Tuesday, January 22, 2013

When There Is No Answer

“I know God has a plan, but…,” 

Usually we leave the sentence unfinished, because we know we shouldn’t say the thing we really want to say: 

Why? Why did this happen?   

We really want to know, but there’s also a bit of accusation in the question. We don’t just want God to answer us. We want him to answer to us. 

“Explain yourself, God. Lay out your reasons as to why you did what you did. What do you have to say for yourself?”

“That’s not what I meant to say,” we protest.  But it is. 

Don’t worry. No one ever got punished for asking why. We’ve all been there. And we’ve all encountered the frustrating silence that comes in response to the question.  As much as he loves us, understands us, and wants to help us, God won’t explain himself to us. 

But he cares. 

I sometimes think of the Holy Spirit as a gentle mother holding a tired, overextended, very unhappy child. Her arms wrap around him and she covers him with kisses and whispers that things will be better in the morning.

God rarely says what he is going to do. He simply shows us as he’s doing it. And when we are confused and sad, he whispers, “It will be okay.” 

And it will.  

Monday, January 14, 2013

The Image of God

I wonder if it was frustrating to Israel that God refused to be named, much less contained in a graven image. 

I understand the frustration, but then how can you see him as a person if he is everything? 

It makes sense that God would resist being limited. 

And yet, he capitulated. 

He appeared as a person. Flesh and blood. Not as a mighty King entering the city on a prancing steed.  Not as a child born in a palace to be pampered and educated by artisans.  Not even in an ordinary citizen in a prosperous free nation. 

Essentially, God said, “Do you really want to know what I look like? Then look there--not in a palace or a fine house, but at the poorest baby in the land, who was born in scandal to the poorest of parents.  

“That’s who I am,” God says. “My presence, my power, my very essence is right there in that child. You can call him Immanuel, which means “God with us.” His name is Jesus, which is my statement to the world—it means ’The Lord saves.’”

“You can’t contain me,” God says, “But you can see me when you look at the Child.”

“The Son is the image of the invisible God. (Colossians 1:15)

Monday, January 7, 2013

The God with No Name


“I have no name,” God said to Moses. “I am Yahweh.” 

It’s an interesting term that means, “I am who I am” or “I am the One who creates” 

One of the Ten Commandments stated that the people should have no artificial image made of God.  God cannot be defined by any sculpture or picture. God does not want to be associated with any one animal or rock or plant.  

God is too vast to be seen or defined.  To try to make an image of God is to limit him… or her… or whatever. You can’t even find a pronoun to refer to God. 

God is known by what he does. Observe events as they occur and you see God working.  Say a prayer, then look around, and you see God’s answer. Look at anything that exists and you see the creativity of God.

According to scripture, God was there when there was nothing. He was there when everything began, he will be there after it all ends, and he is here now.

Most of us don’t like this concept of God. We keep looking for a God we can contain because at least then he would make sense, and then perhaps we could control him. 

But I prefer God to be too big for me to comprehend. Why would I be comforted by anything less?