I have heard it said that second most important Christian confession (following “Jesus is Lord”) goes something like this: “You are God, and I am not.” These are humble words spoken from creature to Creator, and we can readily affirm that such humility is appropriate before all-powerful God. Yet, such a humility doesn’t always come naturally to us. This is perhaps especially true in the United States, where personal fulfillment and personal expression are highly prized. In such an environment, we can easily assume that the world revolves around us. When we think like that, we start thinking and acting like little gods. A major part of discipleship is placing God at the center of our worlds rather than reserving that place for ourselves. When we put God in his rightful place, we bow humbly before his will and instruction.
As Paul closes out Romans 9-11, he ultimately ends in a place of creaturely humility. “Who has known the mind of the Lord?” he asks. “Who has ever given to God that God should repay them?” In these words we find Paul affirming God’s majesty. God, Paul seems to say, is beyond our feeble attempts to understand him and is fully sufficient in himself. Then, Paul makes the ultimate move of humility. In 11:36, he utters these words:
For from him and through him and for him are all things.
To him be the glory forever! Amen.
Notice the sentiment here. Not only is God beyond his creation (as in the previous verses). Now, God is the source, purpose, and end of creation. To put that differently, God is at the center. He is God, and we are not.
Thankfully, God hasn’t left himself completely inscrutable. No, he has shown himself in Jesus, and the unsearchable riches of his wisdom move in the direction of mercy. Yes, there are certain questions and life circumstances that will cause us to doubt God. In these moments, we must remember that we only see in part. And, we need to hold onto what we do know about God. He is indeed inscrutable in some instances, but the cross is where has revealed himself. When we come to moments where we must humbly trust in God, we can remember that he is for us.
Somehow, in his great wisdom and majesty, God, from whom and for whom and to whom is all things, has made a place for his people. Praise him for his grace! Even when we must bow before him in the trust of uncertainty.