Occassional God

I am constantly reminded and often amazed at the fragmented world in which we think and live.  We are truly walking contradictions between belief and practice.  Oh please let me drivel on about this for a moment – it might make sense and it might even be worth your time.

We believe that God is omnipresent or in simpler terms, we believe that God is always around.  You might say that God is ever-present.  So God knows everything that we are thinking and everything that is happening all around the world, at every moment of the day.

We also believe that we should be blessed by God.  If we are fairly decent people who live mostly moral lives and don’t commit any kind of really heinous crime, then we should experience good fortunes in life.  Happiness, wealth, and health are the three basic areas of our existence that we use to measure the “blessed” life.

And we also believe that God may know all things but God has got too many big issues on His plate to deal with our petty issues and minor sins.  With human strife, 20,000 children dying each day from curable diseases, war, and the overarching struggles of a creation that seems to be circling the drain to the abyss, God is really busy with major stuff.

So basically as long as I am a good moral person who is nice to others it really isn’t important for God to pay attention to me every moment of every day.  Now if something really bad does go wrong, God better be there quickly and God better rescue me from the situation!  Otherwise I need an occasional god – not an everyday, every moment, relational God.

Hmmmmm.  I don’t know this god.  I am pretty confident that this god does not exist.  It certainly is not the understanding and experience of the 1,000 plus authors who wrote the history, records, reflections, hymns, wisdom, prophecies, letters, gospels, and revelation that reveal who God was, is, and continues to be.

The Psalmist describes God as “with me” through every single moment and aspect of life.  Jesus told his disciples not to worry about life.  If God takes care of the birds of the air and the lilies of the field, God will certainly take care of each of us.  And the witness of scripture and the tradition confirms this over and over and over again.  God cares for every one of us, God is actively working in our lives, and God is ever-present through everything.

So why do we act like God isn’t…isn’t there all the time, isn’t working on our behalf, isn’t caring?  Why is that we hope that God isn’t really present all of the time watching, calling, drawing, and shaping?  Why is it that we want God to be an occasional god who is there on our terms?

Maybe it is because we don’t want to live our lives in the full presence of God.  We want to be occasional…we don’t want God to see everything we do, hear everything we say, know everything we think.  We don’t want God to take care of us because we can (for the most part) take care of ourselves.  And more importantly – we don’t want the confines and boundaries a relationship with the Holy, Lord God Almighty demands of us.  We only want occasional.

Guess what – we can’t have our cake and eat it too when it comes to our relationship with God.  We don’t get to define the terms of this relationship because we are don’t have the positional or moral authority to do so.  God defines them because God is holy, righteous, merciful, steadfast, faithful, grace, and more.

What God created us for and desires for us is a heart that is willing to be in the fullest of relationships with Him that is humanly possible for us.  Never complete and never perfect, but none the less – God wants to be in a loving and grace-filled relationship with his deeply flawed people.

God is pursuing each of us for abiding relationship; to walk with Him, talk with Him, seek the counsel and wisdom, guidance and favor of God and to know that He is ever-present with us (from the “valley of the shadow of death to the mountain top and everywhere in between).

Within me is the seed of rebellion – to reject this but also dwelling in me is the seed of grace and hope that is drawing me closer to God.  Today Lord help me to water the seed of grace and hope.  Today Lord bring a drought upon the seed of rebellion.  Help me to walk in your presence always – not just occasionally.

 

What is your prayer today?

 

Blessings for the journey.

About Jim Hoffman

Pastor, teacher, leader, novice blogger, wanna be author and Christian conversationalist. Passionate about environmental architecture - creating spaces where people can foster new or growing relationships with each other and God. Currently leads a faith community on Ward Parkway in Kansas City and happily married to Margaret. Blessed with four adult children and two grandsons.
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