Stumbling Through Life

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Please, God – Don’t strike me with lightning! I’m just trying to figure this world out. Sometimes I think and say things that are stupid. But sometimes, too, You tell me things that are so meaningful that I simply have to write them down. This blog is nothing more than a diary of some of these thoughts.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Disappointed in God? Lower Your Expectations

"The earth is the Lord's, and everything in it." 1 Corinthians 10:26

Why Did God create tsunamis and cancer and child abuse? Okay, he didn’t create them, I hear you saying. He allowed them. Same difference, if he’s all-powerful.

Why is there suffering at all? God can do anything, and he allowed Satan to have his way with the world. So here we are, stuck with natural disasters, illness, wars, and money problems. We’re stuck having to learn about him through a book that was written long ago by imperfect people who spoke in various languages and lived in various cultures. Even Christians can’t agree on what it means.

God is all-loving? Then where is he? We have to learn how to talk to him in spite of the fact that we (okay, I’ll speak for myself. I…) never actually hear his voice.

Hey, God, could you throw us a bone once in a while? You could enter a burning bush from time to time, just to let us know you’re still here. It’s been 2000 years since anyone actually touched you. That’s a long time for us humans. We’ve got pretty short attention spans.

God, if I were you, I would do such a better job! I’d start by ending all war, all hunger, and all pain. Then I’d have a good long talk with everybody. I’d explain things in plain language. No more parables. No more looking it up in the Greek. Then… I’d give the people what they want. Everyone. Everything. Why not? I’m God, and I can make it so there’s enough to go around!

Then everyone would be happy and grateful and there would be no discussion of hell; because there would be no need for hell!

Impossible? Not for me. I’m God!

Yeah. There’s fantasy, and there’s reality. The fact remains: That’s not the way it is.

I’m not saying that God can’t meet all our needs. Not at all. What I am saying is that we’ve constructed a view of God that’s unrealistic. For many of us (including me sometimes) he’s the “great genie in the sky.” He’s there to meet all our desires, whatever they are. Even though he doesn’t, we continue to believe that he does!

And that’s just not the way it is. God does not intend us to have it all, all the time, so why pretend? He does want us to be happy with what we have.

He wants us to find peace:

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid. John 14:27

and love:

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. 1 John 4:16

and joy:

I came that you may have and enjoy life and have it in abundance, until it overflows. John 10:10

even in this weird, crazy, imperfect world. So that’s what I’m gonna try to do.

The real world is gloriously imperfect. It’s full of rainy days, crazy in-laws, dust-bunnies, and mosquitoes.

Let’s celebrate it!

Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. 1 Corinthians 13:12

Peace, Love, and Joy

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Like a Trust Fall into God’s Arms

This thought popped into my head this morning:

Give up your preconceived notions because they're all inadequate anyway. They’re not wrong, just inadequate. Just know this: that God loves you and he’ll catch you. That's all.

Commit your way to the LORD; trust in him and he will do this. Psalm 37:5

Preconceived notions, huh? I guess that means everything I’ve been taught, everything I’ve read, and everything I’ve heard. That’s a big order. But… God is bigger than all that anyway. I’ll have to think about it more, of course. It’s either an inspiration or a delusion.

I honestly don’t know if I can do it, or if I even know what it means. How do I stop striving? How do I stop worrying? Maybe I was wrong. Maybe it was a thought put into my head by the devil... But there I go again, striving.

Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Matthew 6:26

The 12 step programs put it very simply; “Let Go, Let God.” Sometimes I think they have it closer than anyone else:

Step 1. We admitted we were powerless over our addiction (or the effects of addiction) - that our lives had become unmanageable.

'Not by might nor by power, but by my Spirit,' says the LORD Almighty. Zechariah 4:6

You’re not supposed to move on to step two until you’ve got step one down pat. And that first step is a doozy! It’s like walking on water. It won’t help to understand the molecular structure of water. Just trust.

Step 2. We came to believe that a Power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.

And if by grace, then it is no longer by works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace. Romans 11:6

If you fall, God will catch you. If you don’t fall, you’ll never know.

Peace, Love, Let Go