Letters From the Fire7
“Pitching Your Tent in a God-centric Reality”
As a Christian, I have always struggled with the seeming duality in
God’s personality. Yes, he is loving and reaches out to the hurting, but as Michael mentioned, he is also puzzling in his responses to people in the Bible. He certainly seemed to lack compassion or empathy when Elijah was depressed. He ignored Joshua’s agenda and legitimate concerns about a battle plan, to name a few. In my own life, those times where I’ve had immediate, pressing needs were times when God seemed the most distant and unavailable. I’m sure it had a lot to do with my past history, but these critical times often turned out to be places in my life where I would disengage from him because it was too painful to remain. These disengagements eventually became a pattern in my life. Without realizing it, they had slowly begun to erode at my relationship with God and were choking him out. As a result, I felt like I had more questions than answers, more accumulated disappointment and truncated hopes, than peace.
When Michael spoke about how God’s otherness plays out in how he relates to us – that he desires more than just meeting our needs, that he longs to reset us and draw us into deeper intimacy – I suddenly realized I didn’t have to live with the confusion and disappointment with God anymore. I had the key – when I had a pressing need I needed to submit, bow down, and worship. I knew now that God had a bigger agenda than simply meeting my need. He wanted to free me up too. The struggle for me now is to stay in this place where I have removed my sandals and I am on holy ground. Jesus spoke about the struggle in Matthew 6 when he talked about how the pagans “run after” the things of the world and getting their needs met. A God-centric reality is not easy to plug into. For example, I’ve had a horrible time getting words and hearing from God. Nevertheless, I guess in the mix of God changing the way I relate to him, I also learned that hearing from God is more like a tea bag seeping in hot water. If you just mull over the word he gives to you and kind of ponder it during the day, it begins to seep into you. I thought getting words had more to do with God giving you direction and marching orders, but I’ve come to the realization that even getting words from God is a relational activity. He longs to have an ongoing conversation with us.