it is “not us, but the grace of God” we are told in 1 Corinthians 15:10. It is precisely in the very natural, hard work of reading and laboring to understand meaning where God illumines our minds to “understand with spiritual eyes and not merely natural understanding” we read in 1 Corinthians 2:14–15.