“Why Us? Why Me?” David N. Mosser March 1, 2005 Genesis 22:1-14 Most people will do anything for their children. For example, many adults put forth a tremendous effort for Vacation Bible School, youth mission trips, and Sunday school. Twenty years ago, I never imagined how many Beanie Babies or paint ball supplies I would purchase. Who could have guessed the number of trips to Chuck E. Cheese simply because Junior loved to go? Parents pay for weddings, college, and braces. We bail the kids out of jail, pay for counseling, and even buy their first and second cars. Moreover, we do things for our children gladly. If you are a parent then you know: We will do anything for our children. The fact that we love our children so desperately gives a particular pathos to today’s lesson. We fear this story. Of all biblical stories, this is a story that we can hardly imagine. The preachers who glibly suggest that “unless you have the kind of faith that Abraham displayed on Moriah, then you do not have real faith,” miss the mark. These preachers fail to appreciate the natural love that parents have for children. Few of us can ever understand the depths of this story, but Mrs. Gregory helped me understand. I regularly went to visit her because she helped me learn something that I never want to experience. On my first visit, Mrs. Gregory told me she was 91 years old. When entering her house, she sat me down in the front room. She made no attempt at conversation and so I chatted away and listened to the rhythmic tick-tock of her hall clock. Then, after about thirty minutes of my talk and her silence, I stood to leave. With authority she commanded me to sit – and so I did. After a long time she then said, “All three of my adult children have died before me, and although my friends tell me long life is a blessing, I assure you preacher, it is a curse. I don’t need to hear you jabber away. I need you to sit here while in my mind I argue and fuss with God.” I replied, “Yes, ma’am, I’ll sit.” I sat as silently as old Calvin Coolidge. No noise passed through my ears except that infernal clock. Finally, she said, “It is all right now. You can say your little prayer and get along.” She and I spent many long afternoons like that one. She helped me understand her special burden. She was a person who lived the fury Psalm 13. (read text) Psalm 13 begins with a series of rhetorical questions. The Psalmist asked these questions not so much for an answer, but rather to make a statement. From the Psalmist’s perspective, Yahweh causes the petitioner’s predicament. The Psalmist experiences disorientation when God is absent. Life appears as a bundle of tribulations and the Psalmist holds Yahweh responsible. It may shock us in the pietistic tradition that a prayer could produce such outpourings of anger toward God. If we carefully read the individual lament Psalms, however, we soon discover just how angry a pious Jew can be when addressing God. Without relationship there exists no anger. The screaming and wrath toward Yahweh suggests that the prayer is serious about his relationship with God. A good contemporary illustration of this vehement outpouring toward God comes from the 1994 Academy Award winning film Forrest Gump. In this film Lieutenant Dan Taylor loses both his legs in war and refuses to live. When a hurricane arrives off the Louisiana coast, Lieutenant Dan lashes himself to boat’s mast and dares God to destroy him. God spares Lieutenant Dan, however, but the scene in which he shakes his fist and blames God for his predicament is similar to the substance of Psalm 13. There are times in life when it overwhelms us. Not all of us are capable of always putting a happy face on our circumstances in life – nor should we! Jews prayed to God their lives – for better and for worse. They never seemed to hold anything back. We can pray like this too. We can be confident that our God, who sacrificed his own son as Abraham almost did, is a God who accepts all our rage and frustration. After we vent our hostility, however, we will find God still there-a God who loves us even more than we love ourselves. Perhaps, God does not care so much about either the quality or quantity of our prayers. God’s primary interest is that we continue to struggle with this marvelous thing we call life. Life is, after all, God’s most precious gift to us. (David N. Mosser) _________________________ Sermon brief provided by: David N. Mosser, Pastor of First United Methodist Church in Arlington, TX. Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published.CommentName* Email* Website Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.