(This is a second post in a series. If you haven’t read my previous post, you’ll find it here.)
As I read R. C. Sproul’s book The Holiness of God, I did get a deeper sense of the importance of God’s holiness. But somehow I knew my sense of it continued to be extremely shallow. I kept thinking, “If I could just get a fuller sense of God’s holiness, I’d most likely never sin again.”
To think of God’s holiness is so sobering and it is also so encouraging because I know it’s only God’s amazing mercy that prevents Him from striking me dead like Uzzah because every day and in so many ways, I disobey like Uzzah. I think and act out of my own fallen understanding even though I know the truth. Uzzah had been thoroughly trained and knew God’s instruction: “Don’t touch the ark under any circumstance!” And I know what God desires for me and from me. Yet, instead of being loving, I close and protect my heart. Instead of forgiving, I fuel bitterness. Instead of giving, I hoard and covet. The list goes on and on. In God’s mercy and because of my position in Christ, I can be forgiven, cleansed, and freshly empowered by the Spirit of God–instead of struck dead in my tracks.
Let’s think of Uzzah again. In his human understanding, he most likely thought the right thing to do was to “rescue” the ark from possible destruction or at the least becoming sullied by the dirt and mud of the ground. In human thinking, this was reasonable. We do not know his heart condition that may have contributed to his disobedience, but…
Did he have a bit of pride that he was one of those favored ones walking beside the ark? Certainly, there could have been many available for this job yet he was chosen. Had it gone to his head? And if he allowed the ark to fall, would it reflect upon him and diminish the pride he felt about the job he was doing?
Did he take responsibility for the safety of the ark that left out trust in God’s sovereignty? Does it seem totally foreign for us to think in terms of: “Well, if God said don’t touch the ark and God is allowing it to fall, then it must be His will to allow it to fall and it’s up to Him to take care of the consequences of it falling”?
I want to stop here with that thought and apply it to the sin of worry. I keep mulling over how worry is fueled by making assumptions about what is “good.” I can start worrying about a loved one’s unwise choices thinking that I know what is good and best for them. After all, it’s only obvious. To have Good things happen to someone means that they experience … well…. good things! It’s so obvious that it’s hard to put in other terms. If something “bad” happens to them, that’s not Good! God can’t want that for them because God wants only Good for us. Therefore, if something Bad is happening to my loved one, I feel obligated to worry or intervene because God isn’t doing His job well. I’ll make it better!
Recently, an email was sent to me and it contained an anonymous story. Or I should say the story‘s author is unknown. I’ve tried to find the author but I can’t. But it says so much, I want to include it here. If you know of its author, let me know. Consider this:
Interesting conversation with God.
Me: God, can I ask you a question?
Me: Promise you won’t get mad?
God: I promise.
Me: Why did you let so much stuff happen to me today?
God: What do you mean?
Me: Well, I woke up late.
Me: My car took forever to start.
Me: At lunch they made my sandwich wrong and I had to wait.
Me: On the way home my phone went dead just as I picked up a call.
Me: And on top of all that, when I got home I just wanted to soak my feet in my new foot massager and relax, but it wouldn’t work!!! Nothing went right today! Why did you do that?
God: Well, let me see. The Death Angel was at your bed this morning and I had to send one of the other angels to battle him for your life. I let you sleep through that.
Me: (humbled): OH…
GOD: I didn’t let your car start because there was a drunk driver on your route that would have hit you if you were on the road.
God: The person who made your first sandwich today was sick and I didn’t want you to catch what he has. I knew you couldn’t afford to miss work.
Me: (embarrassed): Ok…
God: Your phone went dead because the person who was calling was going to give false witness about what you said during that call. I didn’t even let you talk to them so that you would be covered.
Me: (softly) I see, God.
God: Oh, and that foot massager had a short that was going to throw out all of the power in your house tonight. I didn’t think you wanted to be in the dark.
Me: I’m sorry God.
God: Don’t be sorry, just learn to trust me in all things, the good and the bad.
Me: I will trust you.
God: And don’t doubt that MY plan for your day is always better than your plan.
Me: I won’t, God. And let me just tell you God, thank you for everything today.
God: You’re welcome, child. It was just another day being your God, and I love looking after my children.
That story is written in first person but apply it also to what happens to your loved one. Why is God seemingly allowing unfortunate or “bad” things happen to him or her?
Uzzah’s definition of “good” for the ark was: “the ark shouldn’t be dirty.” “Dirty” is bad. “Clean” is right. But those are assumptions that may or may not be God’s definition of “good.”
The next time you consider your own life‘s circumstances and those of your loved ones, ask yourself, “Am I assuming that I know best? Could it be that what I consider best is not God’s best?”
More next time….