Every generation considers itself sharper than the one before. Since I see 3 generations coming behind me, I assume I’m “getting it” less and less. There’s one area where that’s indisputably true: the World Wide Web.
Recently three of my boys tried to explain to Mary and me what happens when someone researches a topic through Google. The two of us had initiated the discussion with questions about how the impossible occurs each time we Google anything. Literally millions of sites jump to the screen in seconds, and we wanted to know how.
The boys began describing the technical reasons behind this phenomenon, explaining why it wasn’t “the impossible” but was quite understandable. We asked question after question, but their answers were beyond our grasp. No matter how they tried to simplify it, we still couldn’t get it.
Mary said, “But who typed in all that information? Somewhere, at some time, someone had to put all those facts on the web.” The boys threw back their heads and laughed with gusto while Mary and I looked at each other’s blank faces and thought, “What’s funny about that?”
It was as if our two groups were talking different topics. Maybe we were. Adam patiently described the spiders that crawl around the web collecting data in a category requested through Google, completing their task in milliseconds, another nonsensical concept.
“Spiders?” we said. Mary and I are fully acquainted with real spiders in the real world, but these imaginary ones didn’t compute. But then, because the information they collect is real, they must somehow be real, too. It was mindboggling, and I’m fairly sure smoke began seeping from our ears at that point.
The root problem is that Mary and I think differently than the generation beneath us. It’s like pointing to a tree and asking what kind it is. One group might say, “A tree with red leaves,” the other, “Deciduous.”
I thought of the parallel between generational confusion and the confusion we sometimes feel in trying to understand God. In our bewilderment we ask him questions and he uses his Word to answer, but more often than not, we still don’t get it.
Sometimes we’re incapable of figuring it out, sometimes just off topic. We might be asking, “Lord, which retirement center should I choose?” while he’s answering, “My grace is sufficient for you.”
Much like Mary and me peppering the boys with sidebar questions, all of us are guilty of asking God the wrong questions, too, focusing on our expected answers rather than trying to understand his new ones. When God says something that seems off topic to us, we just repeat our question.
God does offer one answer, though, that answers every question, in every situation, both those we understand and those that confuse us:
“Just trust me.”
And because he’s God, we get that, no matter what generation we’re from.
“What they trust in is fragile; what they rely on is a spider’s web.” (Job 8:14)