I’ll tell you what.
The word, aside from being a question all its own, also implies fact. Substance. What is it? The “what” is what it is. It takes the form of at least half-a-dozen parts of speech as well. A very versatile and important concept contained within only four letters. What is “what”? That’s what we’d like to know.
“Call unto me, and I will answer thee, and shew thee great and mighty things, which thou knowest not.” (Jeremiah 33:3)
We are born into this world with questions galore. And if we’re doing it right, we retain our questioning capacity and capability as we grow and age. Whenever we lose or forget or neglect the “whats” or the “whens” or the “whys” then we begin to lose our childlikeness. And of course this swings both ways. Paul said that when he “became a man”, that he “put away childish things.” (1 Corinthians 13:11) He’s advocating growing up and laying aside the things of childish naivete. There are ways that God can bless us only when we take on responsibility. That’s the way to become a man. I’d wager it’s the same for a woman. “The day you take responsibility”, my dad would say, “is the day you become a man.” It’s true. Because when you’re willing to take the blame and the fall, then (assuming you’re humble) you’ll necessarily need to look to God for help. I digress. The other way of looking at this is when we’ve “thought through” and see no viable reason to retain faith or belief in a God we can’t see with our eyes, laying the childlike humility aside, the “whats” become something we think we’ll always be able to answer on our own. If you find yourself making your own reasons–reasons other than God–then please consider the God who made you and wants to answer your questions. Your whats. There’s a danger in relying only on what we can perceive without letting in the wisdom of the Holy Spirit. It applies to everything from sound financial decisions, to choices in relationships, to something as simple as going to work the same way when God knows that you need to take a different route for reasons unknown (to you). Questions of Origin. Of compelling complexity. Of stymieing simplicity. He’ll show you what’s what. Only, that is, if we take the time to ask and wait and not jump to conclusions.
“And if any man (or woman) think that [they] know anything, [they] know nothing yet as [they] ought to know. But if any[one] love God, the same is known of Him.” (1 Corinthians 8:2-3) And when it says, “the same is known of Him” it means that those who love God are known by Him. Far greater than any quantity of knowledge we could amass. Don’t just saturate your neurons whilst neglecting the unknown quantity of the spiritual.
The first line of the above passage basically says that if we’ve stopped acknowledging God and closed our minds to His truth, then we know nothing. It must be viewed in light of the second line. Love. Love always trumps knowledge and information. The restless acquisition of knowledge in the pursuit of better lives is something that plagues modern-day humanity. The answers to life’s practical questions are found in the Bible. There may be rampant skepticism leveled at every corner of scripture, but that doesn’t make it any less true for the person who puts their faith and their actions in the God who is revealed therein. A God who in turn revealed His love for us through Jesus. And His childhood, His adulthood and His death and resurrection. His love is what’s what. His love is the answer to all of life’s important questions. So ask them, don’t be afraid. We don’t have all the answers, but we know the One who does.
In closing, I’d like to make mention of Theoretical Physicist Freeman Dyson and a dream related in his book “Disturbing the Universe”. He dreamed he was sitting in his kitchen in Princeton with his daughters. While there, an elevator came down from Heaven to take he and his girls to see God. When they arrived, the elevator let them off in the throne room and while he sought to find God to ask him the burning questions on his heart and mind, all they found, squirming on the seat of the throne, was a little baby. As he beheld the infant, he felt all of the knowledge to his question fill his heart. In his dream, he may not have found Heaven exactly as he’d expected and I’m not one to interpret someone else’s dream unbidden, but it would seem that the child was the answer to his whats.
“And this is life eternal, that they might know Thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom Thou hast sent.” (John 17:3)
That’s what. More specifcally: “Who”