Who is God, anyway?
Updated: Mar 25, 2020
Some of us come to God because of what He can do.
Way-maker, miracle-worker, promise-keeper, light in the darkness
My God, that is who you are.
In the seven short years I've known Him, I have found each of these attributes to be true.
The trouble, however, lies in equating what God can do with who He is.
Because if you only believe that God is a healer, how do you respond when He heals your neighbour but seemingly shuts the gates of heaven for you? If you only believe that God is a provider, how do you respond when you lose your job?
What happens when you miss your miracle? Get blindsided by a broken promise?
In the midst of pandemics, famines, heartaches and losses is where crises of faith occur. Because God never quite does what we expect Him to, does He?
And so we accuse Him of not caring, or better yet, wonder if He exists at all.
What does your faith look like when dreams fall apart? How do you view God when the world is burning? What do you think of yourself in relation to God and other people? Do you consider yourself inoculated from heartache and disease merely because you believe in Him? There's something about a crisis that exposes our motives and demands nothing less than the purification of our faith.
Christianity's greatest promise to the world is this: You are loved.
God's love isn't conditional upon what you do.
The greatest tragedy is that we receive that unconditional love and never quite learn to reciprocate it. More often than not, our speech and actions betray the fact that we don't love God for who He is - we love Him for what He can do.
Because if we consider who God is, we must recognize that:
The God of love also chastises us.
The God who acts is also the God who refrains.
The God who speaks also stays silent at times we want to hear Him most.
The God who gives abundance is also the God who withholds rains.
The God of liberty is also the God of judgment.
The God who gives life also allows death.
And as a corollary, He does not always grant our desires.
God does this - not to be unkind - but for reasons beyond our understanding,
To reveal to us the error of our ways, to purify the silver and cast aside the dross,
Yet, try as we might, we cannot fathom the meaning of His work,
From beginning to end.
A saccharine Jesus makes us feel good but ultimately, exists only in our minds.
As Job remarked, Shall we indeed accept good from the Lord and not accept adversity?
At a time of collective anxiety and heartache, over-simplifications and platitudes ring hollow. It helps, instead, to open one's eyes to God in all His ways. To know Him for who He is and how He acts in our lives, our countries, and the world. To refuse to type-cast God based on our broken moral compasses. To steer clear of presuming we know what's best for ourselves or anyone else. To encounter His complexity, and to ask for the grace to know and love Him for who He is, even as we wrestle with ourselves.