Who Is God Anyway?

Often I coach Christian clients who worry that they are not spending enough time in the Word or in prayer. They’re not being faithful to their “quiet time”, and are feeling guilty about it. I recently had a client who loves the outdoors “confess” that when she went to pick up her Bible for her “quiet time”, she instead picked up an outdoors catalog. She sees herself as a “strong Christian” and when she’s out in nature, she has a profound sense of worship and communion with her Creator. But when it comes to sitting and reading the Bible, she’s “tempted” instead to plan her next hike into the hills. This got me thinking….and relating…

Who is God anyway, and what does it mean to be a “strong” Christian? How do I have a “close” relationship with God? What does that mean? So often, I feel so distant. Part of me cares and part of me doesn’t. To be perfectly honest, I’m often bored reading the Bible. Not that I don’t enjoy reading it with my friends who come over. We read it like we’ve never read it before, and we debate and react and take the “wrong” side and challenge each other. But when I sit down for my “quiet time” and stare at that big book, frequently there’s no spark. No interest. When given the choice, read the Bible, like I know I should, or read a great novel, or stimulating article, I choose the novel or the article. I mean really. Who wants to just sit down and read the Bible? I know, I know, lots of people. But is that IT? Is that all there is to getting to know God? There are so many other interesting things to do. I don’t like feeling so dead spiritually. And I don’t want to look back on my life when I’m older and regret not cultivating that relationship.

Growing up we read the Bible every day, often twice a day. Every morning we read a chapter the Old or New Testament and the daily Oswald Chambers message to the Christian worker. Every evening we read today’s chapter from Proverbs. In addition, being in Baptist Sunday School, we had weekly memory verses, Bible stories, and Christmas pageants. I distinctly remember winning the prize when I was in fourth or fifth grade Sunday school and standing before the whole church reciting about eleven verses from John chapter three. I felt so proud. When I was a freshman in high school I accepted a challenge from a girlfriend and memorized the entire book of James. Growing up in the missions organization YWAM, Youth With A Mission, I received Bible teaching constantly from my dad and from other “famous” men and women of God who had so much wisdom and knowledge. I was in awe of these people and strove, through the encouragement of my parents to grow into becoming one of them. Over the course of my upbringing I probably read through the entire Bible eleven or twelve times.

So now, the idea of picking up the Bible to read is sometimes well….. not that interesting. What if God speaks in other ways? What if a relationship with God has nothing to do with reading the Bible? What if God isn’t “way up there” in the sky looking down on little me? What if God isn’t male? What if God isn’t interested in the Bible either? What if God is more interested in enjoying the great novel with me? What if God is more interested in my garden than in my “prayer” life? What if God is curious about what I’m going to cook for dinner? What if God is a big black woman in an apron cooking up something amazing in the kitchen, or a forty-something career woman in a windowless office, or a five-year old boy playing soccer, or a four-year old golden retriever? What if God is a warm breeze on a cold day, or the exhilaration of a black-diamond ski run? What if God is that huge harvest moon, or the view from glacier point? What if God is a little girl of mixed race? What if God is a Democrat?????!!!! What if God is all these things and wants to just hang out in my world? After all, isn’t that what Jesus did?

What might be possible if I let go of my “shoulds” in my relationship with God, and just “was” in relationship with God? Not the God I’ve been spoon fed all my life, but the living breathing Creator of the universe, who is neither male nor female, Jew nor Gentile, the God who is Spirit, who can take on and inhabit any form he/she chooses. Who is Love itself. Who does not live in a box, a church, a book, or a routine, but moves, hovers, whispers, and breathes life into everything and everyone. This is the God I want to know. What if this universe that I live in is God’s house, and everything and everyone I encounter in this house is speaking, breathing, singing, dancing, screaming, and shouting the name of God in an infinite number of ways. What if there’s NOTHING and NO ONE in this house who doesn’t loudly manifest God. Then there is nothing, there is no one, on the planet whom I should fear. Then, if my ears are tuned in and my eyes and my heart are open, I will touch God in every breath of every day. Then I am at home in the home of my Maker. Let’s go out and play, shall we?

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