How can I trust a weird God?

To many people God is repulsive, because what kind of God kills every firstborn child in Egypt, commands the slaughter of every woman and child in Jericho, and drowns Pharaoh and his army just to prove how powerful he is?

In Pharaoh’s case, however, God fires right back with a question of his own. “Since when,” he asks in Romans 9, “did clay argue with the potter as to what it’s used for? Exquisite vase or humble flowerpot, I have the right to make you into whatever I want. If I designed you to display my anger or my goodness, what’s that to you?”

But what kind of answer is that? I’m just a nobody, am I, without rights or say in what happens to me?

“But you were already a nobody without rights or say,” God replies, same chapter (paraphrased), “because admit it, you were coasting through life totally absorbed in your own petty projects, all of which amounted to a big fat zero and a six foot hole in the ground. Fortunately for you, I’ve always had better things in mind for my beloved humans.”

Well, that’s nice, but how can I convince people God has our best interests in mind when story after story in the Bible makes God seem monstrous and uncaring? It’s like trying to convince your teenage daughter you have her best interests in mind when telling her to be home by 10:00 pm, and she snarls like a cornered cat and stomps off to text her friends about the rejects she has for parents.

But some teenagers don’t do that, do they? They trust their parents even when their parents seem impossibly old-fashioned. Why? Because they accept their parents know more about life than they do – just as billions of galaxies humming away quite nicely above our heads prove God knows a whole lot more about life than we do. And some people, like Abraham, could see that. So, when told by God to kill his son, Abraham didn’t argue or accuse God of being out of his mind; he simply trusted him.

So why don’t we all simply trust him?

Because the lesson from the very beginning of our history is that we’d rather trust in ourselves and in gods of our own making – which is tragic because look at the mess we’re still in as humans. We desperately need God’s help, but we can’t bring ourselves to trust him. Fortunately, God took care of that for us in Jesus, who did trust God and now promises to give us his trust, so when God at times seems weird to us we can trust him too.

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