Week 18 Thursday

Understanding God

Today’s scripture selection: Job 35-36

Key verses: Job 36:26


     When Elihu was busy judging Job (although he probably would have said he was “correcting” Job) – he had this to say:

     “How great is God – beyond our understanding!”

     Well, I think he was partially right.

     I will be the first to say that when I ponder the intricacies of creation; the wonder of the cosmos; the great design that seems to wonderfully drive everything – I am somewhat overwhelmed.  There are some things I imagine we can never fully understand about God – at least until we are “face to face” with Him.

     On the other hand, I think it is a mistake for people to simply “give up” on understanding God.

     I have known too many people who chose, at best, to be agnostics – neither saying God exists or doesn’t – simply because they think – if he does – we could never understand such a being.  It’s as if they are content to simply proclaim that the universe is a “mystery” so you might as well forget about it and get on with more “practical” matters.

     I think God is a lot more understandable that we give Him credit for.

     Why?  Well – here’s one reason – the Bible says simply, and pointedly, God is love.

     Now, sure, we can go around and around talking about what a “mystery” love is.  But I am more content pointing to clear, powerful, direct, and simple loving action and saying that is at the core of who God is.

     To put it another way – as scripture does – we love because God first loved us.  And I believe the way He did that most profoundly was through the life and ministry of Jesus Christ.

     So – yep, life – and God – are in some ways “mysteries.”  But if you want to understand them, I suggest you look first at love in action.  Then, act in a loving way – again and again.

     And I think, before long, you will be surprised just how much you understand.


Prayer: Almighty, ever present, every mysterious God – help me to see you clearly – in a life of love.  AMEN.


By Paul Simrell

The Reverend Paul W. Simrell has served for over thirty years in a variety of congregational and institutional settings. He is a recognized minister with standing in the Virginia region of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada and is nationally endorsed by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for specialized ministry in both pastoral counseling and chaplaincy. Ordained in 1982, he has served congregations in Kentucky, Texas, Florida, and Virginia. He currently serves as the pastor of Elpis Christian Church, a small, historic congregation located just a few miles west of Richmond, Virginia. Elpis is the Greek word meaning “expectant hope.” He also serves on the associate clinical staff of the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care, Richmond, Virginia, both as a pastoral counselor and a ministerial assessment specialist, specializing in executive, clergy and relationship coaching. He is a graduate of the University of Florida and Lexington Theological Seminary and has done advanced clinical training in chaplaincy and pastoral counseling at the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky, Children’s Medical Center and Parkland Hospital in Dallas, Texas and the Virginia Institute of Pastoral Care in Richmond, Virginia. He is a Certified Pastoral Counselor, an ACPE Practitioner, and a member of the American Association of Christian Counselors. He is a Certified Facilitator of the Prepare-Enrich relationship assessment and skills-building program and served as a volunteer chaplain for over twenty years with the CJW Medical Center campuses in Richmond, Virginia. His avocational interests include playing the piano and drawing. He is very happily married to his wife Elizabeth Yeamans Simrell, a free-lance writer, who is also a Certified Facilitator for the Prepare-Enrich program. Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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