I Kings 12:20-13:34; Acts 9:26-43; Psalm 132:1-18; Proverbs 17:6
I've been asking God a bunch of questions recently. Some friends lost their only son in a tragic car accident just about two months ago; his death came while we were celebrating Easter Sunday. Death and resurrection, all in one emotional day.
There was no folly involved in that accident, no reckless teenage driving, no drinking, no drugs. There was only an "accident" and then - death. I was angry (I am angry still) about this young man's death. Nineteen! Characterized by all who spoke at his service as kind and sweet and loving, committed to Jesus. His uncle wrote and prayed a lament, one that echoed all the pain and suffering and frustration of the Israelites' worship songs, the Psalms.
And our Old Testament reading today makes me ask some of those same questions again. Why, Lord? This prophet was doing your work, was faithful, was bold. Why punish him for the lies of another man? Why allow the encounter at all? How was he supposed to know that the old prophet was not telling a true prophecy? And then why use the lying prophet to cast judgement on him? And, oh!, the hypocrisy of the old prophet to weep over the body whose destruction he caused (I Ki. 13:30). It just seems unfair. It seems wrong. It doesn't seem like God's playing by the rules. Unjust.
Did you feel any of those emotions? Did you wonder why the Lord spared Dorcas (Acts 9:36-41) and not the prophet? Could you think of families where Proverbs 17:6 is definitely not an accurate description of the parent-child relationships?
Though I'm asking all these questions, I'm actually deeply grateful today. Our God is sturdy enough to handle my anger. He's strong enough to let me ask these questions. He's mysterious enough to work in ways I don't comprehend. He is loving enough to allow my confusion, and compassionate enough to understand my frustration. God is faithful enough to make right all these grievous wrongs. As I write, I realize that God is faithful enough to have already addressed these injustices. The day our friends' son died, we proclaimed the truth of God's triumph. I don't see all things made new yet, and my heart aches for people in such loss and sorrow. God's will is not yet done on earth as it is in heaven, and I watch folly and deception destroying lives still. But (and that is the operative word) - but! - redemption is at work. Saul's conversion and growth in Christ (Acts 9:27-30) are evidence. The funeral for this boy, such a powerfully God-honoring worship service, is evidence. Our daily decisions to live in ways that glorify God are evidence.
Lord God, I trust you. Even in the midst of pain and bewilderment, your goodness is unchanged. Thank you for your constancy and faithfulness. Bring comfort to the hurting and truth to the deceived. Amen.
- Sarah Marsh
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