07 April 2014

Feeling entitled to the truth

"Do you want answers?"
"I think I'm entitled."
"Do you want answers?!?"
"I want the truth!"

So goes one of the best known interactions in movie history. Jack Nicholson and Tom Cruise in an epic court room battle. Sometimes--perhaps even often--I find that I think like Tom Cruise. I think I'm entitled.

This morning, I was reading 1 Chronicles 13, which describes the story of Uzzah and the ark. The Ark of the Covenant was being moved and at one point, the oxen stumbled, and Uzzah put out his hand to "take hold of the ark." Verse 10 reads, "and the anger of the Lord was kindled against Uzzah, and he struck him down because he put out his hand to the ark, and he died there before God." Every time I read that verse, my immediate thought is, "What?!? Are you kidding me?" How could God be angry with Uzzah for what seems to be an innocent, even benevolent, action to save the ark? As I picture a gracious, all loving God, I cannot fathom why He would strike Uzzah dead.

It seems David felt the same way. David, the man after God's own heart. In verse 11 it says that David was angry because "the Lord had broken out against Uzzah" and in verse 12, it says that David was "afraid of God that day."  I completely understand David's responses. Interestingly, if we follow the story to the end, David left the ark with Obed-edom for 3 months and the Lord blessed all that Obed-edom had. How does that fit into the story?

Even now, I am sitting here trying to wrap my mind around what was happening. In my limited understanding, I am trying to make sense.  I confess that I don't get it. How often, do I try to make sense of things that make no sense? How often do I question God's goodness when I see "bad things happen to good people" (a phrase I do not actually believe to be true). A hard working father of 5 gets cancer and dies prematurely. A corporation that loves their employees and treats them very well gets punished for not falling in line with federal mandates. A brother and sister suffer in Haiti while their adoptive parents eagerly await their arrival, asking God "when?"

I don't get it it.  I really don't.  I want answers. I believe I am entitled to the truth. Too often, I don't like the mystery. It's uncomfortable. God, help me to live in the mystery. Help me to delight in You when things don't make sense and to trust that You, O Lord, know what you are doing. Teach me to trust that you are infinitely knowledgeable, infinitely powerful, and infinitely good and that I am none of those things.

Where were you when I laid the foundations of the earth?
Tell me if you have understanding?-Job 38:4

No comments: