Can We Know the Mind of God?

Glynnis Whitwer

Day: 10 | Plan: Suffering and Sovereignty

Today’s Reading: Job 10

Job 10:4 (NIV) “Do you have eyes of flesh? Do you see as a mortal sees?”

It’s tempting to believe we can understand how God’s mind works. We are created in His image. Surely that must mean God thinks like we do. Yet how can the natural think like the supernatural? How can the created think like the Creator?

As humans, we are limited in our understanding of God because we are placed in a specific spot in time. All we can really know is what we have experienced. God, on the other hand, is outside of time. He sees the beginning and the end while we only see the middle.

When we assign human motives to God’s actions, we can develop wrong beliefs about His character. And our frustration of not understanding can lead us to places of wrong thinking.

We see this as Job continues to wrestle with God’s motives for the suffering.

At this point, Job feels he has nothing to lose. He loathes his life, and because of that, “will give free rein to [his] complaint … ” In his frustration, he begins to question God’s motives, which he believes show God’s character:

  • Does God take pleasure in oppressing the righteous? (v. 3)
  • Does He affirm the plans of the wicked? (v. 3)
  • Is He like a human in that He looks for faults even though He knows one is innocent? (vs. 6 & 7)
  • Does He create only to destroy? (v. 8)

In this moment, Job is convinced he knows God’s heart and mind based on what he has experienced. (v. 13) And yet as readers of this story, we have the advantage of seeing the bigger picture. We know God isn’t doing any of what Job accuses.

But there are also some things we can’t know. Yes, we have 42 chapters of Job’s story recorded. But we can’t know how Job’s story fits in with God’s bigger plans.

God has a purpose and plan that goes beyond our lives and we aren’t given access to this kind of information. Perhaps we can’t even humanly comprehend it. It’s possible we strive to make God understood in human terms but He simply can’t be completely known.

Romans 11:34 confirms this, saying, “Who has known the mind of the LORD ? Or who has been his counselor?” 1 Corinthians 2:11 says, “ For who knows a person's thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God .”

So where does that leave us?

We have a choice. We can believe God is good. All the time. In doing so, we admit there are things we might never understand, things we can’t reconcile in our humanness. Releasing our need to know will lead us to God’s peace.

Or we can see the pain and suffering in this world, and decide God must be unkind and against us. But then that would be contradictory to what Scripture tells us about God.

Job works his way to believing in God’s goodness. He doesn’t allow his negative thoughts to take hold. Job offers us a model of how to wrestle well with what we can’t know.

God welcomes our questions and our doubts. We see that throughout Scripture. But if we assign characteristics to God that are against what the Bible says to be true, we will eventually pull away from God. We won’t feel safe or secure.

I don’t understand why God doesn’t come into this world and sweep it clean. I know one day He will. And until then, I pray for a heart that is settled knowing God is good and is for me, even though I can’t see the bigger picture.

Prayer: Dear Lord, help me trust You in greater measure today. I don’t want to trust what I see with my eyes. I want to trust that You have a greater plan for me than I can imagine and that it is for my good. In Jesus’ name, amen.

More Moments:

As Job 10 comes to an end, we experience the heartbreaking anguish of Job’s remorse of his... Read More

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