The Incomprehensibility of God
When I was in Singapore recently, I picked up a new Henri Nouwen book called Turn My Mourning Into Dancing. God knew I needed this book because it contained the following comment about the ways of God. “But suffering frequently teaches us a lesson about the incomprehensibility of God. Says God through Isaiah: ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts’ (Isaiah 55:9). This is ultimately a freeing word, for it invites us not to make God conform to our desires, not to try to fix the rules. For even if we should try, we cannot get to grip on God and think. After coming back from Singapore, I received news that Hwa Chien, a good friend and a key Malaysian Christian leader, had been killed in a road accident. He was 50.
I have known Hwa Chien for almost 16 years. We had become part of a support group that covenanted to meet at least once every two months for sharing and prayer. I had rediscovered my friend, only to loose him. Humanly speaking, it made no sense whatsoever for him to be taken at this time of his life. There was a solid maturity to his marriage. He was beginning to relish his relationship with his children. He was at the forefront of many vital ministry initiatives. He was in the midst of many battles. Hardly the time to go.
But he is gone and we are thrown back to Isaiah 55:8-9. Which for some reason brings to mind 1 Corinthians 1:25. Here Paul is referring to the Cross; another divine act that defies human logic. Since we are all beneficiaries of this act of divine foolishness, it seems far more clever to trust that God has again done or allowed something ultimately good in the guise of weakness and setback. It is not easy to think like this. We are haunted by the possibility that we are merely playing mind games to console ourselves. At the very least then, we should hold back from jumping to conclusions until we see Christ face to face. Things should be much clearer then.
Till then, I will miss you, Chien. Others will miss you even more.