Recently there was a story in the news about a woman who donated her kidney to her boss only to then be let go from her job. Within just a few days of the story gaining publicity, the woman demanded that her kidney be returned due to his apparent lack of appreciation.
Strange story, but it got me thinking about my view of God. (It sounds like a leap, but hear me out.) I believe that Jesus came to earth, temporarily leaving His throne in heaven, to live as a human and be humiliated and murdered as a completely innocent man for me. And for you. For free. To pay a debt that we cannot pay in order for us to be able to spend eternity with Him. Because that how much He loves us. A freely given gift.
Even more valuable than a kidney.
At times, I view Christ as if He were this woman who felt like her gift was unappreciated and so demanded its return. I know there are days I am ungrateful for all Christ did (and does) for me. There are moments when I stomp my feet and demand that He give me what I want, when I want it. I act like His sacrifice wasn't enough - I want something different. And, in my flawed view of Him, I imagine that He gets mad and throws His holy hands up in the air and yells - "Fine! You don't like what I gave you, I'm taking it back."
This isn't the character of God. My God is incredibly patient and has promised me that nothing can separate me from His love. No earthly power, nothing that I do or fail to do, and nothing that anyone else does. Nothing. Nada. Zip. He promises me that I will always be His beloved and His child. (Romans 8:38)
So this angry "indian giver" picture I have of God needs to be updated. As you probably know, I've set myself on a journey this year to get a better view of who God is and who I am in Him. I'm having a controlled identity crisis you might say. To this end, I've been reading "Searching For A God To Love" by Chris Blake. One of the passages I read recently talked about the ocean. He speaks of driving up the California coast and being able to see the ocean at various points along the drive. He is a much better author than I so I will let him tell you.
"Each view is distinctive. Each watery horizon holds a minuscule fraction of the great Pacific. You can't see all of the Pacific from any point, and each site differs from all the other spots along the coast - widely differing from the sixty-four million square miles of open water with an average depth of fourteen thousand feet - but it is the Pacific, nonetheless.
So it is with seeing God. We touch a minuscule fraction of His face; we cannot fathom the fathomless. But it is His face, and the more we follow the contours of His coastline, the more we plumb His deeps, the more we shall know the shape of His cheek, the touch of His fingers, the sound of His voice."
I'm working on getting a picture of God that more closely represents who He is. So far, I've learned that a lot of my thinking about God centers around whether or not I'm making Him "happy" at any given moment. If He's happy with my behavior, for example, He will bless me. If He isn't, ut-oh. I have learned that I don't trust the heart of God. I know the scripture -- "God works all things together for the good of those who love Him". For my good -- that could mean that losing my child or my husband or my leg could be used for my good. And another scripture, "For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a hope and a future." One part of the Bible describes God as 'One who is able to do more than we can ask or imagine" (Eph. 3:20)... My first thought - Able, sure, but likely to do something good for me, probably not. Or how about the verse where John says Jesus came to give us "life, and life abundantly" (John 10:10). The word used in Greek is perissos, which means “exceeding, going beyond, more than enough.” But this is God's definition of 'enough', not mine.
What it all boils down to, I've realized, is my belief that I know better than God. How humbling that is to say out loud. I believe that I can do a better job running my life than He can. My pride and my selfishness have reached an all time high here people. I am running amok and hurting myself in the process. Time to get a reality check. There is a God. And I'm not Him.
I'm not in control; I wasn't created to be in control. That's not my job. My job is to trust the goodness of Him who holds the world in His hand and to be obedient - to be joyful, peaceful, patient, kind, good, gentle, and self-controlled. That is what I should be striving for, not becoming the Commander in Chief. Heaven knows I would screw that up in a heartbeat so I should be relieved that weight isn't on my shoulders! :)
Through this journey, I'm seeking to learn more about my Commander so that it becomes easier to trust Him. I don't believe God is scared of or angry about my doubts and my questions; God is infinite and huge and way bigger than me. If I could completely understand Him, what kind of God would He be? If my puny little mind could grasp Him, how fully could I trust Him?
And that's the real issue -- trust. Trust is something that grows as a relationship matures and progresses. I'm learning about Jesus, spending time with Him, talking to Him, listening to what He has to tell me. And checking to see if He is who and what He says He is. Does He really love me? Can I put my future in His hands and know that I'm secure and safe? Will He ever leave me? Intellectually I've had answers to these questions for a long time, but its time my heart caught up. I'm falling in love with my Savior.