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Who are you God?

August 10, 2010

I was driving to work this morning and my thoughts took me to a question about whom or what I thought God was when I was a young boy. I immediately conjured this image in my head of an old man with a long flowing beard, much like my memories of Santa Claus or maybe the character Gandalf in the movie Lord of the Rings. I can remember feeling that God never really smiled when I did something right, because I was suppose to (God is watching you), but was quick with punishment when I did something wrong. I guess you could say I was afraid of God. God was really never explained very well to me as a child.

Fast forward thirty six years, and I still struggle getting my hands around who or what God is. Before everyone freaks out and questions my salvation I am a follower of Jesus Christ and I can and do understand His role – He was a man! I can wrap my intellect around Him; however, God is a different story. I have been to Seminary and spent years studying whom God is, but that doesn’t answer the deeper questions about God; knowledge does not equal knowing. Knowing comes from experience.

People use statements to describe God:

God is omnipotent (God is all powerful and can do anything)
God is the creator
God is omnipresent (God is everywhere)
God is love
God is eternal
God is omniscient (God knows everything)

I love all of the words that we use to try to describe God, but what do they mean really? For me it is just a grasp for us as men trying to understand something we may not ever understand completely. I think the best description is “God is a Mystery”. The question is, “Can you live with a God that you may never truly understand?” Can you trust God?

The answer for me is easy some days, and hard others, but as long as I have my memories, journals and life experiences where I can see His hand directing my path; that is enough for me!

I would love to hear your thoughts!

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7 Comments leave one →
  1. Reggie permalink
    August 10, 2010 2:42 pm

    Mike,

    I can relate. I always saw God as a judge in a courtroom. For me, once I internalized that as a kid, I carried it around for my entire adult life (and I got some help along the way). It’s only been in the last few years that I began to be able to see him as a “Father”. I’m still working on that.

    I was taught for a long time that God had to look away when I sinned. I started to challenge that concept in the last year. I’m curious as to what you think about that concept.

    Does a father walk away when his son or daughter screws up? Or is he patiently and expectantly waiting or perhaps pursuing his children?

    • August 10, 2010 7:23 pm

      I don’t think God walks away from His children who sin; I am not even sure he sends consequences our way. I think He does his best to love us through this spots; the key is for us to accept or reject his love. It has been that way from the beginning. He loves us no matter what we do!

  2. August 10, 2010 6:03 pm

    I love the way “Papa” is depicted in The Shack. Personally, I’ve been discovering and experiencing the goodness of God. For the past 3 months I’ve struggled with filling the slots of an adventure I’m leading. God told me a few times that I should not try to make it happen myself, that I should let him do it. Sort of, “do the basics in publicity, but don’t go all out trying everything you can think of.” And he also told me to focus and meditate on his goodness and strength. He said for me to realize I was in a position of weakness to fill the slots and he was in a position of strength.

    As I’ve focused on his goodness, I’ve been able to let go of me need to not lose money on the trip. The more I’ve focused on his goodness (for 3 months now), other things have become less important: I’m giving away extra clothes; I don’t worry about did I overpay something. I think it’s because I’ve had this hard thing that can create fear to deal with for week after week AND I’ve had these instructions from him that have dissipated the fear.

    Bottom line is that last week, in a 24 hour period, all the slots were filled. I think I’ll keep focusing on his goodness and strength!

    • August 10, 2010 7:24 pm

      No one deserves this kind of love more than you David! I am glad it worked out. I am struggling in that very spot about the Calling Retreat in Atlanta. I think God is using you to speak to me. Love you brother!

    • Reggie permalink
      August 10, 2010 7:28 pm

      David,

      I want to take this trip the next time you offer it.

  3. Tim permalink
    August 10, 2010 7:11 pm

    Mike,
    Thanks for the blog. I can relate to both you and Reggie on this. God not smiling/judge in a courtroom nailed it on the head. Growing up I was afraid of God in that sense- always wondering if he was going to punish me for messing up. I remember realizing a few years ago that the concept of loving God was foreign to me. Sure I had heard people talk about loving God all my life, but it never dawned on me that I didn’t think of God that way until I heard someone talk about a couple that really loved the Lord. All my life I have spent fearing God and trying to be reverent whenever praying- almost always starting my prayers with “Forgive me…”

    On occasion I get a glimpse of his love (mostly through my feelings for my kids), but I admit it is hard to shift the “religious” perception I’ve held all my life. Loving God and receiving his love is still a fairly new concept to me. As you said, knowledge is not the same thing as knowing.

    • August 10, 2010 7:27 pm

      I can so relate to the Forgive me with every prayer. We must have a little Catholicism in our history Tim. I think the part for me is I know that God loves me, I just wish I could experience it everyday like I do some days. I long to hear his voice and feel his caress again. Thanks for the comment Tim. Miss seeing you brother!

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