Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Questions

I've been reading Numbers so far this year, and...well, it's no picnic. Now, action it does have, but in a strange way. It bounces back and forth between narrative and rules. (I'm thankful for the narrative, if you're wondering.)

If I'm completely honest, I have to admit that this is NOT a fun read. And I had mornings where it seriously messed with my mind. One morning as my husband and I sat reading at the table, he presented some questions he had with Genesis (some very legitimate questions), and they just collided with my confusion about sin sacrifices for a husband who has the tiniest inkling of a suspicion that his wife has been unfaithful and therefore may bring her before the priest and make her drink dirt water and if her womb swells and her thigh falls away, then she will be a curse. So what if she really didn't do anything? Well, no harm no foul, I guess. Sheesh.

Anyway, back to the kitchen table. After reading this sentimental section on marriage and then hearing my husband's questions about Abraham and Sarah and contemplating what his real purpose was in lying about her being his sister, well...I exploded. I was crying angry tears at that point. I felt like I suddenly had no idea who the God I had spent a good amount of time loving was. At that instant, I found it hard to believe that He really loved me. Was He really the God of love? And if so, what's with all this? I, being a woman, couldn't comprehend how He could love me so much, yet care so little about the women in the OT. My husband felt awful, I could tell, and he said I'm just hormonally challenged right now and should just stop for a while. So I did.

I wrestled with my thoughts for days. It dissipated some, but remained at the base of my thoughts for over a week. I watched myself harden slightly toward scripture and even toward other people. It wasn't that I thought the whole thing is a joke now...but it somehow felt different to me.

Well, this Sunday morning my husband and I were back at the table reading again together--he in Genesis and I in Numbers. And of course, the questions refueled themselves and resurfaced.

I felt the tears emerging again, and this time I just silently asked God for help. I asked Him why it was so confusing, why I just wasn't getting it, how He could be so loving to me in 2010 yet so harsh and vengeful in the OT.

I waited.

Slowly, something came in view, something really big. The rules and laws as well as God opening up the ground to swallow whole families as justice over their sin flashed before me. It was brutal to even imagine having to follow the law to the letter. And then, I thought of Jesus. With this one picture, I know God answered my question, calmed my fears, and sorted out my confusion.

See, the seriousness of sin and the penalty for it have not changed. Not at all. Sin is still evil and cannot reside with God. And the sacrifice for that sin is still necessary.

But it's no longer mine to bear.

The gravity of Jesus' sacrifice fell hard on me in those moments. I'm sure I've realized this before, but it had been a long time, and I think I had just grown cold toward it--taking it for granted. I've never known anything other than the new covenant. I never had to live in the law.

Suddenly, Jesus carrying that cross and being brutally murdered meant tremendously more than I'd realized before. Because He bled for me, I can be personal, real, honest with Him all day long. Although I know perfectly well that He could at any moment swallow me up into the earth, I don't live in fear that He will. Because of the cross.

I think that season of questioning was good for me. I wrestled a lot with who God is and where I stood with Him. I knew I had accepted Jesus' sacrifice for my sins and therefore was a Christ follower, but I needed that face-down time of investigating and asking questions.

Because the answer I eventually got has changed me.


Peace of Christ to you,

2 comments:

  1. Isn't it wonderful that we can be real and honest with Him in spite of our sin? I'm learning that, although I don't understand Him and I never will, that His love for us is so far-reaching. :) I love your hunger for His word. :)

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  2. THAT from studying Numbers. God is good. And how his mercies are new every morning.

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