by Lindsey Funtik, Coordinator of Volunteer Ministries, Ashland First United Methodist Church, Ashland, Ohio
The other night I was in the zone. I had had a conversation with my pastor earlier that day about how, sometimes, the "go-getter" attitude that can come for a person in the morning lends itself to quiet time being best done at night. Sitting with Jesus in the early mornings is one of my favorite past times, but I find that workday dawns seem to sweep me away, so I decided to give night time devotions a try. After all, one could simply view it as getting a jump start on the next day!
Sitting at my kitchen table, feeling a lot of peace and the extremely odd stirrings of excitement to do some dishes so long as there was worship music playing in the background, I opened my Bible to 2 Kings. What should I be met with but a story about some boys taunting the Prophet Elisha which resulted in them being mauled by a couple of angry bears. Blessed be the name of the Lord.
I have since had some conversation with my pastor (he's come to the rescue a couple times recently!) about interpreting this as a story about misuse of prophetic power and how a calling does not necessarily mean one will use that calling wisely. I can get behind that, but this little bloody adventure is just the latest in a series of Old Testament passages beside which I just wrote "God is God" over and over and over. While going more in-depth in my study of the Old Testament I have learned and grown and been delighted, but I have also been so very challenged.
The truth is that some days I don't feel like saying "God is God" and leaving it at that. It feels like a pat answer which glosses over the things with which so many of us struggle. Yes, He is God. No, I am not God. But that does not make it any less difficult to wrestle with our understanding of His character and why He does what He does. If you have ever struggled with this, just know that you are not alone. The centuries are rife with person after person (including some of those found in Scripture) who have scratched their heads, fallen to their knees, and/or screamed at the sky in confusion and dissatisfaction.
On one hand, we serve a God who desires to hear our struggles and doubts so that He can walk through them beside us. He does not simply say, "Shut up and suck it up." Faith is sharpened on the whetstone of questioning and I really believe the Lord is honored in our searching. He is ultimate Truth and the Truth always proves itself, so we can ask away.
On the other hand, God really is God and God truly can do what God wants, whether we understand it or not. Not everything in Scripture will make sense this side of Paradise. We will never see all the inner workings of God’s every action and we should not expect to be entirely privy to the things of God. This is not comfortable, but it is the way it is.
These ponderings really found their way into my heart. I was thinking about all this while once again doing the dishes (this is proof that I actually do them sometimes!) when I heard Page CXVI's rendition of "'Tis So Sweet To Trust in Jesus" and I had an epiphany. The first words are:
'Tis so sweet so sweet to trust in Jesus
and to take Him at His word,
just to rest upon His promise
and to know, "Thus saith the Lord!"
Upon hearing this, I felt a peace wash over me. And then came the conviction. I was so quick to be comforted by the idea of simply trusting Jesus, but had somehow felt the opposite when thinking about trusting YHWH God, as if they were different. They're both members of the Trinitarian Godhead, Father and Son, joined by the Holy Spirit. I should just as readily be able to say "'Tis so sweet to trust in YHWH", but I never really realized how much less smoothly that rolled off my tongue.
This, my friends, is dangerous. Trusting in Jesus and trusting in the God of 2 Kings is to trust in the same Divine Being. We must never separate the two.
Over the froth of soap bubbles and a racing heart, the pieces began to come together. When we read something that troubles us, we can remember the sweetness of being able to relate to the God who took on flesh for love of us. When we find ourselves too comfortable and complacent in the presence of holiness, we can be reminded of the might and sovereignty He has and continues to display. Both aspects of God’s character shepherd us. We know Him, we have seen Him, and we can recall the multifaceted gem of the Lord’s character no matter where in life we find ourselves. To rest in all of the many beauties, both tender and magnificent, of the Divine character is to have a more robust and glorifying vision of the Lord.
God is God and God is good and God is powerful. All truth, woven tightly together. He is the Almighty and He loves us. He wants to be known and He wants to walk that journey with us.
Just remember: 'Tis so sweet to trust in GOD. God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit. Just take Him at His word and know that His promises are for our good and His glory. Amen.
Cross-Posted from Reflections on Faith, Words, and The Holiness of Today