I had some time by myself while I was working today, so I was pondering. Specifically on yesterday’s sermon and on what I’m reading in the Word right now. As mentioned in my previous post, the sermon yesterday covered Psalm 1 and delved into what it means to flourish, to be like a tree planted by streams of water. Among other things, it means being rooted, being solidly grounded in God’s love, His Word always feeding us. But I was thinking today that I don’t really feel very rooted. Right now, the things of God are some of the most confusing things out there. Taxes? Visa applications? Psh. Understanding the nature of God? I’ll just be over here while my head spins…In the long process of reconsidering and reestablishing my beliefs, I’ve discovered a very unnerving fact: everyone is pretty good at defending their theological position. Everyone believes that their beliefs are right because they can open the Bible and show you where It Is Written. There are debates about a lot of points because there are actually two (or more) solid, scripturally supported positions that can be taken. It’s confusing. It’s messy.
Add to that that I’m reading the Old Testament right now. Numbers. Yikes. I mean you have here a God who repeatedly refers to His steadfast love which He pours out on a thousand generations, but then in the same breath confirms that the guilty won’t get away with it and He will punish them and their children and their children’s children and their children’s children’s children. Wha? Or when Moses has to talk Him down, over and over again, from destroying Israel entirely and starting over with Moses’s line. I mean, you can’t really blame God for getting upset honestly, the Israelites were a bunch of ungrateful heathens pretty much, but…how does that fit with the God of the New Testament? I know that part of it is now we have Jesus interceding for us, but he’s supposed to be the exact representation of God’s nature, not the guy holding Him back so He doesn’t start throwing punches and do something He regrets. See what I mean? Confusing. And I was like, “GOD! Could it be a BIT more simple please!?”
Then I was folding laundry this evening, and while attempting to right-side-out a pant leg, got my hand into this pocket or that pocket or out the hole in the knee fully three times before I managed to right the dang leg. And God was like, “See, even the simplest of things aren’t always straightforward.” Take shoelaces for example. Shoelaces are very simple creatures. Yet it still took me a little while as a child to master them. And even now they’re slippery little devils and still trip me up from time to time. In other words, it might all be simpler than I realize, I’m just stumbling a bit right now. Chill out, things will end up right-side-out in good time.
On the flip side, there’s also the fact that THERE IS NOTHING SIMPLE ABOUT THIS LIFE. Thank God it’s not simple! It’s complex and multifaceted and beautiful. I guess if God had wanted everything tidy He could have made us amoebas. Single cells, not much going on upstairs, pretty much going on instinct and genetics. He could have made the world bland and stationary, and then it would be much easier to govern and understand. But instead He decided to make it a place of wonder and diversity and vivid LIFE. And He made US these intricate, magnificent creatures who can reason and feel and love and grow and invent. And it’s AMAZING! And complicated. Toss free will in on top of all that, and I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that everything doesn’t make perfect sense all the time. Trying to make a set of rules to govern every outcome would be literally impossible. And I’m convinced, humans being what we are, we would manage to come up with an exception to every rule anyway. So I guess, instead of trying to figure things out, I could just be thankful that God chose interesting over manageable. That I actually have the capacity to ponder these things and wonder over them and then (hopefully) decide not to let the questions bother me too much, and get on with enjoying life. Next time you get fed up with how complicated and messy things can be, try to remember the alternative and be thankful that life is complex and limitless. 🙂