Christians generally love to say that the Bible is a beautiful book, a love story, where Jesus is present throughout. And while I believe that it true in many respects, I also have to challenge the idea that the Bible is always encouraging and refreshing to those who read it. At times, it can be downright horrifying.
I’ve been reading through the Old Testament, and I recently finished the book of Judges. Throughout my time reading through this book and all of the previous books in the OT, I’ve struggled a lot with God’s Word. The fact of the matter is that there are a lot of horrible things in these books; truthfully, I have found most of it to be either horrific or pointless in terms of applicability to modern life. Trudging through these sections has not been easy.
I’ve read about hundreds of thousands of human lives brutally taken, often in battles over territory, greed, or personal disputes. I’ve read about the slaughter of innocent children, and animals. I’ve read about rape, women being forced into “marriage,” incest, and prostitution. Many of these events were seemingly accepted, condoned, or even ordered by God. Frankly, I find it impossible to swallow.
What am I to make of all of this violence and disgusting human behavior? What am I to make of a God who not only allows, but at times instructs his followers to do such things?
The honest answer is that I don’t know. The honest answer is that I don’t understand.
And yet, I have chosen to continue to have faith in my God. I choose to trust in Jesus, who lived a life of love, and who died for love of me. I choose to trust in a God who has protected, guided, and provided for me all my life.
Sometimes, it seems that the God I know and the God of the Bible are two different people. But I know that the harder truth is that they are the same God; He is just a God that I do not fully understand, because I am human, and he is so far beyond me.
A God that cannot be put into simple terms actually makes perfect sense. If God was a human construct, he would be understandable, easy to put in a box. But God is not created by humans on our terms, we are created by Him on His terms. Sometimes (often), that means we don’t understand him.
My prayer today is that God can work in my heart and mind to help me surrender to the not-understanding. As a logical, thoughtful, reasoning type of person, I find this incredibly challenging. I am challenged to be humble, to accept that I can’t control God, or force him into my parameters of understanding. I must learn to surrender to him fully, to let go of my pride, to let go of my control.
Perhaps, for me, this is the whole purpose of these books in the Bible. They bring me to a place of surrender to God, a place where I must admit that I don’t have the answers. This is the place where I have to simply close my eyes and trust him. When I do, I know that I will find peace in my savior’s love. This is exactly where he wants me to be.