There are two primary understandings that we have about God. The first is everything we need to know about Him; in the terms of my religious heritage, we call these things the "essentials." These are the things that we need to know in order to love Him and to know we are loved by Him. These are the things about His heart, His personality, His goodness that simply are and are never going to change. These are the foundations of everything that we know as "faith."
The second category is all the little stuff that makes love worth living. These are the things that are harder to describe, but just when you thought you couldn't love Him more (or He couldn't love you more), here these things are. Just when you think you've got a grasp on His goodness, there's this. These are the things that just blow your mind and expand your vision and swell your heart and fill out your faith to more of its fullness than you ever thought possible.
It's the same thing as what happens when you've known someone for a very long time and you know you'll be friends forever and you're very certain you know everything there is to know about this person and then, suddenly, something comes up that has never come up before in the course of your relationship and that person says just a few words - "Oh, that" - and you realize you love them all over again; you love them more.
There's a tension for us between these two kinds of knowing. On one hand, everything we need to know about God is sufficient. Each of us reaches a point in our faith journey where we suddenly know, instinctively, that if we never learned another thing about God from here on out, what we know right now would be enough. We will love Him forever.
At the same time, there's something in our soul that thrives on the second kind of knowing. On that falling in love all over again. When we have that moment of deeper knowledge, of greater knowing, of fuller revelation, our soul just drinks it up and we want that moment again. We want it again and again and again. There's a certain thrill not just in knowing that God is greater than we ever imagined, but in encountering His greater-ness bit by bit by bit.
And so, we go from a knowledge that is perfectly enough to one that we can't get enough of.
And we have to confess that we know that the moments of this second kind of knowing do not come as often as we wish that they would. The more we come to thrive on them, the more seldom they seem to come. We start almost expecting them, and then, they are gone, and we are left knowing only what we know, and it must become for us again the first kind of knowledge - enough.
At any given point in time, we must live in a place where what we have is enough and we leave our souls open to craving more. Where we are both okay if we never know a single bit more than we know right now and where we are able to learn something new when the blessed opportunity arises.
It sounds simple, right? Complicated, but something we're willing to live with. A tension we're willing to live in. A tension we've become gifted at living in.
But there are all kinds of ways to mess this up. And we're good at that, too.
We'll start looking at some of that tomorrow, starting with Job's friends.