Trying to live love well through the power of the Everlasting.
God isn’t who you think God is.
In my experience, I’ve often found that people attribute to God only what they can conceive Him to be. By that I mean, they let the reality of what they can feel or allow become a limit that they place on God. The problem with that, of course, is that God is the Eternal, not bound or defined by anything that we can come up with. God says, “I Am that I Am.”
What that means, then, is that God isn’t the construct that you relate to him as. William Paul Young, author of the best-selling novel The Shack, writes about this idea (from God’s perspective) and puts it like this:
“The problem is that many folks try to grasp some sense of who I am by taking the best versions of themselves, projecting that to the nth degree, factoring in all the goodness they can perceive, which often isn’t much, and then calling that God. And while it may seem like a noble effort, the truth is that it falls pitifully short of who I really am. I’m not merely the best version of you that you can think of. I am far more than that, above and beyond all that you can ask or think.”
The powerful thing about this is that most Christians that I’ve known – which is a lot – have never entertained the idea that maybe, just maybe, God is a little bit bigger than they might imagine.
So what does that mean for us?
It means that we as believers really probably ought to think about not playing God.
I have eight siblings, ranging from age 28 to age 9. I’ve noticed that with not only myself, but a few of my other siblings around my age, we often interact with the youngest ones as if WE were their parents. I’ve noticed lately that this is something that I really need to stop doing, because at the end of the day… I am NOT my 9 year old brother’s dad or mom. I tell him no ice cream, and they tell him sure, he can have ice cream. I tell him this, they tell him that. I decide that this is good for him, they have the power and authority – the only real power and authority in the situation – to re-write my ideas or dismiss them entirely.
It is not up to me to raise my brother. I am not my parents, and the more I try to be the more of a mess I create. I can now begin to see the confusion, chaos, and resentment that this practice breeds not only in family dynamics, but in the heart of my youngest siblings. The solution for me? Be a brother, not a father.
Likewise in my dealings with brothers and sisters in the faith: be a brother, not their God.
To take that thought into our relationship with God, there’s a scene on the sitcom Will & Grace in which the character of Jack, obsessed with Cher, comes face-to-face with Cher in a restaurant. Jack is amused that the person he sees looks so much like Cher, but he’s convinced that she is only a look-alike, since she doesn’t perform her trademark expressions and moves the way that Jack has decided they need to be performed. He dismisses her as a fraud, never realizing that he has actually met his idol.
I think you can connect the dots: if we don’t allow for God to be bigger than what we can conceive, we may not recognize Him when He shows up in our lives. And to not recognize the Creator in our lives, well, quite frankly that’s the definition of tragic.