God should send us to the principal’s office
But Abram replied, “O Sovereign LORD, what good are all your blessing when I don’t even have a son?” Genesis 15:2a
It’s June, the universal month when the school year ends. We’ve all been in the class when the exasperated teacher kicks That Student to the curb (i.e., the principal’s office) because of major infractions. Infractions. Plural. Like really screwing up more times than bad food served in the cafeteria.
In this vignette, we, like Abram, are That Student. We are That Student because we should get it. After all the policies, protocols, and patience our teacher, God, has faithfully presented throughout the year, we should really get what God is all about.
But we don’t. We’re like Abram in that we ask God questions we really shouldn’t ask. Questions like, “Where are you?”, “Why are you late?”, “Are you listening to me?” and “Um, do you care that I’m hurting here?”
What is dumbfounding (no play on words) is that Abram shouldn’t be asking God what he’s asking because he has experienced God’s proximity and provisions by the time Genesis 15 rolls around. A quick history of Genesis 12, 13, and 14 tells us Abram follows God’s command, leaves home, builds an alter out of gratefulness, screws up in Egypt but is still rescued from on high, builds a second alter out of gratefulness, is victorious in battle, saves his nephew Lot, and understands tithing. In other words, Abram gets God.
So, why does Abram cry about not having a son at the top of Genesis 15? And why doesn’t God just ring Abram’s neck, or just quit on the guy?
Abram asks what he asks because, like us, he wants the world his way. He will tell God how he wants to be blessed. Abram, who becomes Abraham, is impatient here. Great gifts are coming his way when he gets himself out of the way.
The answer to why God doesn’t send Abram away is that God can’t. God is always close. God is always listening. God is always that indelibly positive force in our corner even (and especially) when we, the class dunce, really screw up, do something stupid not just to ourselves and others, but even when we drop the ball on God.
God just does not stop. I can’t believe God is thrilled with our mistakes, but uses our mistakes (and our really bad questions) to bring us closer to love in the end.
PRAYER: I’m not waiting ‘til the end. Teacher, I am listening, and if I could put a shiny apple on your desk today, I would. Amen.