God, are you mean?
I hesitate a moment before writing the words in my journal. Words that I feel a little guilty for writing, for surely God is not mean, right? He is love, He is good, He is kind and gracious and merciful. I know this to be true from what He reveals about Himself in His Word. I know this to be true from what I have personally experienced. And yet, the question gnaws at my soul.
For the past few months I have been on a personal quest to know God more.
God, who are you? Has become the cry of my heart. The subject of each journal entry. The sole question I ask as I go to His Word.
For so long I have assumed I knew God. I have loved Him for as long as I can remember—first trusting in Him at the age of six, while cuddled up in Strawberry Shortcake sheets with a Care Bear tucked under my arm. I attended Christian school, went to youth retreats, participated in Bible studies. I’ve memorized countless verses and passages and can sing most of the old hymns by heart.
But then I had kids.
And they began asking questions.
And…suddenly I didn’t know as much as I thought I did.
“Mommy,” my then five year old son asked while we were driving to the grocery store, “If satan said he was sorry to God, and really meant it, would God forgive him and let him go to heaven?”
“Mama,” my daughter asked a few years back, “Why does the Bible say that God hated Esau? God loves everybody right?”
“Hey Mom,” my now teenage boy begins, “Doesn’t God seem kinda mean sometimes in the Bible? Why did He make Israel kill all those other nations? And why did he have Achan’s entire family stoned just because Achan stole a few things? Is God mean?”
I look down at my journal and trace the words I just wrote.
God, are you mean?
I close my eyes and wait.
For what? I’m not sure.
An answer? A sign? Peace? Wisdom?
All of it. Please Lord.
Who am I? The question swirls around my mind before landing in my heart.
Who am I? My gaze lands on the pages of the Bible lying open before me.
Who am I? My head bows in reverence.
I’m not entirely sure Lord, but I want to know You more. Will you show me? God, will you remove the false ideas and attributes I’ve assigned to You over the years? Will you forgive me for constantly trying to shove you into a box that I can understand? Will you expose the lies about you that I have been believing? And Lord, will you reveal the truth of Yourself through the pages of Your Word?
I open my eyes and they land on ancient words,
“‘This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time,’ declares the LORD. ‘I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor or a man his brother, saying ‘Know the LORD,’ because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest,’ declares the LORD. ‘For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.’” [Jeremiah 31:33-34 emphasis mine]
Oh, LORD, You are not mean! You are Grace itself. You who answer the prayers of confused mothers and humble truth seekers. And while I will never understand all of Your ways, I will do my best to always trust Your heart.
This quest will continue until the day I stand before Him face to face, and I imagine that even then, I will still spend eternity learning new things about Him.
Yet, it is a quest I will gladly continue for only when we know who God is can we trust what He does.
So I will continue to sit at His Word and invite Him to reveal Himself to me, and to my children. And when they ask the hard questions (which I pray they will continue to do) we will go to Him together and not be afraid to ask,
God, who are You?