In times as challenging as these, it may be some comfort to you to know that God is at least as interested in your well-being as you are. When jobs are lost, when health fails, when ones dear to us are taken, when our lives are rocked by hurt, pain, or rejection, we often will give up on God or we attempt to gang up on Him.
We give up on Him in the sense that we despair of His loving us in practical ways while we gaze at Him through the cracked lenses of our circumstances. “Pain is bad,” we instinctively begin. “God has allowed hurt in my life,” we further reason. Therefore, “He must not love me if He lets bad things happen to me,” we mistakenly conclude. And so we become “victims” in the version of our story that we have authored and recite for ourselves.
But sometimes we gang up on God instead by striving to bully Him with a crowd of demands and complaints. We launch missiles of accusation powered by pent up frustrations and suspicions as we strive with God to do things our way. We allow the disappointments that throng within our hearts to riot before His throne, forgetting that He does indeed sit upon a throne and not a folding chair in a complaint department.
Perhaps this is mostly because we are habitually underestimating Him. Oh, I don’t mean underestimating what He can do. While it is certain that we cannot fathom all or even the tiniest portion of what an omnipotent, omniscient and omnipresent God can do, our primary deficiency is that we are consistently underestimating Who He is.
“Moses said to God, ‘If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, The God of your fathers has sent me to you, and they ask me, What is His name? what shall I say to them?’” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And He said, “Say this to the people of Israel, I Am has sent me to you.… This is My name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations” (Exodus 3:13-14, 15b ESV).
He continually reminds me that He is not and never will be just what I want Him to be… unless I just want what He truly is. God does not bow to my limited understanding of what He should act, say, or do because He is in His being more than I can conceive in my own thinking or imagination and He is far more in His being than I can perceive on any level, intellectually, emotionally or spiritually. Besides, perspective does not make reality; it simply shapes my capacity to engage it. If I truly hunger for God, I want no counterfeit that my own selfishness would construct for me; I want Him as He really is.
The Lord tells us in Exodus 3 that His “name is, ‘I AM WHO I AM.’” What does this mean? Just that God is Who He is. He is Who He is regardless of one’s refusal to acknowledge Him as such. He is Who He is in spite of countless (and groundless) inane theories as to His nature and attributes. He is Who He is no matter how many alternatives to Him the world supplies us. He is Who He is whether or not one tries to explain Him away. He is Who He is even though one believes that we have Him figured out. You see, no one can “figure God out” because He is infinitely greater in being than can be calculated, envisioned, or believed.
Personally, I am grateful for this realization. This means that I have an anchor that can withstand the most violent waves the world can throw my way. I have a light which guides my feet no matter how tall the shadows of life become. I am given a hope that no despair can conquer and no fear can overcome. He is Who He is though discouragement may hang upon my shoulders like a deadly weight and doubts may flood my mind. My world may crumble down around me, but He is the “Rock in Whom I take refuge” (Psalm 18:2).
Therefore, turn to the One Who does not lie or change His mind (from 1 Samuel 15:29). Come to Him on His terms and let Him show Himself to you as more than the “Big Guy upstairs,” more than a kindly Old Man to Whom we send our wish lists, and more than a Judge Who sits either in complacent coldness or in fiery fury. He is so much more than words can describe Him that knowing God is not about just an occasional “connection” but is instead a journey of wonder and delight. Come to Him through faith in His Son, Jesus, and see the wealth of joy and peace that He has set aside for you as you learn to delight in His presence. Come to this God Who has chosen to reveal Himself through the written Word of His Bible as He shows you what “amazing grace” truly is in the Person of His Son, Jesus, the Lamb of God.
Turn to Him and trust Him. He is faithful to receive us if we come wholeheartedly to Him and do so with a singleness of mind and purpose. “Call upon me and come and pray to Me, and I will hear you. You will seek Me and find Me. When you seek Me with all your heart I will be found by you, declares the LORD” (Jeremiah 29:12-14a ESV).
Pastor Thom Mollohan leads Pathway Community Church and may be reached for comments or questions by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. He and his family have ministered in southern Ohio the past 21 years. He is the author of The Fairy Tale Parables, Crimson Harvest, and A Heart at Home with God. He blogs at unfurledsails.wordpress.com.