Jan 6, 2013

God Unboxed

Typically, our first impression of God is usually that he is “The God of the Quick Fix.”  And He certainly is that - sometimes - especially in our spiritual infancy.  We bring our life's boo-boos to Him, and He makes them all better.

So, especially to our youthful Spiritual mind, God becomes the God in the "Box."   That is, he fits nicely within our uncomplicated, if somewhat naive, idea of who God is and how He is supposed to behave.

And, because he is a God who exists within this tidy mental framework, we can always easily define Him by our little cliche's: “God will always… God will never…” etc.  Thus, He becomes a very comfortable, and predictable, and manageable God.    

And that’s fine – for spiritual children.  When we’re young in the faith, we certainly need uncomplicated. 

But, if we rightly choose to pursue a more mature awareness of God, we are destined to discover a much more sophisticated God.  And, this God is much too complex to any longer fit into our childish parameters.  

This God is hard to understand, and even harder to explain.  He is a little scary, and made all the more so by the issues He raises.

He wants to know such things as, “Will you love me all the way to the end of my purposes - even though you don’t understand them in advance?  Will you trust me to work my plan, at the expense of yours?  Will you follow me, no matter what, to your own highest good?”

This is the God of our mature awakening, whose first requirement is respect for His authority.  So, he has no qualms about asking us to wait, in the dark, on Him - and then wait some more, and some more - far beyond our assessment of “appropriate.”  

This is the God who won’t take no for an answer, and will make you "pay" if you offer it.  This is the God who is completely willing to ignore our druthers in favor of achieving His higher purposes for our life.  This is the God who asks us to position our trust, not in what He does or doesn't do, but in who He is.

And, this more sophisticated God travels in a very weighty crowd.  And, in fact, unless you are willing to pursue a true personal gravity of your own, you will find it impossible to penetrate that circle.  

He walks among people like the patient Job, who did everything right.  Yet, he was ask to endure great personal calamity. 

The patriarch, Abraham, traveled with this more sophisticated God.  And, God put His finger right on the thing that Abraham cherished most in the world, his son, Isaac.  And then He said, “I want that.” 

And, Moses was among His closest fellows.  To him, this God made an insistent offer of leadership, which Moses was not allowed to refuse, even though he was completely intimidated by the responsibility.  

So, the simple truth is this.  This more sophisticated God who rears us beyond our Spiritual infancy is just not in the business of settling for light weights.

My twenty-two year old son, Andy, was wounded in the neck in Afghanistan and lost the use of his legs as a result.  He was sent to Walter Reed Army Medical Center for his initial intensive medical care.  It was a traumatic and uncertain time for both of us – and the whole of our family and extended friends.

Andy and I spent many nights there (I was the night guy, Mom was on the day shift) talking, and crying, and hugging.  It was a very emotionally charged time, as you can imagine.  After about a month, however, Andy was well enough to be military medevac’d to Florida, for his extended rehab.

As we said good-bye on that last afternoon at Walter Reed, I hugged him for a long time.  I promised to meet Him in Florida; and then, I turned to leave.  

I got nearly to the door of his room when I was overwhelmed by my love for my "boy."  I turned and looked back at his thin face, as he lay on his pillow, eyes closed, obviously weary with everything.

 I said, in emotional anguish, “‘Ange,’ are you gonna’ be OK?”  He opened his eyes and looked at me, pausing for a second.  

Then, a broad smile flashed across his face and his eyes briefly sparkled.  He said in a weak but mischievous voice, “Now Dad - we gotta’ be big boys.”

 Sometimes that’s all a worthy pursuit of God comes to...         We just gotta’ make up our minds to be big boys and girls.