The obedience of faith only works when it’s rooted in a person, not a rule. Imposed on its own, a rule invites us to sit in judgement, weighing its reasonableness. But a rule flowing from relationship smoothes the way for faithful obedience. When a child doesn’t understand her mother’s command, the mother’s character plays a strong role in what happens next. A cruel, capricious mother is likely to meet resistance. But an affectionate, nurturing mother inspires trust, because you know she’s on your side, profoundly.
In one of Scripture’s most dramatic tests of trust, God told Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac. If Abraham had considered this command in isolation, surely he would not have obeyed. Abraham, however, was a friend of God. When tested, he did not hesitate, because he knew God’s character.
Rachel Gilson, ChristianityToday.com
If God actually provided an explanation of all the reasons why he allows things to happen as they do, it would be too much for our finite brains. Think of little children and their relationship to their parents. Three-year-olds cannot understand most of why their parents allow and disallow what they do. But though they aren’t capable of comprehending their parents’ reasons, they are capable of knowing their parents’ love and therefore are capable of trusting them and living securely. That is what they really need. Now, the difference between God and human beings is infinitely greater than the difference between a thirty-year-old parent and a three-year-old child. So we should not expect to be able to grasp all God’s purposes, but through the cross and gospel of Jesus Christ, we can know his love. And that is what we need most.
In Ann Voskamp’s book One Thousand Gifts, she shares her journey to understand the senseless death of her sister, crushed by a truck at the age of two. In the end, she concludes that the primary issue is whether we trust God’s character. Is he really loving? Is he really just? Her conclusion:
[God] gave us Jesus…If God didn’t withhold from us His very own Son, will God withhold anything we need? If trust must be earned, hasn’t God unequivocally earned our trust with the bark on the raw wounds, the throne pressed into the brow, your name on the cracked lips? How will he not also graciously give us all things He deems best and right? He’s already given us the incomprehensible.
Timothy Keller, “Walking with God through Pain and Suffering”, pg. 121-122
What I’m thinking:
Do I trust God’s character? Will I obey Him even when I don’t understand? Will I trust Him in the midst of suffering?
Truth I’m clinging to:
He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? Romans 8:32 ESV