God: Giver of freedom or Minder of minions?

Does that second definition resonate with you? I know it has for me. When it came to God, I felt no welcoming to come and know Him. I felt a calling, yes, but to me it was a brutal thing that clawed at me almost mercilessly in any moments I had–as unusual as I tried to make them–of relative repose.

Do you labor, like I did, under the burden of believing that God is a hard task-master and an undesirable companion in your life’s journey? Do you hear, at times, pleasant things about God and find yourself wishing they were true–if only what you knew of God were not so? Do you understand God to be nothing more than a judgmental tyrant? Do you wish there was some way you could negotiate with Him for a level of amnesty? Not so that there could be a greater possibility of closeness between you–there is no way you would be so audacious as to seek that; instead, you desire to quiet down the battle-hype between you and God.

I can understand this penchant for seeing God with that dominating proclivity for casting humans into despair with His unyielding expectations and crushing judgments. It is such a bad thing for us to think these things because if we had an acquaintance who demonstrated even a sprinkling of these characteristics, we would not be in anyway confusing our relationship as a friendship. We would resent the day they came on the scene of our lives. If they stay, we can be sure that they will ruin everything that we happen to love.

Considering the weight of these conclusions we have about God, it’s no wonder that we try to keep God from being close–we don’t want to be any nearer to these negative distinctions than we have to. But would God have it to be this way? Does He want His person to leave you with such an unappealing impression? I used to think He didn’t care. This was obviously the way He wanted things to be.

But, if we’re trying so hard to maintain a significant distance from God, how can we really be sure of what He’s thinking or wanting in regard to us? If we engaged in this type of relationship-management with anyone else, any objective observer would find it necessary to challenge the untested assumption we had about the other. It would not be sufficient to look at there actions of days, months or years past to make present-judgments. We would be required to explore the matter and gather more recent facts and conclusions. There is always the possibility–with our human counterparts–that with time they have changed. What we thought they were at one time may have been accurate, but today it may be in need of a revision.

Too often we conclude God is so different from us–different enough to make Him appalling in His starkness. But why do we think this? Where do these perceptions come from? For many of us, it must come from more than circumstantial evidence, since our shared part with God in this state has been minimal, at best. Would you be inclined to consider that we were born with this broken perception–with this desire to keep ourselves apart from God, apart from and before the interactions we’ve had with Him and His world.

This is going to take a lot of work to sort out. But there is truly nothing we have more time to sort out. This is the main thing we were meant to decide with our lifetimes. But don’t be discouraged if this sounds like something that is out of your league. It’s out of every humans league but for the fact that God calls out to us with every intention of making Himself known, if we are willing to receive Him; if we will but he made to learn and then distinguish who He is from what we’ve thought and what we’ve been told by other sources.

I wish I could tell you right now all that I know He wants you to hear. How He wants His love to break in on you renew your mind with joy and peace. How He has good plans for you that are deep enough to include everything in your history and present circumstances you have considered to be nothing less than the pitiful reflection of a bad plan or an equally bad Planner. God wants you to know–to accept into the deepest places of your soul–the reality that His love is not simple nor scripted; rather, it takes a lifetime of basking in (or abiding as the Bible calls it) to even begin to understand it, to trace out its waves of light that convey energy and hope to the human that depends on it.

There is so much more to say, but I trust that God will say it. He’s always speaking to you, anticipating the joy He will share with you when you turn attend Him, when you bring your heart in full to share with each moment He gives you. When you discover that He gave you life to encounter Him, to experience Him, to disclose yourself fully to Him and find Him complying. That is just a tiny picture of who God is. If you didn’t catch the steadily growing whisper of freedom in the words, ask for God to change your perceptions of Him until they are true and delighting.

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