Just tell me what you’ll do, then gimme what I want.

I read a good blog today about why it is God doesn’t just let us know what to do clearly at all the crucial junctures in life. Spinning from the thoughts there while the boys have their afternoon naps, I realized deep down I know exactly what I’d do with a God who revealed everything. Despite this post, I confess that I still want that god, just like our toddler still hated getting his immunization today despite our explanation that in the end it’s for the best. Childishness is right up there with my sense of entitlement and worship of personal comfort battling for Mimi’s Top Idol.

Why a transparent god is probably bad for me even though I think I want one:
1. I don’t actually want Him telling me “what to eat for lunch”. I’d like Him to be available, but not too close. If God were a genie, he’d be pretty confused right now as to exactly what part of my life plan he should let slip to me. This highlights the fact that my freedom is ultimately more important to me than my God, which means it is an idol in itself. Submission to an all-powerful creator is a foreign concept, making it appear to be a great internal fight and a struggle when ironically the Bible says again and again that true freedom is in Christ alone.
This pulls my mind back to our lives being lived well only from and not for the cross. More than just a nicely turned bit of Christianese, this phrase reflects the difference between a tiny god who would be manipulated by my mere human actions and a holy God, entirely different in his just-ness. By living every day in light of (love those words… maybe I’ll write more on that later) the way He has shown us His love despite ourselves we focus on the things that make life worthwhile and ultimately good (redemption). If I really believe God did xyz, how should I then go about my everyday life? It’s amazing what matters and what doesn’t when I try to peek through that lens.
So in short: Lunch-Menu God and only-reveal-stuff-just-when-I-need-you God are two sides of a fantasy false god coin. Both ultimately serve me.

2. I would instantly begin to worship the “plan”, the information, its method of conveyance, etc. The God of the Bible asks us to turn, to follow, to do, to work, and a whole raft of other verbs. With a listing of what is to come in my life I’d surely switch off as though at a conference where the speaker is only reading from Powerpoint slides. This knowledge itself would draw me away from rather than to Him. God the creator is no such being, stranger and more able than any analogy I can find.
I see this when my kids get gifts, too. They clamor at the gift itself, obsess about it. One of their grandmas showed the 5 year old a couple of toys she’ll bring him in a few weeks and he had not. stopped. asking for them. As parents we try to instill gratitude and a focus on the giver, but we see clearly that those are most certainly not our native state.

3. Glorifying God forever is a beautiful concept fraught with the concepts of striving and constantly turning back. This constant turning reminds me of the way string players (and any other non-fixed-pitch musicians) work their entire careers to have good intonation, to find just the right inflections of pitch for a phrase. It makes hearing a well-tuned performance that much more thrilling to witness. Did you know that you can improve the way you hear intonation? Training and listening carefully, methodically, regularly (“regular” being key as always) gives the human ear the ability to hear smaller and smaller differences in pitch. I find that amazing. I wonder if it’s the same with close study of color. I bet it is for flavors, judging by the way my palate changes depending on what I give it most often and by the fact that there are people out there who like liver. We ARE wonderfully made!

4. Most of the prophets were at least a little fried by their proximity to the creator and the glimpses he gave them of their future. As proof I give you Isaiah, laying on one side for more than a year, going around nekkid, and getting sawn up inside a tree. See also John the Baptist’s fantastic beard filthy with honey & locusts, and pretty much all the others… and they usually didn’t really get what it meant despite the revelations when it was close to their own lives.

The thing is, the way sickness and death were injected into this world, the fall itself, was played out in such a way that we cannot get back to “good” without fleeing to God’s ultimate strength. This set-up (that the consequence itself draws us in) is beautiful. If we were given the cheat-sheet, the crib notes to our lives, how would we be given the gift of struggle and even pain through which we grasp the depth of this love? We would run from it, or slouch away by inches. This gift of grace, and this alone makes the horror of this world meaningful.

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One Comment to “Just tell me what you’ll do, then gimme what I want.”

  1. Mimi – Glad you enjoyed the article. Thanks for linking back to it. I appreciate your thoughts as well.

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