These first few weeks of seminary have given me a new perspective on a number of things related to ministry. Some comical, others not so much.
My Intro to Old Testament/Hebrew Bible teacher gives us a lot to think about. A lot.
This past week, we studied the story of Tamar in 2 Samuel 13. For those of you who are not familiar, check it out. It’s a sad story and a story that is still being lived by so many women. So, after the scripture is read, the prof asks, “Where is God in this story? Where is God for Tamar? What kind of God would allow this to go on?” I initially don’t have a response and sit there looking at him blankly. As I thought about his question, I had to remind myself who I think God is. Who I know God to be. I had to revisit how God is portrayed in my life.
There were a few answers from some of my classmates and I finally chimed in, once I got my thoughts together. I asked why the teacher presented the question as he did. I asked him why we should assume God isn’t in the story just because God’s name isn’t mentioned? I wasn’t satisfied with the answer I got. I couldn’t figure out where he was going with this in the context of the lesson. “How do we preach this story now? Where is the hope in this story?” he asked.
After much discussion he finally said to the class, “What I’m trying to do is find out if you are creating space for the Amnons of the world to keep doing what they’ve been doing or if you are going to help the Tamars of the world find a voice.” That I understood. I want to be one who helps Tamar find her voice. I want to be one who doesn’t allow the Amnons of the world to push the Tamars of the world into a life of silence and shame.
As for the story of Tamar and Amnon, the class never agreed whether God was present or not. Some said God was there but silent. Others said God couldn’t have been there, which then calls into question the omnipresence of God. What I know is this, God is in my life. God is in control of my life. When terrible things happen to me, I don’t claim that God isn’t there but I do have to wonder where am I in relationship to God and God’s perfect will. On the other hand when good things happen I will always remember to give God the glory and the praise.
So as for me and my house, we believe God is in fact in control. The question for me isn’t so much “Where is God?” but “Where am I?”.