I've watched the gripping, captivating story "Twelve Years A Slave" a couple times. Once in theaters and once since. It is striking to me that for many who experienced slavery, the story was greatly shaped by who the master was.
If you had a gentle and loving master, you may have had a more tolerable experience as a slave.
If your master was not trustworthy, you may have had a terrifying experience as a slave.
What I'm realizing is that this is how I have viewed my relationship with God.
I go back and forth between viewing Him as a trustworthy God who is for me, who cares about me and will not give me a stone when I need bread...
and this other God who either causes or can't prevent the melancholy of sadness and heartache for the world, let alone me.
Hardship has been the way for so many.
And when I think about the last two years with significant losses in our family and this little munchkin who went from sick heart to sick bones to sick head, I find myself suspicious of good news. Ok God, so Chaia got a pretty great report at the Cleveland Clinic this past week. Her heart is stable even as she is growing and gaining weight. She made it on the growth chart for the first time in two years. She had the docs and nurses laughing and smiling.
But the bottom will fall out right? That's been the story to date. Good news, laced with not good news. Her pseudo tumor...will that cause vision loss or require surgery? Her not eating food...will that cause her to have significant problems in the future?
And much of this story boils down to the trustworthiness of the master.
This has been my view for years. Does He have good and love and life for His servants?
But something is shifting in me that might be the most important move of my life. It's subtle, but Hebrews 3 might be the heart of this shift.
Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest. 2 He was faithful to the one who appointed him, just as Moses was faithful in all God’s house. 3 Jesus has been found worthy of greater honor than Moses, just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself. 4 For every house is built by someone, but God is the builder of everything. 5 “Moses was faithful as a servant in all God’s house,” bearing witness to what would be spoken by God in the future. 6 But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are his house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory.
The writer of Hebrews says Moses is an epic dude. Faithful. Just like Jesus. Except Moses was faithful as a servant in all God's house.
BUT Christ is faithful as a Son in the house.
I'm becoming increasingly aware that I have been content hanging out with Moses in the servant house on the edge of the Master's property. At best, I can hope that the Master will remain good and trustworthy so my experience as His servant will remain tolerable and maybe even relatively good compared to some of the other poor blokes around me.
BUT Jesus is nudging me that what He did at the cross wasn't so I would get servant status in God's household, but that I would be invited to come home...adopted by the Father...a son.
I have an easier time believing the trustworthiness and goodness of a Father who has chosen and adopted me to be part of his family than I do believing the trustworthiness and goodness of a Master.
One leads me to a state of BEING. One leads me to a state of DOING. One bought my identity. One seeks constantly to earn my identity.
Much of the Christian faith is boiled down to two questions:
Is God good? Is God faithful?
I don't know that you can answer these questions accurately from the servant quarters.
Maybe you're like me and much of your life is spent living the way you ought, doing the things you must, avoiding the things you can and then wondering why the Christian karma equation isn't adding up. And it leaves you suspicious. Is God really good? Is God really faithful?
And maybe the word for you?
Sons and Daughters, come home.