Last night I watched the CNN Compassion Forum.  Senators Obama and Clinton spent the evening answering questions related to both personal faith and corporate moral responsibility.  (I find it interesting how PC it is to use the term compassion to describe matters of faith when often the least compassionate discussions in America relate to faith, but that’s another post altogether.)  It was an intriguing conversation.  The moderators certainly did not shy away from the difficult questions, and I appreciated the candor that both candidates displayed in their responses. 

I found one particular response not only admirable, but humble and profoundly simplistic.  After a question about access to generic medicines for America’s poor, John Meacham (a Christian journalist, by the way) bluntly asked Hillary Clinton, “Why do you think it is that a loving God allows innocent people to suffer?”

I mean, I felt for the woman.  I really did.  It’s not like she’s running for Chief Theologian of America.  Ask her about healthcare or the economy or who does her hair.  But please, don’t make her answer a question that has rocked human souls for the history of time. 

Clinton laughed and answered, “You know, that is the subject of generations of commentary and debate.  And I don’t know.  I can’t wait to ask Him because I have just pondered it endlessly.”

I don’t know. 

You mean, it’s okay to say that I don’t know something about God?  It’s okay for me to acknowledge that I will never come to a full understanding of the Almighty until I stand before Him?

I think it’s interesting how we always feel like we have to defend God.  We think somehow His reputation is riding on our ability to regurgitate the main points of some Josh McDowell or Lee Strobel book.  And after we have self-righteously rattled off our logic for believing in God or for believing something about God, we come to the conclusion that it is possible for us to figure out God.  We think we know Him so well. 

Don’t get me wrong.  God has revealed Himself to all creation and especially through His Word.  But “all that I know now is partial and incomplete.” (I Cor. 13:12, NLT) 

My husband is in seminary right now, and so we have lots of theological dinner conversations where he explains what he learned in class and the various arguments his fellow students made that day.  And then he always says, “But you know, there comes a point where we have to say we just don’t know.  He’s God.  He’s mystery.”

And if I think I can explain everything, why am I not in the driver’s seat?

If you can reason all things about God and life, what’s left to believe by faith? 

“Come now, let us reason together,” says the Lord.  “Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.” ( Isaiah 1:18 )

Sin.  Gone.  Totally illogical.

I have no idea why a holy God thinks that’s reasonable. 

I’m not even going to try to explain that one.