In order to survive the past few years, I’ve had to allow God to transform my faith and my worldview.
Life here is not at all what I once believed it to be.
I am not who I once believed myself to be.
God is faithful.
Even when I’m not, He still is.
While I’ve bristled against the reality that God is concerned about my apprehension of His holiness over against my temporal comfort, I have to admit, He’s right. If we, as Christians, truly believe that this life is not all there is… We have to acquiesce. We have to give up our ideologies, our selfish ambitions, and our immaturity. God cannot make sense to us within man-made systems of belief (1 Cor 2:5).
We should not be shocked nor surprised that He neglects to obey our rules for Him.
To see that God does not see the need to micromanage this world, is both frightening and freeing. Human beings tend towards controlling others… And often use religious and theological language in doing so.
But God? He appears content to offer choices. He draws the boundaries and let’s us all make up our own minds (Phil 2:12, 2 Cor 13:5).
God is a gentle Parent. In striving to win our hearts, He refuses to insist upon His own way (1 Cor. 13:5).
Through all of life’s trials of late, I can say, He’s won me over. In our relationship there is infinite room for all of me. That’s not to say He deems all that I say or do to be right and loving… We both know how inappropriate that would be. Instead, He offers His righteousness and infinite love to cover over what is wrong and unloving in me (1 John 1:7). He’s ever extending His way, but never forcing me to accept.
God gets me. When I worry that my lot in this life is to be forever misjudged and wrongly accused, God reminds me that He sees. And, truly, that’s all that really matters on an Eternal timeline.
I often stand in awe at who God is. He’s so much more than I could hope for! So much more than my Sunday School Jesus. So much better than mere religious frameworks for my belief.
With time, and with our dedicated practice, it begins to grow up and out of the myriad ways we tend to box up our concepts of His sovereign grace and love (Col 2:17-19). With time, we begin to see God as God and not as the perfect image of our ideal human selves:
“God is not a human being, that he should lie,
or a mortal, that he should change his mind.
Has he promised, and will he not do it?
Has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?”
Numbers 23:19 (NRSV, boldface mine)
Thank God that He is not a human being! Watch the nightly news for 30 seconds, and see what a mess humanity has made of things!
I don’t believe human beings are always conscious of the evil they commit… We tend to force an awareness of ourselves as creatures outside of present consciousness. As if we have brought ourselves into existence and, therefore, are experts at probing the depths of reality. To believe one can fully comprehend God and all of His ways is evidence that we’ve usurped His role. It’s the Genesis account of the fall played out over and over and over again.
We are not God.
Not only are we not God, but as creatures, we are fundamentally limited in our ability to apprehend a knowledge of God outside of God (1 Cor 2:11, 16; 3:16-23). There is no real knowledge or wisdom to be found outside of the metaphysical mystery of Christ as mediator (1 Cor 1:30, Hebrews 8). There is no real relationship or true connection to other creatures outside of the One through whom, for whom, and to whom all has been called into being:
“O the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!
‘For who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has been his counselor?’
‘Or who has given a gift to him,
to receive a gift in return?’
For from him and through him and to him are all things. ”
Romans 11:33-36a (NRSV)
As far as any human relationships go, they are made to be found wholly in Him.
As are we.
As I continue to walk humbly with Him through unforeseen hardship, I’m ready and willing to let go of everything I cling to that cannot be found in Him. Because, if it cannot be found in Him, it cannot be real.