Wednesday, June 22, 2011
I need God to be God
I have a confession: when things are going well, I try to make God small. I want Him to be manageable and understandable. It's just too scary to not know exactly What I'm dealing with, to never be able to really understand what He's doing or why. It's so much more comfortable to try to box Him in.
And I want some semblance of control - and when things are going well, I think that I'm pretty good at controlling my own life.
Am I alone in this?
When things are good, I think I can get along just fine with a small god.
But oh, when things are hard – I realize that the one thing we desperately need is a God who is God.
I need Him to be bigger than me, and far wiser and better. I need to know that He is in control and there is a purpose behind this trial. It’s okay that I can’t see or understand the purpose, though I sure wish I could. But I desperately need to know that there is one.
I need to know that He is still in control when control has been wrested out of my grip.
I need to know that He is big enough that He can and will bring something good out of this.
He needs to be bigger than trials, suffering, evil, heartbreak, and everything else that goes wrong. I need to know that evil and wrong won't ultimately win.
But if I've boxed Him in as a helpful genie, then when something goes wrong, he’s failed. He didn’t give me what I wanted, didn’t smooth out the paths for me and bring me a happy life.
It’s easy to slip back into trying to understand Him fully, and making Him small enough that I can understand Him fully. Sadly, it semi-works when I don’t think I need him to be bigger than my life circumstances. When I don’t think I need to cling to the promise that He knows what He’s doing, that He’s so big He doesn’t have to spare me from all suffering and trials – but He can instead use them and turn them around for good.
I need Him to be my rock that I can stand on, not a bundle of happy and wishy-washy cliches.
And this is the best news: He is!
He is big enough. He will use everything for our good, and He will ultimately win.
As C.S. Lewis said of his famous lion Aslan, "He is not a tame lion. But he is good."
We don't have to understand him (much as we would like to). And we can't. He can be both wild and dangerous. But He is also bigger than everything - and good. And that's a truth that will hold us when we cling to it.