When We Don’t Agree With God
Sometimes, I don’t agree with God. There, the cat’s out of the bag and now it can hiss and scratch and jump around and make me look like an idiot. But I doubt I’m alone.
It’s natural for us to question God, to observe what he does or what he allows and say, “Mmm, I’m not sure I would have done it that way,” or “Are you sure you know what you’re doing?”
It’s part of being human for us to read about God’s actions or decrees or intercessions in the Bible and cringe. For us to see the suffering around us and wonder why God allows it to go on. God instilled in us a sense of justice and fairness and sometimes his own actions (or perceived inaction) seem to offend those standards.
Ordering the Hebrews to kill ALL the women and children in the Promised Land? My author’s mind plays this scene out like a movie. Babies torn from their mothers’ arms and run through with a sword. Women, screaming, crying, begging for their life, or maybe begging to die after watching their daughter’s grisly slaughter. Toddlers running and hiding, watching their mommy succumb to a violent death.
God? Is this fair? How do you explain this? I’m sorry, I just can’t agree with you on this.
And then there’s Jericho. Think of all the elderly, the women, the children, who died when that city fell. We tell these stories in Sunday School and highlight the glories, the triumphant victories, but we ignore the carnage, the brutal reality of all the deaths.
I have a hard time being okay with these decisions.
I feel bad about all this. I do. I feel like my faith is weak, feeble, and even offensive to God. How dare I question him? How dare I set my own sense of rightness above his? How dare I pretend to know what is fair and just?
But at the end of the day, in spite of all my questions and cringing and wondering, I trust him. I know that his ways are above my ways, that his standard of justice and fairness is above my standards. I know that he doesn’t do what is right, no, he’s the standard . . . what he does is right. And I know that though my heart may cry out at these decisions of God’s, my head tells me he knows what he’s doing and I don’t always have to understand it. Sometimes his business is just none of mine.
Yes, there are explanations to the instances I used above, reasons God commanded the death of the Canaanites, and good reasons, mind you, but to my human (and maybe Western) sensitivities, it doesn’t take the sting out of how his will was accomplished.
Have you ever wrestled with not agreeing with God? Have you ever thought, “God, are you sure you know what you’re doing here?” If you have, rest assured that you’re not alone. You at least have me to join you.
Posted on March 11, 2013, in Christian Living, Suffering and tagged Canaan, Canaanites, Fairness, God, Israelites, Joshua, Justice. Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.
The one thing in the Bible that has always freaked me out, literally, is when Abraham goes up to the mountain to sacrifice Isaac. I was just saying the other night that I would love it if Beth Moore did a Bible Study on this because I’m sure this goes so much deeper than just a voice talking to him telling him to do this. How did he know it was God talking to him and that he wasn’t just hearing voices? If I knew for sure that it was God telling me, that would be hard enough, but what if I was wrong? I feel guilty for struggling with this, because I know that God is sovereign. Isaac belonged to God, not Abraham. The Lord giveth and the Lord taketh away.
That’s one I’ve wrestled with too, Beth. Even if Abraham knew God would raise Isaac from the dead (as Hebrews tell us), still, just the psychological impact killing your own son would have Abraham would be brutal. It would no doubt scar him for the rest of his life. But it gives us a beautiful picture of the agony the Father went through and the obedience of the Son.