Tuesday, September 28, 2010

I Always Get the Same Answer

Having spent the last five years of my life in academic Biblical studies and theology, I am tempted to bore all of you with some deep theological language and issues. I remember when I first started this academic journey I couldn’t seem to understand the meaning of a lot of terms. In my first semester and for some time beyond that, no matter how many times I saw the word ontological I would freeze in my tracks. I would run for a dictionary. I would look it up again. Now I can use the term in a complete sentence and even think to use the word. My first day in a New Testament class, the professor told us to go home and prepare a pericope outline for the book of Mark. I had no idea what he was talking about and really stressed over that assignment.

So I use big words sometimes. Sometimes I know what they mean and how to use them, other times not so much. If I were going to ask some of the big questions I have theologically, I would ask about the atonement, theodicy, the incarnation or the Trinity. In reality, I like that type of mental activity. I guess I better since I spend so much time doing it.

I think if the question were phrased, what questions would like to ask God? I think my questions would be around these deep theological questions. But that’s not the question for today. The question is what question have I asked Jesus? That’s a totally different question. Jesus is my Savior. He is my redeemer friend. He is the one who I cry out to from the deepest parts of my soul. Yeah, I know about the Trinity. Remember it was one of my deep theological questions. Nevertheless, in spite of being a theological nerd, I still see Jesus in a slightly different light. He was human (that's the incarnation part). The scripture says:

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin. Hebrews 4:15

So in the non-nerd part of me, when you talk about Jesus it’s just different.

I have asked Jesus why it is that I am in South Dakota. I don’t like it here. I don’t understand why or what purpose He had in having me come here. It just seems wrong, totally wrong for me. Yet, here I am.

I have asked Jesus why He called me and now I sit. Why did He gift me in preaching and teaching and give me precious few opportunities to use my gifts? These questions are followed with internal scrutiny of things I may have done wrong. Of course, I have done things wrong at times but that never seems to be the answer. If it were, I could fix it. I could repent. I could change. I keep asking.

I have asked God why my precious granddaughter had to die and why my children often make poor choices. (Here is the story of the granddaughter’s death.) I ask Him why we experience pain and troubles (that’s the theodicy part).

My biggest question right now is, why do you never give me a choice between two good things? Why do I always have to chose between two choices that are both bad? I am facing some decisions right now. Neither choice is good.

Jesus has never really given me any good answers to these questions. Jesus is sometimes difficult like that. Most of the time, He is just silent. When He does answer, He says:

 Joyce, just trust Me.


David said...

Wow - it is easy for me to forget how tough the desert can be. To be in a place that has little life, little refreshment, and little fellowship.

I don't believe the Lord has ever said, "trust me", to me.

I am glad that even in the dark night, He is encouraging you.

Thanks for the message of faith - believing in that which is unseen.

Angie said...

Trust Him, when nothing really seems to make sense in life. Trusting has always been hard for me. Crazy as it sounds I don't know what I am gifted at, that is a large part of my frustration. I truely understand what you are saying, this is exactly the same way I feel. Thank you, for sharing it really spoke to my heart and helped me to realize I am not the only one out here in this world who has questions. But I am thankful that though it be hard to do we must Trust God, He knows best.

Anonymous said...

It's funny, a lot of us quote the title or portion there of, of the book " When Bad Things Happen to Good People.". I was at a Library today and there was a used copy that I purchased. I have read it, but I wondered if I would garner any new insights. Then, I read your blog. I too have some hard questions for the Lord...like why did my son, my brother, two cousins and an uncle have to die by committing suicide? Why didn't God intervene?... When I was being abused as a young child...why didn't He protect me? There are many other questions as to why God allows suffering in the world...Why was school so hard for me? I guess they can be summed up as to why does God not intervene when He can.
Does this mean I am going to be faced with very hard things in the future for which I will have no answers? I am sure there are going to be such things.
For me, I guess I would like to ask these and other questions and I do ask them at times. I don't think we are punished for asking honest questions.Yet the Lord says in His word that His thoughts are higher than our thoughts and His ways higher than ours.
Sometimes hearing that and considering the implications, it helps.
It sure is a walk of faith when there seems to be no ready answer(s) but it is hard...it really is.
If anyone says it never is...I really don't believe them.
Thanks for your honest sharing.

Joyce said...

yes, it is hard, isn't it.

Tracy said...

Joyce I had to smile when I read your your words:

"why do you never give me a choice between two good things? Why do I always have to chose between two choices that are both bad?"

I can SO relate!

I find your candor refreshing. Such painful, confusing, stuff happens sometimes. While I'm grateful to know that God's got it in control, and that He never leaves me, these truths do not diminish my human experiences. We do have hope in Him, and I'm grateful that we have other Christians too.