Today I’m going to go big, waaay big. Will see how it goes…
Last week (my, my last week was chock full) Rich, my husband, came home from an ‘ask the tough questions’ Christian group. I don’t recall if he mentioned what the tough question for that session was, but we got to talking about God’s will (yeah, a big topic…). He was playing devil’s advocate and saying that it doesn’t really matter what we do, because God’s will always rules. I countered that I see God as a great father…umm, I mean the best father ever…. (oops …sorry about that first reference, God)
Jesus called Him “our Father” and, if we have asked Jesus Christ to enter our life and save us from that which seeks to destroy us, then God is our Father and we are His children. We get to be part of His Family. How we react to that depends on how we see God and how we see fatherhood. Our own father may even get superimposed on our understanding of God…that may be good, that may be really bad…important to weigh our understanding of God against what is true about Him and found in the Bible. Undoubtedly we’ve all got places where we’re off about the Big Guy.
If we’ve got a healthy, New Testament understanding of God as Father (for in the Old Testament the people’s relationship with Him was less intimate. Jesus came and opened up to us, via His death and resurrection and the gift of the Holy Spirit, a great warm, safe intimacy with God and invites us to call Him “Abba”, “Daddy” or “Papa”) then we can begin to imagine how He runs His Household…If you are a parent, or have parented, or have managed a group of kids, then you can keep going here and hopefully “get” what I’m saying.
1. God sets the rules. Yeah, those Ten Commandments fit well here, also Jesus summed those babies up into two commandments: #1. love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul and #2. love your neighbor as yourself…so, whew, really only two rules, not bad.
2. He also creates the setting. Yeah, look around–the earth, the sky, the universe…nice place, when we\’re not annihilating each other (breaking those two commandments).
3. He even creates order out of chaos (schedules the time, plans the space, ‘if this/then that’ laws), cause He knows we don’t do well flailing around in perpetual pandemonium. He gives us a measure of predictable life with gems like day and night, seasons, years, birth and death, stages of life, generations, consequences, natural laws, spiritual laws, etc.
4. As any attentive parent does, He deliberately sets the tone of His relationship with His children (uhh..back to us, I guess). Like a devoted parent, He loves, loves, loves and does nothing but love. BUT, how that love is manifest differs from person to person, just like a good parent loves each child unreservedly and yet each one uniquely. I think God parents according to what is best for each one of His children…He also parents according to what is best for the whole Family. He works one-on-one, with small and large groups and finally with all of us collectively. We’ve only got two kids,Charlie and Emily…can’t imagine having two billion kids (rough number of Christians worldwide). Thankfully, He knows us well (He did create us) and can see the very big picture objectively. I think He must keep adjusting things individually and collectively so that His kids can keep maturing (deepening in their faith). Some kids need more discipline (reinforcement of those commandments), some kids need more hugs/mercy, some more time learning new things/lessons, some need a better outlook, some need different circumstances, etc etc. Oh, and if you are a parent and your kid is screaming “Mom, Dad, I want that!”, or “Do this for me!” you undoubtedly hear him (God hears our prayers, don’t doubt that!) but respond according to what is best for him…you don’t always run and do his will…if you do, you’re enabling him to stay immature and become self-centered. Your will, as a parent, runs the place…If you’ve been in a home where the kids run the place, it is easy to see that everyone suffers, everyone… On the flip side, if you’ve been in a home where the parent rules with an iron fist and fear runs the place, then you see too that everyone suffers…it is an oppressive environment where growth is inhibited…God does not force Himself on us, He is not an iron fisted daddy.
So, back to God’s will…does Go\’s will rule? Yes, and no, I’d say. Individually we have free will, each one of us chooses how we are and what we do (I believe we actually choose spiritually before we make a conscious choice…a topic for another blog). But as a superb parent, God responds accordingly and adjusts things to help us progressively choose better next time (i.e. choose His will). So, like a terrific parent, His will does rule, in that He actively runs His Household and parents us individually and collectively, according to how we freely use our own will.
What an amazing and terrifically busy parent!! Grateful He cares so much about us!
I guess this is an early Happy Father’s Day to God…”Happy Father’s Day, Papa! Love you!”