It’s easy to diminish God when you’re trying to determine His measurements. Usually we end up doing this because we put too much emphasis on trying to make Him more understandable to us. We look about for some way that we can put Him in terms that we can comprehend more easily, terms that can offer us comfort.
But, when we attempt to make God comfortable to our human senses, we invariably set out to make Him proportional to us. We scale down His size and put limits on His definition. We occupy His sphere with rules and regulations that not only confine our perception of Him, they confine Him! He is presented with a hundred million obstacles to touching our heart.
The relationship between us becomes defined wholly by our expectations of Him. We hold ourselves aloof from Him because we’re afraid to encounter a part of Him that doesn’t fit with what we’ve decided He should be. We insist His interactions with us be scheduled and orderly things, governed by a release form that’s properly notarized.
Why do we imprison our relationship with God like this? Why do we make ourselves content with being safe on our terms? Why won’t we let God form the lines of our boundaries?
It could be because we are cold toward God; we have not yet fully surrendered our lives to Him. We want the ease of expressing Christian thoughts without the consequences of acting them out. We want a predictable life–one that suits our wishes and doesn’t get too dangerously close to His wishes. We want control. And we think we can have it by putting God in a cage. How sad.
Whatever happened to enjoying the pizazz of God? What about believing and trusting in God because He is bigger than us, not smaller? If your spiritual yardstick and chalk line are getting you frustrated, then for goodness sake, lose them! There is no way they are helping you with your relationship with God. Your only options are parting with your ways or rejecting His ways. Unless you choose the first option, for the entirety of your life you will be only just beginning with God; always missing the best part of Him; always ruled by the fears that we won’t let Him master. Truly, the essence of our delight in Him is that in all things He is so much bigger and better than us!
Do you find it possible to revel in God and the things He is doing for you when He invites you to settle into obscure places? Can you be satisfied when He chooses to bless your spirit while allowing your flesh to be afflicted with painfully incapacitating cramps?
Is it necessary for God to fulfill your natural ambitions for self gratification in conjunction with His own ambitions for the mortification of self in you?
Can you see pain through the eyes of redemption?
Is there a desire for true life at whatever cost it may come– wherever place it may be found?
What matters more: comfort or contentment? One demands a certain set of circumstances, the other welcomes whatever the Father includes as a necessary part of His plan for your sanctification.
Is it okay for your life to become a mission field–a designated area that God can freely position Himself and His instruments to make of You a person who honors Him with everything, no matter how humbled we are by our fledgling resources. Our God can use anything for His purposes; indeed, He knows no boundaries for His glory–do you?
Have you ever found yourself wanting to avoid certain contexts — contexts where you can’t be as broken and bruised as you truly are; where you can’t be as weary and confused as you are; where being completely genuine in your hurting would be completely unforgivable.
As I mention this I am thinking particularly of Christian gatherings or church congregations. In how many instances are we guilty of being an ununified people because we do not let battered believers and sobered sinners be at home in our midst?
In the last few months I have gotten to see particularly how exclusive the road of suffering can be. Sometimes we who go through difficulties are encouraged to reach out, to become more committed to the local church and to become enmeshed with other believers in fellowship.
I used to see this as a fine expectation; those who struggle should not have to struggle alone. And I have heard that verse on not forsaking the “gathering together” of the assembly of believers times without number — even if they flowed from voices in my head reminding me of the coaching that I could expect from others on the subject if it appeared I was failing to obey it.
But these expectations make me tired. I have spent too much time feeling confused by the word and counsels themselves, let alone the motives behind them. Are we so concerned about the right appearance — and dare I say performance — of our parishoners that we should step over their broken hearts, bodies and minds to insist that they fulfill the Word of God the way that we see as the best?
What is the thing of bigger concern here? Convincing others of their need to labor to our satisfaction, or seeking how we might labor to God’s satisfaction on their behalf? Are we forgetting how our Lord has proclaimed the poor in spirit,
Those who mourn, etc
to be blessed in His sight?
Are we looking for God to wash and purify our vision of others — even while their imperfections and weakness in the faith are blemishes that bother our eyes and test our hearts?