Saturday, December 18, 2010

The God We Want

A lot of people have rejected God, for a variety of reasons.  However, I believe that many of these reasons fall into one category - unfulfilled expectations.  They look at what God claims he can do, and then when he doesn't do it, they conclude either that he is a liar not worthy of following, or, more frequently, that he does not exist.  They do not find God the way they want him.  What kind of god do they expect to find?

First and foremost, he should prevent calamity and disease.  Who has not agonized over the death of an innocent child, or a baby born with a debilitating handicap and wondered how God could allow such a thing? Something strikes at our very being to see anyone suffer, of course. With adults it is easy to think that they might have done something to deserve the situation in which they find themselves. With children, on the other hand, we prefer to think that God should step in and act. When he doesn't, faith takes a hit.

What else should God do to prove he exists?  Certainly the prevention of violence would be high on the list.  Can't God step between a mugger and the bullet he fired at his victim?  Would it be too much to expect a rapist to have a heart attack before seeking out a victim?

Another aspect would be judge of the wicked.  Obviously wickedness abounds in the world today.  Terrorism, slavery, drugs, human trafficking, corruption, and exploitation is a very short list of very serious actions that mankind is currently involved in, and appears to be getting away with it all the time.  Where is God, if he exists?

These do not even take into account the times that we needed money at certain times, or the car broke down, or we lost a job, or the business went bankrupt - all instances where God could have intervened, but did not.

So then, someone might read where God says, "Call unto me and I will answer thee, and show thee great and mighty things that thow knowest not," and think that it is not true.  One could read "The LORD is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer; my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold" and come to the conclusion that God is just toying with us when we don't get what we think we need.  In fact, probably many Christians have abandoned the faith, because they could not wrap their minds and hearts around the apparent contradiction that God talks a big game, but at crunch time, he fails to deliver.

God, however, is not a vending machine, where we put money on, pull a lever, and grab the candy bar that comes out.  He is not a butler, waiting at our every beck and call.  He is not a child who must do our bidding, when and where we want it.  On the contrary - he is the father, leading and directing, warning and disciplining when necessary, providing the basic necessities, not the luxuries we so desperately desire.

Most importantly, he is the father to his children.  What does a father desire most from his children?  Requests?  Demands?  Pouting?  No. He desires a relationship with them.  Jesus also said "Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill.  Do not work for food that spoils, but for food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give you.  For on him God the Father has placed his seal of approval."  (John 6.26-7)

A person who wants to see what God can do must first accept God as he is, not as he "should" be.  Then, he must strive to develop a relationship with him, being more interested in who he is than in what he can do.

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