Friday, February 17, 2017

When Things do not Make Sense

Why God, why? I just don't get it! - I distinctly remember crying out to God after visiting a leper colony in Shimlar, a mountain village in Northern India. The degree of suffering was so great The hovels, in which these people dragged out their existence, were so dreary. The sense of hopeless resignation was so pervasive. I tried in vain to understand its purpose.

This was the first time that I felt completely stumped - unable to comprehend. I used to think that increased faith meant fewer unanswered questions. If that were the case, I would be in real trouble! This season of my life seems riddled with question-marks. Even in reading the Bible I have "this-does-not-make-sense" struggles, like when Jesus responds to a needy Canaanite woman by saying, "It is not right to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs." (Matt. 15:26)

Dogs? Really?! To my ear this sounds derogatory and insulting. I must be careful not to misjudge God because of my lack of understanding. Perhaps Jesus is asking the Canaanite, "Do you choose to reject your own heritage, accepting the role I have assigned for your people in history. Are you willing to leave behind your old values? Will you accept my ways, even if it goes against all you were ever taught, even if it includes things that are hard to understand?"

The Canaanite woman responds by humbly accepting and desiring God's ways. May we all surrender our "whys" to God, knowing that His thoughts are higher than ours (Is. 55:9) and whose purpose is to prosper and not to harm (Jer. 29:11). Our faith is not measured by a diminishing number of unanswered questions - it becomes manifest by what we do with our questions.

Thank you Lord, that you are merciful and gracious (Ex. 34:6).  Even when things do not make sense, I choose to trust that you can do all things and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted (Job 42:2). Amen