As I grew up in the church, I often heard that Christians should never question God, because questioning meant a person was doubting God, and doubting God was sin. People who were full of faith never questioned God–and never felt afraid, anxious, angry, or doubt, or any other “negative” emotion. I tried hard to be “full of faith” by pretending not to feel those things. However, at some point–when I was in high school or maybe even younger–I realized that this was crazy because God already knew if I was afraid, or anxious, or angry, or questioning and pretending I didn’t feel these things didn’t fool Him. So over the years, I have been honest with Him with both “good” and “ugly” emotions–thanking Him, praising Him, pouring out fears and anxiety, telling Him that I’m upset about this or that (Why are you NOT bringing evil people to justice?!), letting Him know when I am angry (I really think we’ve had ENOUGH problems!) or think He’s unfair (this SO totally SUCKS!), and so on. Being honest with God doesn’t mean that I don’t love Him. It means that I trust Him enough to handle my honesty. I think honesty and trust and love go together. You can’t be honest with people you don’t trust, and I’m not sure you can really love untrustworthy people.
I love, love, love, the Biblical writers because they seem to honestly pour out their emotions too, sometimes praising God, sometimes wrestling with Him, sometimes crying out that He is unfair, sometimes confronting Him. I totally connect with them.
A number of years ago, I began to teach myself Hebrew, and in learning Hebrew, I connected with people like me who were also learning the language, as well as with Jewish Bible scholars and rabbis. Many of my Jewish friends believe Yeshua (the Hebrew name of Jesus) is their Messiah, but I learn awesome things about the Bible even from those who don’t believe He is. They have an immense understanding of the Bible that humbles me. One thing I especially appreciate about the Jews is that they are not afraid to question–in fact, they encourage questioning because they feel that it is only through questioning that a person learns and grows. I really enjoy Rabbi David Fohrman‘s teachings. In a recent video I watched, he said that when he was younger, his rabbi would tell him, “No one dies from a question.”
It might seem that talking about honesty with God is totally unconnected with my description of our day, but really it underlies how I live my life and the way in which I write.
A couple of weeks ago, EJ ordered a sheep from one of his co-workers who raised sheep. After EJ lost his job, he and I discussed whether or not to cancel the order, but we decided to go ahead because we still need to eat, and $200 for a sheep that would be raised, butchered, packaged, and delivered to our home seemed like a good price–cheaper than meat at the grocery stores and we knew where it came from.
This morning the guy texted EJ to tell him that he would deliver our sheep next week, and that someone(s) had already paid for it. Not only that, but two additional sheep had also been bought for us, for a total of three. We do not know who did this–we are not sure if the man, himself, is giving us the meat or if the employees of the company had contributed, but we were overwhelmed by the generosity of the gift. That’s approximately $600 of meat. EJ texted to the guy, “I told my wife and now her eyes are leaking.”
For the rest of the day, the old nursery rhyme kept running through my head:
Baa, baa, black sheep,
Have you any wool?
Yes, sir, yes, sir,
Three bags full…
Only we aren’t getting three bags of wool, but the meat of three sheep. I feel like, Wow! Ok, ok, God is so totally going to take care of us.
The sheep guy told EJ this morning that everyone is sad and upset that EJ was fired because they all thought highly of him. EJ reassured him that it is ok, and that this gives him the time to figure out what his health issues are.
Today EJ had an appointment with his primary care physician for a pre-surgery checkup. Afterwards, we stopped in at his (former) company to drop off his uniforms and some paperwork they had given him to sign. We were going to stop at the store for some necessities–toilet paper, kitty litter, etc.–but EJ wasn’t feeling well so I drove us home.
After a late lunch of homemade egg rolls, EJ worked in his garage. He now has time to get it organized. I didn’t sleep well last night–I had only four hours of sleep–so I didn’t have the physical or emotional energy to do anything beyond basic chores.