5/2/11 Exodus 39-40; Psalm 15; Acts 12
S: Acts 12:2 He had the apostle James (John’s brother) killed with a sword.
O: God allowed King Herod Agrippa to kill James the son of Zebedee, yet sent an angel to rescue Simon “Peter” the son of Jonah. Why?
A: God is sovereign. He knows what He is doing. Even now, we don’t fully understand why God took James home to his heavenly reward but had Peter stay.
We can make some guesses regarding Peter based on the history of how God used Peter after that point to lead the church. But why not James? We don’t know. God sees beyond what we can see. We cannot fully understand His reasons, but we can trust His goodness.
An incident from the life of Dr. James Dobson and his son Ryan illustrates this. When Ryan was 3, he had an ear infection that had adhered itself to the eardrum and could only be treated by pulling the scab loose. The paediatrician had James hold Ryan down while he went in with the instrument.
Dobson writes: What made it so emotional was the horizontal mirror that Ryan was facing on the backside of the examining table. This made it possible for him to look directly at me as he screamed for mercy. I really believe I was in greater agony in that moment than my terrified little boy.... Finally, however, the grouchy paediatrician and I finished the task.
I reflected later on what I was feeling when Ryan was going through so much suffering. What hurt me was the look on his face. Though he was screaming and couldn’t speak, he was “talking” to me with those big blue eyes. He was saying, “Daddy, why are you doing this to me? I thought you loved me. I never thought you would do anything like this! How could you? Please, please! Stop hurting me!”
It was impossible to explain to Ryan that his suffering was necessary for his own good, that I was trying to help him, that it was love that required me to hold him on the table. How could I tell him of my compassion in that moment? I would gladly have taken his place on the table, if possible. But in his immature mind, I was a traitor who had callously abandoned him.
Then I realized that there must be times when God also feels our intense pain and suffers along with us. Wouldn’t that be characteristic of a Father whose love was infinite? How He must hurt when we say in confusion, “How could You do this terrible thing, Lord? Why me? I thought I could trust You! I thought You were my friend!” How can He explain within our human limitations that our agony is necessary, that is does have a purpose, that there are answers to the tragedies of life? I wonder if He anticipates the day when He can make us understand what was occurring in our time of trial. I wonder if He broods over our sorrows. Stories from the Heart & Home, Dr. James C. Dobson, ISBN 0849916593
P: Father, help me to trust you even when I don’t understand what’s going on.