I happened to hear a speaker the other night that had such an interesting message. He was talking about helping people to find God. He said that what we want to do is help them find the God of their understanding, not yours. I had to give that some thought.
I was raised in a church that had some ideas about God that it hoped I would come to believe. In fact, the church wasn’t all that open to the possibility that my ideas of God might be different. So I kept my ideas to myself. Here’s the truth: the picture of God that the church was giving me wasn’t very helpful to me. Maybe I just didn’t understand, but it didn’t help me overcome some of my problems, it didn’t help me with my marriage, and it didn’t help me with my fears or my anger. I needed a different kind of God.
Well, I met a woman who told me that maybe I should just go ahead and believe in the kind of God who would be helpful to me. She asked me what kind of God I needed. I told her I’d rather have a God who didn’t judge, who cared about the nitty-gritty of my life and who would give me some kind of guidance about what to do. I didn’t just want a list of generic, impersonal rules to follow. I wanted direct help now and then like help working through difficult relationships. And I wanted more than just the satisfaction of knowing I was “right”. I wanted peace inside. She said, “Go ahead. Pick the understanding of God that works for you.”
Wow! What a concept! So I gave it a try. And guess what? I got the God I needed.
4 thoughts on “God Who?”
I like how Donald Miller put it in an online interview I watched yesterday. He was confronted with someone who pressed him about the possibility of “getting God wrong.” He explained that we may not understand God, and we may even get some pretty big things wrong about Him, but that doesn’t matter to God. He is still able to relate to us and love us, which is what matters.
Then he related it to parenting. It doesn’t really matter if your child doesn’t understand you completely. You still love and engage in his/her life.
It has been my personal experience that when we “get God wrong”, as Miller put it, we will eventually run into a brick wall. Or another way to put it, the image we have of God will stop working for us. I think this is what God waits for, that opening, that moment of truth, if you will. Sometimes, though, we let the voices around us lead us to shut those doors, or we shut them ourselves because the new image may ask too much of us. So God, it seems, waits for another time. In my life, I don’t know that I have gotten God right, but the image of God I’ve got today makes more sense as I reflect on what I am really experiencing in life. With all the readjustment I’ve done with my image of God, I have stopped thinking I have or will ever really have a handle on God. I guess that is a good thing.
Here’s the interview I mentioned:
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