Family photo 2013

Family photo 2013

Monday, July 07, 2014

I love Jesus. But what about God?

It's my children's fault.

When I began their elementary educational career, like a good Christian homeschooling wheat grinding woman who was convinced denim overall jumpers weren't just for toddlers anymore, I read the Bible to my wide eyed loyal subjects. Less than bedazzled by their previous memorize-verses-out-of-context Awana experience, I figured we should read it as it stands. The whole shebang. Beginning to end. Year after year. Not just bits and pieces and sections here and there to prove a pastor's premeditated point, but all of it.

Far more fascinating than I gave it credit for being, I found the Bible a hum dinger of an emotional roller coaster. I met God in places I never imagined seeing The Almighty Him. Lord, is that you? Stoning Achan's entire family for a crime it seems only he committed thousands of years before it became legal in the state of Colorado?

There were so many examples throughout the Old Testament that were startling to my perception that God is love, God is light, God is mercy and God is compassion and God is grace. Some people paid so dearly for the slightest sins or even for the transgressions of others, while others tended to get away with far greater offences. To me, there didn't seem to be any clear cut, predictable rhyme or reason for why God behaved situation by situation as he did. It looked like He just did. 

The Egyptions kept me up at night. As in, literally awake, trying to figure it out, wishing I could better understand.

My mental gymnastics went something like this:

If it was Pharaoh alone Moses besought to free the Israelites from bondage, and it was Pharaoh's decision to make, and God ultimately hardened Pharaoh's heart anyway, why were all the Egyptians made to suffer when the angel of death came to their doors on that woeful Passover night?

What if some of them were basically kind hearted, decent, good people, trying to live their lives and wishing their leader would simply relent?

Was it really necessary for all their firstborns to die?

But wait, Tisha the Bible says no one is really a good person, right? We are all born dead in trespass and sin, right? 

By that logic, those Egyptians couldn't have been that good anyway.

But by the same token, the Israelites couldn't have been that good either!

They certainly showed that during their wilderness wandering years.

Why were their babes spared?

I guess it's good to be God's chosen people.

And what about me?

I'm really bad.

But wait, is it my fault? Or Eve's.

Or maybe Adam's.

He ate the fruit too.

I hope I don't ever lead my husband down a path that ruins everything for all humankind.

Poor Eve.

She had a lot of weight on her shoulders, eh?

Remember when Herod killed all the baby boys how cruel it seemed?

God did the same thing though. 

Then, when the red sea folded in on the Egyptian soldiers, many of those mamas who had just lost children undoubtedly lost husbands and sons.

What a rough day for them.

On my meanest PMS, I-gave-up-sugar-and-caffeine-which-includes-chocolate-all-at-once-day I couldn't imagine being able to do something like that.

I must be nicer than God.

Wait a sec, that's impossible.

I'm not even that nice.

But still.

I couldn't kill a bunch of people.
Most definitely not a bunch of kids. 

God's ways are not my ways and His thoughts are not my thoughts.

You can say that again.

Love you, Lord.

Would you mind giving my husband a raise? I'd like to take the fam to Disneyland and praise you for my magnanimous blessings while I shake Cinderella's hand.....

Even now, I hear so many people say, "I just want to follow Jesus." And I'm in the same boat. I too want to follow Jesus. He is cool and radical and interesting and counter cultural and pretty bad ass.

But I also want to love God.

I really do.

For who He is.

With eyes wide open to His complex, multifaceted, perhaps beyond comprehension, widely variegated reality.

And a full awareness that I'm not going to be able to figure Him all the way out and there's no way I want to downplay Him into tidy apologetics driven sound bites that make Him easier to digest so He won't scare people away.

He's pretty bad ass too.


I've always been drawn to Him. 

I'm just glad I'm not an Egyptian.

Waiting for the fireworks. I suppose these are our I'm glad we're not Egyptians faces??? 
Who knows...


Kim Geiger said...

Excellent! I love when our intellectual laziness is challenged like this!

When I've taught on Biblical Hermeneutics (a fancy way of saying Principles of Interpretation) in YWAM over the years, one of my main challenges to the students is to think. So many in the church don't think about these things. The problem is if we try to "ignore" these hard questions, they still nag us and undermine our understanding of God's love and His heart for us as individuals.

Seems to me there are there are 4 options of ways to deal with these difficulties:

1. Continue to just ignore the difficulties and only attempt to think about the "nice" scriptures.
2. The Bible is not all true. Many of the stories are legends and don't contain real history or truth about God. Many have started down this dangerous path. Some that I know of who have gone this way ended up believing nothing of the Bible.
3. God's "good" is different than our "good". While there might be some truth to this, in the sense that God's definition of "good" goes beyond ours, it can't be wholly other than ours. C.S. Lewis had some good things to say about this notion, but I can't find the quotes right now.
4. Determine that, no matter the appearance, God always has a good, logical and loving reason for everything He does and seek for understanding of those reasons. I've found that, often, God gives enlightenment. Sometimes He doesn't, but I've found and believe God wants us to understand and loves our honest questions.

Keep questioning and challenging us all to do so.

Holly said...

oh mind does this ALL THE TIME!

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