Confessions: Let Him Love Finding You through Not Finding You Out
You are the highest, and you do not change, and the day that is today does not pass by in you—and yet it does pass by in you, because in you are also all these lower things… You, however, are yourself, the same one, and all things that are tomorrow and beyond, and all that are yesterday and before, you will make to be today, you have made to be today. What is it to me, if someone doesn’t understand? Let even the one who says “What is this?” have joy. Let him have joy even in saying it, and let him love finding you through not finding you out, rather than not find you by trying to find you out.— Saint Augustine, Confessions 1.10
When have found God? Is it when we have finally understood him? No, in fact, when we demand to understand him, that is when we will never find him. The reason for this is because God is an unfathomable mystery. And, if we begin our search presupposing we can fathom God then we have started our search going in the wrong direction. You will never find what you are looking for with the wrong description. Augustine states that we do not find God through understanding Him, but through putting in the work to understand him. How great is God’s mystery that in our failed attempts to understand, we find Him? Augustine says that those who are still asking questions, and those who are still searching, should have joy because it is better to find God and not understand Him than to demand to understand and not find Him.
then I saw all that God has done… Despite all their efforts to search it out, no one can discover its meaning. Even if the wise claim they know, they cannot really comprehend it. — Ecclesiastes 8:16-17
I love those who love me,
and those who seek me find me.
Lord, keep me searching, that I may find you.
Note: These are my daily reflections as I go through Saint Agustine's Confessions. Unless otherwise noted, I am using Sarah Ruden's translation of the original text, and the NIV.