I love to sing. Not for anyone’s entertainment or because I think I am particularly good at it. It’s just something I do.
Somehow, because of my wiring, I have hundreds of songs, part or whole, rattling around in my mind at any time just waiting to be voiced. My memory, for reasons not yet known to me, has captured songs from every possible genre spanning years, everything from choir pieces to commercials.
I am pretty good at self editing, so I usually don’t burst into song at inappropriate times or with questionable lyrics. I will admit, though, to an annoying habit of picking up a portion of a tag line and repeating it over and over.
A couple of weeks ago, I was doing just that, singing “I love you and that’s all I know” from an old Art Garfunkel song. I had no idea where the line came from, its context or who had recorded it until I found it on Goggle. Before I searched for it online, I thought about “I love you and that’s all I know” in the context of those times when God does not appear to make sense.
God made it perfectly clear to the prophet Isaiah that the prophet, or anyone else, was not going to have all of the insights into the person or workings of God. He is under no obligation of being sensible to His creation. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV.
That is a wonderful and comforting portion of scripture until things happen in our world that we don’t understand; those times that make us question the fairness of God as it relates to our life. As long as God’s plan follows our playbook everything is great, but when difficult times come and they do, circumstance may rattle our trust.
Unfortunately when bad things happen, there is usually no shortage of people around to clarify the purpose and why or what is going wrong in our world. It is not out of any malice, and at times with little forethought, more often than not just bad information that has been passed along from generation to generation until it starts to sound plausible.
The problem is at times such misinformation alters the reality of who God is, which in turn leaves us with a distorted understanding of His character and ultimately a lack of trust or faith. In fact, there are times when we may be tempted to bitterness, when even the words of Paul, sent to comfort the persecuted church at Rome, sound a little hollow. “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28 KJV
It is in those times of seeming hopelessness that we can lean into the unconditional love of God and hang on and simply trust, perhaps reminding ourselves that God is able to handle our questions and even our criticism. And perhaps even let your mind and heart sing “I love you and that’s all I know.”
Upton is chaplain of the Tooele City Police Department.