I recently read "Charlotte's Web" to my daughter, and the following passage stuck out to me. Fern is the little girl who took care of Wilbur, the pig. This is from a scene in Chapter 14 when Fern's mother, Mrs. Arable, is talking to Dr. Dorian because she is concerned that her daughter believes the animals are talking.
"I've been hearing things about that pig," said Dr. Dorian, opening his eyes. "They say he's quite a pig."
"Have you heard about the words that appeared in the spider's web?" asked Mrs. Arable nervously.
"Yes," replied the doctor.
"Well, do you understand it?" asked Mrs. Arable.
"Do you understand how there could be any writing in a spider's web?"
"Oh, no," said Dr. Dorian. "I don't understand it. But for that matter I don't understand how a spider learned to spin a web in the first place. When the words appeared, everyone said they were a miracle. But nobody pointed out that the web itself is a miracle."
"What's miraculous about a spider's web?" said Mrs. Arable. "I don't see why you say a web is a miracle-it's just a web."
"Ever try to spin one?" asked Dr. Dorian.
Mrs. Arable shifted uneasily in her chair. "No," she replied. "But I can crochet a doily and I can knit a sock."
"Sure," said the doctor. "But somebody taught you, didn't they?"
"My mother taught me."
"Well, who taught a spider? A young spider knows how to spin a web without any instructions from anybody. Don't you regard that as a miracle?"
"I suppose so," said Mrs. Arable. "I never looked at it that way before. Still, I don't understand it, and I don't like what I can't understand."
"None of us do," said Dr. Dorian, sighing. "I'm a doctor. Doctors are supposed to understand everything. But I don't understand everything, and I don't intend to let it worry me."
Mrs. Arable fidgeted. "Fern says the animals talk to each other. Dr. Dorian, do you believe animals talk?"
"I never heard one say anything," he replied. "But that proves nothing. It is quite possible that an animal has spoken civilly to me and that I didn't catch the remark because I wasn't paying attention. Children pay better attention than grownups. If Fern says that the animals in Zuckerman's barn talk, I'm quite ready to believe her. Perhaps if people talked less, animals would talk more. People are incessant talkers-I can give you my word on that."
There are two points this passage brought to my mind:
(1) Miracles can be seen all around us, just like an ordinary spider's web. As Paul wrote, "since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities - his eternal power and divine nature - have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." (Romans 1:20) Human nature is to take things for granted that we are accustomed to. When we see something day in and day out, we lose sight of just how miraculous the entire universe really is. In a class I taught recently I asked everyone if they wanted to see a miracle. I promised I could show them one right then and there. When they said they wanted to see one I walked over to the window, pulled up the blinds and pointed outside. Look out the window. There's a miracle! Just because something is part of our everyday experience does not make it any less miraculous when you consider how incredibly unlikely it all is to exist at all. I apologize for not being able to remember who said this (I want to say it was C.S. Lewis, but don't quote me on that), but a slow miracle is no less miraculous than a quick one. Regardless of how long you believe it took for the universe as we know it to be created, the fact that it exists at all is still a mind-boggling miracle.
(2) Mankind has a somewhat egotistical desire to feel like we know (or are capable of knowing) everything. Probably one of our biggest failings is our inability to see our own shortcomings. We don't understand everything. But like Dr. Dorian, we have to realize that we don't know everything and not let it bother us. God is infinite. There is no end to any of His qualities. Man is finite. It is impossible for us to fully understand all there is to know about God. Unfortunately, too many people refuse to accept God (or else they redefine Him and make Him finite) because since they cannot fully comprehend an infinite God, they decide that His existence cannot be proven. In fact, if God is infinite, it is perfectly logical that we should not be able to understand everything about Him. The moment we think we have fully understood Him, we would have proven that He was NOT infinite. Job demanded that God tell him why he was suffering. When God replied to Job, he pointed out just how much Job did not understand, but took for granted and accepted anyway. But for some reason, even though so much of God can be understood, we are still not willing to take for granted and accept those things we cannot understand, just like Job did not understand why he was suffering.
"Then the LORD answered Job out of the storm. He said:
'Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge?
Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me.
Where were you when I laid the earth's foundation? Tell me, if you understand.
Who marked off its dimensions? Surely you know!
Have you comprehended the vast expanses of the earth? Tell me, if you know all this.
What is the way to the abode of light? And where does darkness reside?
Can you take them to their places? Do you know the paths to their dwellings?
Surely you know, for you were already born! You have lived so many years!'"
(Job 38:1-3, 18-21)
Job repented and acknowledged that God gives us more than enough information to justify faith in Him. But sometimes there are questions we will face in this world to which we won't get an answer. We just have to trust Him. After all, He knows far more than we do, and we're in good hands.