I tend to test God. I ask endless questions and always look for proof. If I hear something in church or someone tells me I’m supposed to be or do something, I want proof–give me a verse or leave me alone. This can be a good thing because we don’t want to be blind followers of everything we’re told–that’s how religion ends of being abused for people’s misguided purposes. But I’ve also been realizing lately that sometimes I test God too much. I insist on proof when God asks for faith. I demand answers when God says to be still and know (Psalm 46:10). I want God to explain himself. I guess I want him to be scientific in a way–I want to put him under a microscope and dissect him until everything makes sense and fits nicely into my worldview and lifestyle. I don’t want God to say anything crazy or hard to believe and I don’t want to seem strange to the society around me when I obey him. I even worry when I write about my faith that my friends who don’t share my faith will think I’m crazy so I better tone it down a little bit and make sure they know how smart and modern I am. Well I’ve been reading my Bible and I’ve got some bad news for me–God doesn’t have to follow my rules.
The story of Mary and Joseph and the beginning of God as man is one of the most beautiful and frightening stories to me. It is beautiful because it is God becoming man to save me from myself and it is beautiful because he uses normal people full of faith to accomplish his plan. It is also terrifying because he uses normal people full of faith to accomplish his plan. Not going to lie, I wouldn’t want to be Mary. Here you are about to be married and you turn up pregnant in a society that will stone you for such a thing. Yes, Mary, tell them an angel came to you and told you it would be a virgin birth, tell them the angel turned into a dove, tell them it’s the Son of God–tell them whatever you want, nothing could sound crazier than that story and no one will ever believe you anyway. I wouldn’t have believed her. I would have thought she was either a sociopathic liar or a lunatic and of course, immoral. But this was God’s plan and Mary somehow believed and obeyed even though she probably spent the rest of her life being talked about and looked down on for doing so. Mary’s response was quick and simple:
“And Mary said, ‘My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has looked on the humble estate of his servant. For behold, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for he who is mighty has done great things for me, and holy is his name. And his mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts; he has brought down the mighty from their thrones and exalted those of humble estate; he has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent empty away. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, as he spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his offspring forever.'” Luke 1:46-55
In all my questioning God and expecting him to please make sense, I have to stop and ask myself, do I take God at his word or question his every word? Am I willing to embrace the seemingly ridiculous with faith and humility? Where will I draw the line between healthy inquisition and rebellious or fearful questioning and doubt? God’s word is not easy, it doesn’t always make sense, there isn’t scientific proof or reason for every word, but I am asked to obey–now, today, in faith and humility knowing that God knows even when I can not.