That would certainly make things simpler in life, wouldn’t it? Like if there was a blank page at the back of every Bible, and every morning you woke up and there was a personal, hand-tailored message for you from God. Telling you where to eat lunch. Letting you know how to get another job and when it’s going to happen. Informing you of the right choice to make about your relationship.
But it doesn’t work that way. At least not for me. At times, it feels like we are stumbling through the dark, groping along with our hands outstretched in front of us to keep us from bumping into something.
I suppose you could take this as evidence of the absence of God – of His distance. That He is aloof. That the details of life don’t matter that much to Him.
Or you could recognize that this apparent absence is actually evidence of the exact opposite.
Often, the Bible has been called an instruction manual for life. That’s not true. Nowhere in the Bible did I find instructions that I was to marry Jana. That we were to have children and what we should name them. That I should take a job at Lifeway or that we should move to Nashville.
If this is an instruction manual for life, it’s a bit like trying to put together a model airplane using the picture on the box. Sure, you can glean some broad details, but what about how the tiny engine blocks fits inside the frame? Or how the steering apparatus is put together? It’s those little details that are missing.
Thing is, the Bible isn’t an instruction manual for life, and because it’s not, we see that God is not absent from those small details. The Bible is the means by which we might know God in Christ, not primarily the means by which we might figure out the details of our own lives. God is the main character of the Bible; not me. And not you.
One of the characteristics revealed in the pages of Scripture is God’s desire for intimacy with His people. And perhaps that’s exactly the reason why you don’t find blank pages waiting to be filled in on a daily basis. If that were the case, then where would our relationship with God be? We would reduce Him to a cosmic slot machine who spits out answers when we pull the lever.
And you don’t love a slot machine. You USE a slot machine.
Maybe the reason God doesn’t always just tell us what to do in the details is because in this, He’s doing what He does in so many other areas of life: developing intimacy with us. He’s forcing us to talk and listen. To even argue sometimes. But to know Him rather than just His plan.
That, after all, is what eternal life is about: knowing God. Not knowing the answers.