There are times when we feel like we have to know. Times when not knowing seems as if it might drive us to the edge of sanity. Times when questions burn so intensely that it seems that they might consume us.
After Jacob wrestled with a heavenly being all night he had to know his name (Gen 32). After Job lost everything he had to know why he was suffering (Job 3). After the Israelites were brought out of Egypt they had to know why God was apparently going to let them die (Exodus 14). We see it again and again throughout the Old Testament.
We might wonder if New Covenant believers would be able to overcome such moments. After all, we have the Holy Spirit, and He knows everything. There are even verses that we could use to back it up. Such as this one:
But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and all of you know the truth. 1 John 2:20
However, the reality is that in the New Testament we see more of the same. After some time in his dungeon John the Baptist had to know if Jesus really was the Christ (Luke 7:18-23). After suffering from a thorn in his flesh Paul had to know why God had not healed him yet (2 Cor 12:1-10). After Peter heard that he would glorify God in his death he had to know what fate awaited his friend John (John 21:15-25).
This existential problem has haunted believers of every sort throughout human history. Whether their faith was big or small, their experiences with God grand or mundane, all of them faced moments where they felt like they had to know. God does not seem agitated by this. He does not mind when I scream at Him, I have to know! But the question is this, How does He respond?
A quick scan of biblical examples brings about interesting results. One is hard pressed to find many examples where an individual screams out to God in this type of angst and receives that for which they were asking. So, the bad news is that God is probably not going to let you know. But here is the good news. For those who are determined to wait God always shows up. And when He does, He always give something better than that for which they were asking.
Jacob did not learn the man’s name, he learned he had a new name. Job did not learn why he was suffering, he learned that God was still in control and still blessing him. The Israelites did not learn why they were traversing the wilderness, they learned that God was their provider.
We have reduced knowledge to facts, informations and propositions. We have a hard time believing that there is knowledge that really is bigger than our minds can conceive. However, the biblical concept of knowledge is much greater than logical concepts. We can see this in the Hebrew verb “to know,” yada. To yada is to know something personally, intimately, experientially. That is why yada is the word used for sex in the Hebrew bible. When the Apostle John wrote that we all know the truth, he was not referring to knowing concepts in our head. He was referring to knowing The Truth, a person in our heart.
If you feel like you have to know something today there is a pretty good chance that you are not going to get the answer that you are seeking. But don’t let that stop you from screaming the question to God. Because in the end you will receive the answer that you need. And when you do you will know the Unknown.