With the chaos that we’re seeing and, let’s face it, experiencing, in our world, it’s easy to start to blame God. Why doesn’t He fix this? Doesn’t He care? He must be either mean or impotent. Why on earth would I follow anyOne like that?
Listen, God is not an idiot. The problem with the line of questioning above is that it starts at the middle of the story, instead of going back to the root of things.
Now, before you start thinking I’m going to slam Bible verses down your throat, I just want to encourage you to take a deep breath and ask yourself a few questions.
As a culture, we do a lot of blaming, scoffing at, or downright ignoring God. We treat Him as if He’s a monster, a tyrant, an ego-maniac, an indifferent taskmaster. We act like He’s mean, impotent, our fairy-godmother or our sugar-daddy. We’ve put expectations on Him based on how we view the world, not the way the world really is.
As Americans, in particular, we err because we (thankfully) have been brought up in a democracy, where we have votes, rights and choices because we are entitled to them. But God’s set-up isn’t a democracy, it’s a kingdom, and He’s the King. This really irks us Americans because we think because we’re entitled in our country, we should be entitled in eternity. (We aren’t.) We tend to think that a God who doesn’t rule by democracy, who indeed would have the audacity to rule at all, is just a big selfish meanie. (He isn’t.)
We are oh, so educated and sophisticated. We know a lot about a lot of things. But one area where we fail grievously, frequently, both in side “the church” and outside, is that we really mess it up when it comes to the character and nature of God.
God is not an idiot. He has a plan and we are part of it. We can’t even begin to conceive the breadth of His plan and purpose. Even if you could follow with your best logic, one thread of his eternal tapestry, your mind would boggle before getting far. Your best computer couldn’t run the equation. Eternity is written in all of our hearts, but we simply cannot wrap our minds full around it.
So does that mean that we need to just respond to every gut-wrenching, horrifying issue or fear or circumstance with a pie-in-the-sky, glib response of “well, we’ll just have to wait until heaven to figure out that mystery” or with the the converse decision to resign ourselves that God isn’t real, isn’t powerful, or doesn’t care?
NO! What it means is that we need to get back to the basics.
Years ago, I went through an intense time of searching and disillusionment. I really wanted to know the capital-T Truth about life and my place in it. I’d been brought up in church, and believed most of what I heard, but couldn’t understand why God seemed so impotent and indifferent to me, if He really was who my pastor had told me He was.
So I started looking–everywhere. I read tons of self-help books and “new-age” books and took courses and collected all kinds of treasures and techniques along my way. I devoured any kind of information that helped me to understand a God, a universe, that had some meaning in it. And I found a lot of answers. (What those “answers” were is a subject of (several) different posts.) The only problem was that while those answers usually provided some temporary relief to my searching soul, they didn’t yield any lasting real results.
Discouraged and frustrated, scared, even, since almost NOTHING had turned out the way I expected it to, despite my very best efforts, I did the last thing I could. I actually prayed.
I believed there was a God out there, a Supreme Being that maintained the order in the universe, but I was no longer so sure of myself as far as how to get to Him. I believed that there was an after-life, that what we are seeing and experiencing right now is not the end of the story, and that there was some Big Guy in charge of the whole thing. I even had a Very Intelligent Theory about how it all worked out–one that had me comfortable enough with the world I lived in to still claim God, yet not be crawling out of my skin all the time with angst about it.
I still remember the horrifying feeling when the thought crossed my mind: What if I get to the end of my life and find out I’ve gotten it wrong? Woo Boy–that would be the wrong time to find out that I’d been deceived. And then it hit me hard: no matter what, I did not want to be deceived. Not by any person or any religion or any theory, even my own. It occurred to me that at the end of my life, I wasn’t going to get the last word, and that it might behoove me to try to get a glimmer about the nature of that word now, this side of the grave.
So I had an earnest conversation with God, as I understood Him. I told Him that I didn’t want to be deceived and that I really wanted to know Him. I meant it, too–don’t you know, you really can’t snow-job God, no use trying. I told Him that if He would reveal Himself to me, I would follow Him, wherever He led. I asked Him to make whatever revelation He might have for me personal to me, and to take people with their religious or personal agendas out of the equation. (Being a skeptic, I naturally resisted anything that anyone tried to ram down my throat–still do now, come to think about it.)
I remember the conversation had a desperate feeling to it, as I so desperately did NOT want to be deceived and really did want to know the truth. I expected alternatively a big huge epiphany or just to be ignored.
Remarkably, I did hear back from God. This was not my imagination. It certainly was nothing that would have been forthcoming from my preexisting wiring. God’s response:
“Read my book.”
That was it. Pretty humbling, but not at all demeaning. Of course, I realized that I’d read tons and tons of other complete spiritual works–and even part of the Bible, but never had I read the whole Bible. Imagine that. Read my book. Seemed too simple. And to top it off, I’d heard from God and I didn’t feel any big emotional change either.
But I’d told Him that I’d do what He asked, and gambling (this was a good gamble) that He’d taken me at my word, I promptly started reading.
What followed was a string of events that was so personal and enlightening, that I am confident that God was in the midst of them. Questions were answered for me that I’d never dared ask another person out loud. As I would find myself asking a new question, the answer would appear as I dug just a little bit deeper. Piece by piece, graciously following my own quirky logical question-and-answer way of thinking, God Himself reached into my little life and took the time to answer me, personally and individually, as only He could.
(Caveat: God is not the only spiritual entity among us, so just because it feels spiritual or right doesn’t necessarily make it so. There are ways of discerning if something is really God or if it’s just a warm fuzzy feeling or if it’s something vastly worse–but that’s also the subject of a different post.)
Suffice it to say, the journey that I went on with God, which I certainly will detail here in future posts, has been sufficient to show me personally that God is not an idiot. He is not mean, or arrogant. He is not indifferent or impotent. He is immeasurably wise, loving, patient, caring and powerful.
I would not have believed those words if someone just told them to me. I’m not a “blind faith in a human leader” kind of gal. But I do believe them now.
I dare you: consider whether it’s possible at all that you’ve been deceived about God, about eternity, even by people who were well-meaning. If it’s the tiniest bit possible, then ask God Himself to show you The Truth. Don’t believe it just because I said it. God loves you enough to deliver the Truth straight to you. It may not come in a fancy package with warm fuzzy feelings, and you may need to dig for it. But He will come through. Because contrary to being an idiot, He delivers. That’s just the kind of God He is.