Tuesday, August 13, 2019

The Beauty of Unknowing

It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come to our real work,
and that when we no longer know which way to go
we have come to our real journey.
The mind that is not baffled is not employed.
The impeded stream is the one that sings.

“Our Real Work” by Wendell Berry

I stumbled upon this poem for the first time a few weeks ago. It speaks to me, and I’m not entirely sure why. I think I’ve come to know the true blessing of not-knowing. I think I’ve come to peace with the fact that we cannot know everything; or control everything; or have all of life dialed in. And in this unknowing, there’s true wisdom, guidance, and direction to be found.

(And especially when it comes to God, I find it strange that we think we can completely understand, and perfectly communicate our theology about, the One who created all this from nothing and holds all of life in the palm of His hand.)

We don’t know everything…and never will. We don’t always have a deep sense of our mission and purpose. We don’t always know which way our steps should lead. So, the sooner we can admit that, the sooner we can get on with the real work in store for us.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart
    and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways submit to him,
    and he will make your paths straight.

Proverbs 3:5-6

When we come to the end of our knowing, we find ourselves trusting in the true source of all knowing. When we humble ourselves and admit our limitations, we can finally rest in the arms of the Unlimited One.

So, may we be okay with our restraints. May we simply acknowledge our lack, trust in God’s provision, search for God’s knowledge and wisdom, and be humbly guided into God’s work and will for our lives.

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