Obeying When It Doesn't Make Sense
Last week, in talking about premarital chastity, I attempted to explain one reason why I think God commands that we don’t have sex before marriage. I don’t think social justice is the only reason for sexual abstinence, although if it were, it should be strong enough by itself to persuade us. There are relational/psychological reasons, and even just purely practical reasons.
But what if you don’t know those reasons? What if you can’t see anything wrong with something God forbids? I don’t know about you, but that makes it harder for me to obey or accept as wrong.
I pondered this same idea several weeks ago when I linked the Richard Rohr post on Suffering. I said I felt like if I can understand suffering, if there’s a purpose to it, I can endure it better. But God never promises an explanation, and many, like Job, never get one.
Apparently, God doesn’t think it is necessary to understand in order to obey Him. I think it makes it easier to obey if we know why, but TRUST is all about being able to stay faithful even if you don’t know “why.” This is the FAITH that you base your life on, and that faith implies that you have faith God knows better than you.
Sometime it even looks like what God commands is wrong or a bad idea. My family therapist friend was talking to me about the premarital sex issue last week. She remarked that you would think, from a purely logical point of view, that living together before marriage would be a good idea. But the evidence shows it’s not. It’s not only not beneficial to marriage, the research shows a correlation between living together before marriage and the marriage having less chance of surviving.
But no one had this evidence until the last couple of decades, so people who chose to stay chaste before marriage because God commanded it had to do it on faith. Same for people who have forgiven others at great cost to themselves, or people who have refused to cheat on taxes (or college admissions) when there seemed to be no repercussions, or people who have refused to live indulgently when they had all the money they wanted. They chose to do what God said, even if it didn’t seem logical, or possibly was harmful to themselves. This is faith.
“We walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7