I can remember the Sunday, when I first realized this was an issue for me. The pastor asked us to stand when he described the version of God that we each believed in. Some stood for “God is a peaceful ruler, guiding us from Heaven,” others stood for “God is a vengeful warrior,” and lastly, “God is a loving father, who hurts and then punishes when we do wrong.”
I stood for the last description.
I honestly can’t remember the rest of the sermon; I’d had an epiphany and it shook me.
I’ve been a Christian my whole life and I’m BLESSED with parents who love Jesus, love each other, and love us kids in a profoundly beautiful way.
I have no beef with my dad or any skewed view of my earthly father.
So, I was stumped to realize I’d developed a skewed view of my Heavenly Father.
I’ve always been surrounded by good eggs…you know, the Christians who ooze sweetness, love, and kindness in a way that is both admirable and at times, shocking. And, well…I’ve never really considered myself one of them. But I’ve led a good life; I’ve followed the “rules,” I’ve been active in church, I’ve participated in ministry and missions, and have led people to Christ – I thought that counted for something.
At the same time, I’ve always been fully aware of my sins – I’m a good evangelical that way.
As I got older and older, and my life of rule-following and being a good (if not sweet) girl didn’t bear the fruit I was expecting, I assumed it was due to my own sinful nature.
In my mind, God was punishing me by withholding blessings and my heart’s desires.
And I have absolutely no idea where that came from.
I believed the good eggs were delighting themselves in the Lord and receiving their heart’s desires, but as hard as I tried, I was not…and there must have been a reason for it.
But I know, I KNOW, in my mind that our God is not a God of cause and effect…that His love is bigger than that box I’d put Him in and that through His mighty power at work within us, He is able to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think (Ephesians 3:20). GLORY!
My mind knows these things, but it’s taking my heart a while to catch up. And until it does, I need to add lack of trust to my list of sins.
Psalm 37:4 (NLT)
4 Take delight in the Lord,
and he will give you your heart’s desires.
1 John 5:14-15 (NLT)
14 And we are confident that he hears us whenever we ask for anything that pleases him. 15 And since we know he hears us when we make our requests, we also know that he will give us what we ask for.
Ephesians 3:20 (NLT)
20 Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.