Sunday, July 24, 2011

The God of Answers

All of my life, I have had a questioning mind. I suppose that this comes from a combination of genetics (my father is King of disbelief... just give him any legitimate, verifiable statistic and he'll still find a way to make you feel dumb for believing it!) and environment (see above)

I have always seen this as a strength of mine.  I am not easily swayed by others' opinions, I am a constant fact checker, I really want to learn "why" things are the way they are.  But I'm learning that there is a down side to this also. 

In my faith life, it means I am constantly questioning God.  I am always asking why things are the way they are, why the commandments are laid out the way they are, why he chooses to answer one thing and chooses not to answer another. When I first became a Christian, I obsessively researched apparent discrepencies in the bible... I thought if I could prove that some of the bible was untrue, what would the point be of living according to It? Now that I have come to the conclusion that it is in fact The Truth, you'd think I'd learn to trust a little more, and question a little less.

With our kids it's a little easier to see how it should work, or how God might sometimes wish it worked.  When we tell our children to obey us, we want them to listen to us because they trust us to be doing the very thing that is best for them. We give them rules and limits to protect them, teach them, to grow them, to show them we love them.  Not to steal an idea from Matthew (yes,  I mean THE Matthew)... but if we, who are evil, know how to set limits for our children, how much more does God love us, and know what is best for us? 

When my kids ask me "why" after I tell them to do something, I have to tell you... it doesn't bode well for them.  I usually get frustrated, sometimes I squeek out an appropriate answer, but generally it goes something like this... "because I said so"

But, God loves me and is so much more patient with me than I am with my own children.  He doesn't get mad at me, He hasn't given up on me. He doesn't slap me on the backside of my head and ask me how many times he's already answered this question, though certainly there are times I deserve it.

As I read through Genesis 14 & 15 this week, I realized that Abraham was often the same way! God tells Abraham he's going to have children, and though we all remember the part in the New Testament where Abraham believes God and it's credited to him as righteousness, I think we forget the original part where he says to God... "What, How?"  But, God is faithful, and answers him.  Then, right after that, God tells him that he will inherit all of the land he sees in front of him.  Does Abraham say "cool!"    um, no.  He doesn't.  In fact, he says... "What?  How will that happen?!"  And God is SO faithful.  He answers him again.  He actually tells Abraham how it's going to go down.  He doesn't say "because I said so"  though He certainly could have!

I am not advocating questioning God.  I am not saying it's better to wonder "how" or "why" then to just believe, but I have learned this week that when I pour my heart out to God, and come to Him seeking an answer with a genuine heart, He will always be faithful.

This week I am REALLY going to work on this with my own children.  I do want them to obey me. I do want them to trust me and know that I want what's best for them.  But, I always want to be graceful and deal with their heart.  I am discerning enough to know the difference when they are questioning me defiantly vs genuinly wondering why and seeking an aswer.  I am so grateful that my father in heaven can do the same.

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