God As I Have Known Him

Thursday, May 22, 2008

I've been seeing God a bit differently of late.

At first, this frightened me. It is alarming to have a comfortable God suddenly "change." No matter how He looks from a different perspective, *different* is what I see - not necessarily Him.

But if He is faithful as He says He is, then He is not changing. My understanding of Him is changing. I am beginning to be less afraid. I realize that life is ever-changing. My circumstances are probably not going to remain static, no matter how I arrange my life to "get a break." So as I am pushed and shoved and even mangled through one door after another (and through a few windows too!), I find myself looking at God from different perspectives as He does - or doesn't do - what I ask Him to do.

I am gaining a wall full of portraits that I think are actually tracing paper overlays that will someday become a much fuller, 3-D version of Someone far more complex than I can define or imagine.

I've been remembering Him as I have known Him, wishing for the "good old days" when He was simple and easy to please if I did the right thing. He got a bit more complex when I started thinking about The Standards and Finding God's Will For My Life, but I knew that He had my best good in mind.

Life happened, though, and I found myself looking for something solid to tell me He loved me. I discovered Him as Comforter, Best Friend, the Biggest Crush I'd ever had. We had a ball - inside jokes and everything. He was so cool!

But life happened again, and my Buddy God became more serious, deepening to ease my pain, strengthening as I matured and needed a stronger shoulder to lean on.

Loss entered my life then, and God became Someone to avoid. I tried to duck His radar, hoping that He wouldn't notice anything good that happened to me and take it away - or worse, not keep it from being taken.

But I missed Him. I wasn't talking to Him. I wasn't listening for Him. There was a void in my heart that left me searching, confused, and empty. I didn't want Him - but all of my being was crying out for Him.

Now I realize that anyone reading this will probably see the obvious - that my estimation of "God" was based totally on me and on my circumstances, though most of my ideas of Him could be found in Scripture. But I approached Him as a list instead of a person.

I find that my relationships with others have been similarly self-centered. How do *I* feel about this person at any given time? Do they like *me*? Do they want to spend time with *me*? Do they invite *me* to do stuff with them? Do they mind if *I* am _______?

As if the entire world is here for my own personal validation and fulfillment.

Well, my world has been expanding lately. I am beginning to see people as people, with needs and limitations and personalities and likes and dislikes and habits just like I do. I find that I cannot define or ignore their hearts for my own need to be accepted. I can't make them be what I want them to be - they are who they are.

I want to know them.

God, like people, is who He is. Unlike people, He is Spirit and can know and be known more intimately than my lunch date with Jane. Because His Spirit is inside me, I can live and breathe Him. I can love with His love, feel with His heart, and see with His eyes if I am willing to abide in Him as He is.

Abiding in the God of the universe calls for the roughest courage and the deepest trust I have ever experienced. I have seen what life is like here, what judgment looks like, what loss looks like. My impressions of Him have been based on what I know, but He is unlike anything and anyone I know. My point of reference is screwed. Only one Teacher can tell me who He really is - and give me the courage I need to rest in His love.

I know He doesn't change, that He is solid when the world falls apart and the mountains fall into the sea. I'm only beginning to see the rest. There is so much of me and my understanding that is still falling away.


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