Live in compassionate incompleteness

Haitian woman trapped in rubble

Trust in the LORD with all your heart,
and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make straight your paths. (Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV)

I have been turning Proverbs 3:5-6 over in my mind this week and considering the situation in Haiti, concluding that in this life we must live with incompleteness. Deuteronomy 29:29 shows that we not only have limited capacity for knowledge, but also God has chosen to reveal only certain knowledge to us.

The secret things belong to the LORD our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law. (Deuteronomy 29:29 ESV)

We desire to know all, to probe the deep wisdom and knowledge of God (Romans 11:33-34) thinking that by complete knowledge we will be masters of life (see Genesis 3:6 and Genesis 11:4). While we ask why God caused the earthquake and demand an explanation for why relief is not provided faster, this is really a reaction out of our sinful nature.

There are different ways of questioning God, one is effectively saying, “See if God is love, or even exists at all, this would not have happened.” But God is not obliged to provide answers regardless of what tantrums the godless throw. Others groan with compassion, “O God, why must the poor suffer even more?” This is not unlike the cries of the prophets and psalmists.

Can we live in compassionate incompleteness?