In our home, from time to time we like to tell Bible stories to our kids before bed. It doesn’t happen all the time, and there’s definitely A LOT of nights we’re just doing whatever we can to get them in bed. However, if the story is right, we occasionally try to act it out together, be goofy and fun, and still communicate a point the kids can walk out when they wake up in the morning.
Tonight, we told them the story of the time Saul took a dump in the cave. David, his enemy, was already hiding in the cave unbeknownst to Saul, and he could have evened the score in that (awkward) moment. Such a good story…
And it made me think.
There’s a lot of stories we like to tell (like this one) – ones that have a happy ending, ones that always work out the way we expect them to.
And then there are other stories that we don’t tell as often. Not intentionally I don’t think. They just don’t come to mind much because we haven’t thought much about them. They’re uncomfortable. They don’t end anywhere close to the ways we think they should. Even more disconcerting, they push the boundaries of the God we thought we knew. Frankly, some of them push God right off the page.
For instance, we love to tell the story of how God rescued Daniel from the mouths of the lions. But we skip the story of how God allowed John to be beheaded.
Both individuals were faithful, humble, selfless people. They had morals, and stood up for truth. They lived with an internal conviction we all deeply long to have. And as far as we can see, their character was one we all want to emulate.
For the one, he was granted life when death was pretty much a guarantee. The other was granted death when life was a hope still on the horizon.
If you’re bumping into stories and shades of God that don’t seem like God, maybe it’s time to take a closer look, instead of skipping over those narratives. It’s ok to have your categories questioned. It’s ok to doubt the God you thought you knew. We can’t let our understanding of God up until this point in life define who God is for us for the rest of our lives. It’s a journey of understanding that will continue to grow and develop and be shaped over time. And that’s ok.
I believe God is calling his followers to a deeper faith, a solid trust in a God who exists outside the confines we grew up thinking he lived within. A God that doesn’t always make sense. A God that often leaves us with more questions than solutions.
And it’s ok to read those stories and wonder how they all fit together.