I read a book recently where two sisters, both single and in their 50's, sat down to dinner with their nephew, a 16 year-old they have just met for the first time. Before eating one sister says to the boy, "We ask no grace at this table but the grace to accept the workings of the Lord, mute and unknowable as He is in His wisdom." That one brief sentence says a lot about what they believe about God. They believe that God exists, and that He is wise. They also believe that God is silent and that it is not possible for humans to know Him. Is what the author says about God through this woman true? Yes, and no.
I believe the first part is true, that God exists. There are many people in our culture who deny the existence of God. There are also many people who would say that He exists, but their knowledge of God stops there and they don't know what else to say about Him. I also believe that God is wise, but my reasons for that are connected to the other half of the sentence in the book.
Is God silent? Is He unknowable? No, to both questions. If we believe that God exists then all we have to do is to open our eyes and take a look around us to see, in a limited way, how He shows Himself to us. We can look at nature and see that God loves beauty, order and variety. We can see that God has limitless imagination in the designs of the things we see in nature.
But to really know God, to really hear Him speak, we have to open a book, a specific book. When we open the Bible and begin to read it we see more clearly the character of God. Looking at nature helps us see His beauty and imagination but it is in His word that He shows us His wisdom, His power, His justice, His love, His holiness. And those are just a few of the things we learn about Him in His word.
As this new year begins take a look at the beauty of His world and know that God exists. Then begin to read His word, the Bible, and gradually come to know God as He truly is. He is a God who speaks, a God whom we can know, and while the things He teaches and says about himself may at times challenge us, they are things that are always good.
This piece was also submitted for publication to the Jicarilla Chieftain.