I’m trying to pray my way through today’s lection. It’s about justice for the widow. She’s supposed to get the protections of marriage by her husband’s brother (after her husband has died of course). But, he doesn’t want to marry her. There are no reasons given. He just doesn’t. So, she gets to appeal the powers that be. She gets to demand her rights given by God. She gets to spit in his face and take his shoes. And then, forever and ever, his family will be known as “the house of him whose sandal was pulled off” (Deuteronomy 25:10).
It’s funny thus proving that God does indeed have a good sense of humor. Of course, God also seeks to be in relationship with all of these characters — the husband, the widow and the no good brother. God is always trying to find a way to be in relationship with God’s people. It’s why this weird stipulation exists. No family shall be “blotted out” by the inability to produce a child. The legacy of God’s people will continue. Somehow. It will go on. God will be creative in how she make deeper and sustainable relationships. God will make a way.
It’s about this time that the words of the Lord’s Prayer start stumbling into my head — particularly that sticky part where thy will be done. When I was a little girl, I found comfort in those words because it was the only way that the impossibility of a loving God taking away my mother made sense. It was part of some greater purpose. It was all part of God’s plan. Now, I find no comfort in that idea. It makes God into a master puppeteer making us each dance and bed where God chooses; but even more than that, it’s not Biblical. There are certainly times where God’s people choose to believe that God has ordained good things for them (and you’ll notice that it’s never ever bad things that God grants). There was a fabulous article on this idea a few issues back in the Christian Century where Phillip Cary insists that God has “No Secret Plan.” I do believe it’s worth the subscription. But, as with this lection today, God isn’t interested in getting her way. She wants justice. She seeks to protect those that have no protections just like the widow. As Phillip Cary explains, the will of God is about the possibility of justice. God’s will is those beloved words in Micah 6:8. There isn’t anything more to God’s plan than this. For me, that’s a relief. I know how to navigate the world in search of God’s justice. I might not be perfect in my humble walk with God. God knows I won’t be perfect but it’s the fact that I’m walking that matters.