God Rules

You know that I am teaching a Sunday School class for adults in which we are watching and then discussing Pastor Tim Keller's DVD series, "The Reason for God."  The series is six conversations Pastor Keller has with a group of non-Christians about thorny questions that often cause people to reject Christianity, such as "How can you say there is only one way to God" and "How can a good God allow suffering."  I never know who's going to attend the class, but it usually ends up being a good discussion and a diverse group.

Yesterday's class was about "Why are there so many rules," since Christianity is often known by its rules and Christians by their insistence on universal adherence to them.  One participant on the DVD, an earnest young man, notes his opposition to rules given by his parent without proper explanation; i.e. the quintessential "because I said so."  Indeed, it is appropriate for rule-givers, whether parents, employers, or policymakers, to provide suitable context for the rules being given, so that the recipients of the rule understand the importance and benefit of the rule. 

But it is sometimes appropriate for a rule-giver to say "because I said so."  Sometimes that's a cop-out by a parent who is too lazy to offer an explanation at the moment (can't tell you how many times I've been there myself!), but sometimes it's acceptable and even necessary.  Check out the video I've posted below, of my friend's daughter's birthday party. 

Pinatas and little kids are, of course, simultaneously a ton of fun and a poked-out eye waiting to happen.  Sure enough, at around the 0:21 mark of the video, my Aaron comes sauntering right through the swing zone, with the birthday girl blindfolded and raring to go, no less.  With my right hand I am holding my cameraphone, and as I see Aaron enter the screen, I grab him with my left hand, a little too roughly in retrospect but I wanted to make sure I got him out of trouble.

This is probably an imperfect parallel, but it did make me think of Sunday School from earlier that day.  Aaron cried because I grabbed him by the shirt and scratched him on the neck.  He didn't know what I knew, which was that he was in the swing zone and he could've gotten hurt if I hadn't moved him away.

Sometimes rule-givers say or do things we just can't understand at the time.  In fact, it can seem harsh and confusing.  But if we trust the rule-giver's knowledge of the situation we're in and his or her care for us, however much we might cry at first we will eventually come to trust and wait for the rightness of the rule to take its course. 

I can't say that I understand all of God's rules or His reasons for giving them, and I certainly can't say that I follow them or even want to at times.  But I can say that I trust Him, and am learning to wait on Him.  I believe in His right to set rules, and in His goodness in the rules.  If I, imperfect and finite as I am, know to jerk Aaron away from possible danger, how much more does a loving and omniscient God know when it is right to rein us in when we are trouble?
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