The contemplative spiritual journey is a journey into the unknown. The more I know God the more I realize how much I don’t know about God. This can be frightening and frustrating, or we can allow it to fill us with wonder and awe. The mystics refer to this as The Cloud of Unknowing. We are all called, like Abraham, into this unknown and it is there in this cloud of unknowing that we experience God in pure spiritual faith.
Yet few of us want to step into the unknown. In fact, in my experience, “knowing” is one of the pillars of the western evangelical Christian tradition. We are taught that we can know God, know our destiny, know the Bible, know how to pray, know right from wrong, know God’s will in everything. We know so much there’s no room to wonder, doubt, question or debate.
The danger is that with all this knowing we forget that God is bigger than our imaginations permit us to believe. He’s bigger even than the Bible. He can’t be carried around in our pockets, or summed up in a meme. His ways are not our ways. NO eye has seen. NO ear has heard.
But we forget and our God becomes small. He becomes comfortable instead of the Comforter. He becomes helpful instead of our Helper. He becomes reassuring instead of our Blessed Assurance. He becomes a theology we can master instead of our Master. But we don’t need a god we can carry. We need a God who can carry us.
Some people may be tempted to think that this “unknowing” is really just a result of the fall. That we live behind this veil because of sin and through Christ we can now know all things. Yet I disagree.
From what tree did God forbid Adam and Eve to eat? The Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. We often focus on the “good and evil” part, but what about the “knowledge” part? What if God’s desire was always to protect us from the burden of a knowledge that was to great for us to carry. And what if now, today, He’s calling us back into the cloud of unknowing? Not because He doesn’t want us to know Him – oh, He wants us to know Him! But because He wants to free us from our lust for knowledge, our lust for power and control, our lust to be little gods of our own.
In the cloud of unknowing we humbly surrender our limited selves to the One who knows all, to the One who knows us. And even though we know we will never be God, we will never know everything, we find rest in letting go and letting God be God.
Now, more than ever, may we let go, and let God be God.
©️Nichole Q Perreault