In so many ways I have created God in my image. He is someone for whom I’ve fashioned a particular design in my mind about who he is and what he is like and how he works in the world. This image of God I’ve created has been formed through many experiences, lessons, books, people as well as the environment in which I’ve lived.
In several discussions with people over the past years I’ve come to realize that the image of God I’ve created is a small one. One where I am at the center and God really placates to me. That sounds a bit harsh, but I think in some fashion we all have an idea of God that no longer has Him at the center, but somehow we’ve wormed our way in to that place.
Evidence of this comes when I think about my prayer life and a concept, in which we in Western culture love to concentrate, the idea that God will give you the desires of your heart if you believe enough. I’m still mulling over these things so forgive me if my thoughts are disconnected a bit.
One of the aspects of prayer, I believe is recognizing God is God and I am not. But how many times do we pray with the belief that I will bring what I want to God and He will give it to me, because that is what God does. I ask, He gives. Scripture even tells us to ask in Jesus’ name, or to ask and it will be given.
The thing i’ve come to learn though, is that when God doesn’t answer the way we think He should, we at times cease to believe in God or believe that He is good. Our belief of God is then contingent upon a particular answer to a particular prayer, and when He doesn’t ante up, we boot him. Therefore, making the individual the center and God is to placate to him/her.
The question is, Is God still God (good and faithful) even if He doesn’t answer my request in the way I think it should be answered, in the time it should be answered and the fashion I think it should be answered. I believe the answer to that question is a resounding Yes! He is.
I do not understand His ways. I can’t see the grander picture of design, development, maturity, growth, and beauty that He holds. I do not get to know the why, when it comes to the seeming lack of movement on His part to answer particular prayers. I wonder how many of my prayers are a cheap way out. Give me this, do this for me, make this happen… so I don’t have to feel pain, experience growth or be dependent upon something other than self.
Who God is, does not rise and fall on his answer to my prayers. Yet, somewhere through teaching, culture and other beliefs I have had to wrestle with that thought.
How do you engage the idea? Who is God in the midst of your unwanted thorns? Who do you believe Him to be?
How do we encourage one another when we don’t see the answers come?
As I walk alongside of friends new and old I desire to have wisdom in response to their “unanswered” prayers. And yet, to be honest I don’t know why God doesn’t answer the prayers in a way that would, I believe, be so freeing and bring healing. But one thing I do know… is that He does not cease to be God (with all of his attributes) just because He’s not followed through as I think would be best.
So with an ever expanding view of God, I am once again reminded that God is God and I am not!