Friday, March 19, 2010

Stop the Cart

David and all the Israelites were full of joy and celebration as they brought the Ark of the LORD into Jerusalem (2 Samuel 6). Then the unthinkable happened. Uzzah reached out to steady the Ark on the cart, and the LORD's anger blazed against him and struck him dead. Can you imagine a scene with a more striking contrast of emotions? A dark cloud of anger and fear quickly swallowed up the joyful music of celebration. And everything was quiet.

Why, God?

During the three months that the Ark detoured to Obed-edom's home, I believe that David wholeheartedly sought the LORD and the Book of the Law. He was determined to discover what had gone wrong! And the LORD graciously brought David out of his confusion by revealing the answer to him. David then responded in obedience, by appointing the proper people (Levites) to carry the Ark, and instructing them to carry it in the proper manner (with poles, not by cart), in order to honor His holiness. The LORD had given clear commands to Moses regarding the Ark , recorded in Numbers 4, that David must have failed to notice the first time.

The day that the Ark was finally brought into Jerusalem, carefully following all the LORD's instructions, David freely danced for joy and sang a beautiful song of thanksgiving to the LORD, which included acknowledging His holiness:

"O nations of the world, recognize the LORD,
recognize that the LORD is glorious and strong.
Give to the LORD the glory He deserves!
Bring your offering and come to worship him.
Worship the LORD in all His holy splendor.
(1 Chronicles 16:28-29)

Oh, how I wish that I could always respond like David in my times of darkness and confusion, and that the LORD could always give such clear answers as He did in this story! But life is not usually so black and white. And I have seen God work out His deeper purposes in my heart through the grayness of uncertainty, as He has asked me to rest in His love and to trust that His way is the best for me, even when I can't understand it.

My biggest personal struggle has been dealing with chronic headaches/migraines for almost half of my life. While this would not be what I would have chosen for my life (if God had let me be in charge!), it is what God has graciously allowed. While He has brought me to a place of overall acceptance of this thorn in my flesh, there are days that I still struggle and ask "Why, God?" Daily, I have the choice to turn my heart toward the LORD, and seek His face and His perfect will for me, or to turn my heart away from Him, and wallow in self-pity.

How do you respond when the LORD stops your cart and you find yourself in a cloud of darkness and confusion?

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