The Right Questions

Some conversations can change you forever.

I don’t even remember who said it though I can narrow it down to two people.
I remember ranting, crying, bemoaning my relationship with these people.
I just didn’t understand.
Maybe that’s an understatement.
She looked at me (whoever she was) and said firmly:

“God put these people in your life.  You would not be who you are today without them.”

I was silenced.

For weeks, actually.

Silenced again recently.

You see, it’s not about these people.
It’s not about the heartaches or the fights or the pain caused by thoughtless words. 

It’s bigger than that.
These questions of why, the disobediences to direct commands, they are not only seeking the wrong answers,

They are the wrong questions.

What we’re really asking is:

Do I believe that God is sovereign?
Do I believe that God is good?

When I tell my daughters not to play in the cabinet under the sink and they look at me and disobey:
they don’t understand that I know more than them and they don’t believe that in keeping them from what they want to play with I am doing them good.

Woe to me, who is old enough to understand that when God asks obedience to Him it is because he knows more than me (and controls it all!) and He wants good for me. 

And those last 6 commands they show in how I treat people how well I am answering those questions:
Do I believe God is sovereign?
Do I believe God is good?

4. Honor you father and your mother.  Because when I do not give them honor, I reject that He used these people to mold me.  I say that they were not a good gift.  I say that God made a mistake when He gave me to them.
5. You shall not murder (even in your thoughts).  Because when I devalue those whom He has made I am saying that He made something not good.  That the person is not made in His Image.
6. You shall not commit adultery (even in your thoughts).  Because when I defame the marriage bed, I am saying that His Sovereign plan of one man for one woman is wrong.
7. You shall not steal.  Because when I take something, I am saying that my God does not give me what I need and that the gifts he has given me are not good.
8. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.  Because when I gossip, I defame someone made in His good image. Because when I lie, I say that Truth is not the ruling Power.
9. You shall not covet your neighbors wife.  Because when I say that my friends’ husband is better than mine, I am saying that God didn’t know what He was doing when he knit my spouse to me.  I am saying that my spouse is not a good gift.
10. You shall not covet anything that belongs to someone else.  Because when I say that what they have is better than what has been given to me, I am actually saying the God owes me something better.  I am saying that His current plan for me is not good.

Is God sovereign?
Is God good?

Is the God who said He is first, who said not to make idols, who said to keep His name holy, and gave us a Sabbath because we are not sovereign, because we grow weary when He does not….

Is He who He says He is?
Is God Sovereign?
Is God Good?

I love this exchange in C.S. Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe because it precisely illustrates this tension:

“‘Is – is he a man?’ asked Lucy. ‘Aslan a man!’ said Mr. Beaver sternly. ‘Certainly not. I tell you he is the King of the wood and the son of the great Emperor-Beyond-the-Sea. Don’t you know who is the King of Beasts? Aslan is a lion, the Lion, the great Lion.’ ‘Ooh,’ said Susan, ‘I thought he was a man. Is he – quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.’ ‘That you will, dearie, and make no mistake,’ said Mrs. Beaver; ‘if there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.’ ‘Then he isn’t safe?’ said Lucy. ‘Safe?’ said Mr. Beaver; ‘don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the king I tell you’.”

‘Course He isn’t safe.  But He’s good.  He’s the King I tell you.

A King who tirelessly weaves the mistakes of sinful people for good, even when those mistakes cause pain.  Even when we don’t understand.

‘Course He isn’t safe.  But He’s good.

He’s the King I tell you.