Because there is so much we don’t understand about the eternal purposes of the God of the Bible, he can be read like a self-centered father who plays favorites with this children; a moral monster who takes pleasure in the cruel deaths of his enemies; or a powerful bully who uses his strength to intimidate weak ones into his messed up family.
Because there is so much that we don’t understand about his goodness, compassion, mercy, and patience, the God of the Bible can seem like a multiple-personality, a drunken tyrant, or a perfectionistic, crazy-making parent.
Yet mingled with such madness are wonderful expressions of a Creator who teases our imaginations with self-descriptions of true wealth, wisdom, generosity and happiness. These are the characteristics we see in the first few words of Genesis. But such goodness and glory soon get lost in the darkness, haze, smoke, fire, famines, floods, and wars of tragic events.
These are some of the reasons it’s important to read the Bible backward and forward to Jesus; to the people he loved; to the Book-reading leaders he challenged; to the words he spoke; and to the prayers he breathed—before the death he died.
Even though there is even a lot that we don’t understand about his prayers, the stark differences we see between him and other kings, parents, priests, prophets, and shepherds gives us reason to at least ask questions.
What did he mean when he prayed in the late hours before his arrest, “Father, the hour has come. Glorify your Son, that your Son may glorify you?” (John 17:1)
Was Jesus about to reveal enough about the goodness and glory of his Father… in what he was about to suffer… and for the reasons he was going to willingly die… to turn our worst fears and dark thoughts about God— into a hint and promise of everlasting wonder?
Can we begin to see the glory of the goodness of God in the face of his Son’s willing endurance of ridicule, misunderstanding, torture and crucifixion for us?
If we are still haunted by dark thoughts, can we see enough in the glory of his death… to ask him to help us, today— take another step together into his upside down kingdom of love?