Do you ever wonder who God is? Do you wonder if He is passive or aggressive? Do you wonder is God grumpy or grandfatherly? Is He overseeing or overbearing? Is God vengeful or cheerful?
Who is God?
I’m walking into this thinking that you have some sort of belief in God that’s led you in one way or another to this post. The issue may not be with your beliefs but what you do with those beliefs. Because, like me, you might have a lot of questions. And how you answer these questions about God might determine what you do with your beliefs.
I have questions, like…
How does God feel when He sees all of the evil that has been created in this world? I mean we humans have come up with some really vile and despicable forms of evil. If you ever doubt it, read the news that comes across your Facebook feed.
Does God ever regret creating our planet? Does He look back and think, why?
Is God vengeful when it comes to me? Sometimes I find myself not asking for help out of a situation because I think to myself, God probably thinks I deserve it anyway.
Is this true? Is this the kind of God He is?
I also wonder why God has allowed bad things to happen to some really, really good people.
The Long-Distance Relationship
I’ve been in a couple of long-distance relationships. Sometimes, being in a relationship with God can seem like dating that long-distance boyfriend who you never get a chance to meet up with…not even over Skype.
Speaking to Him gives you a warm, fuzzy feeling, but somehow He still remains just out of arm’s reach.
In a touchy, feely world of tangibles, it’s hard to have a relationship with someone you can’t see or touch or audibly hear.
Do you ever feel like this? Do you ever feel this disconnect with God? Does it leave you wondering who He is? Does it have you confused about how you can start to really, really get to know Him?
God created thinking beings for a reason. It’s a much braver move than many of the modern authoritarian regimes. They rule with a heavy hand, and they squash any form of questioning. The fact that God does’t do that makes me even more curious about who He is.
The Crisis of Not Questioning
In my view, these questions are good; they are valid.
Your questions, if you have any, are valid. In fact, I think there is crisis in not questioning. Questioning is healthy. Questioning indicates that there is a struggle going on inside your mind. It means you are grappling with what you can see in front of you and what remains unseen (but not necessarily nonexistent). This grappling is called faith as explained in Hebrews 11:1, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen.”
Struggle is healthy. When you stop struggling and grappling with questions, you fall into an abyss of apathy. And apathy is kryptonite to a relationship with God. When apathy is fed and allowed to grow, it evolves into disbelief. And it’s hard to come back from a place of disbelief.
Have you ever found yourself in the midst of the crisis of not questioning?
I think it’s healthier to ask the questions:
Is God actually involved in my life?
Is God moving in my life?
Is God there?
than to not ask anything at all.
Even having spent my whole life in a Christian environment, I still stop and wonder, who God is. This question of identity, this desire to understand doesn’t make me question His existence or His divinity. To me, the fact that I’m familiar with God and I am still questioning validates the fact that He is more vast than anything I can imagine. The fact that my mind revisits this question assures me that He is God. If He were small enough for me to understand Him at first glance and stick Him in a nice, neat box, He wouldn’t be God, right?
God Has an Identity
I hope you aren’t disappointed that you’ve nearly arrived to the end of this post and I haven’t neatly defined for you who God is. Rather I’ve affirmed your doubts.
But did you really come here to have me tell you who God is? Would you have believed me? Would you have felt talked down to? Would you have said you knew everything I said already anyway?
One of the clearest things I’ve learned in trying to figure out who God is is that He has an identity, whether I choose to acknowledge it or not, God truly is “I AM WHO I AM” as He calls himself in Exodus 3:14. Whether we as humans choose to acknowledge or accept it, it doesn’t change who He is.
1 John 4:8 says “God is Love”
Colossians 1:16 tells us that God is the Creator of heaven and earth.
Luke 18:27 says everything is possible with God
Deuteronomy 4:31 says God is merciful
I Timothy 1:17 says God is the “king of ages, immortal, invisible, the only God”
What I Do with Doubt
I’ve had many, many days when I’m full of doubt. Days when I let the doubt ring louder than the voice of God. Other days when I believe but I’m not full of conviction. And sometimes on those days I depend on what I can see instead of what I believe. I’ve seen tragedy and wondered how God fits into it all. I’ve had times when I’m more convinced by what my eyes can see than by who God tells me He is.
So what do I do when I doubt? What do I do when my doubts echo in my mind louder than my beliefs?
- I acknowledge that I’m feeling doubt. I acknowledge it to myself and to God. I let God know how I’m feeling and why I’m feeling it. It doesn’t mean He comes down and gives me an explanation, but it’s at least a starting point for me to sort out the thoughts in my mind.
- I look at who God has told me He is. Even if it doesn’t make sense in the situation, I review how God describes Himself. One of the clearest ways I know to assess who God is to remember what He’s done in the past. I believe one of the biggest pieces of evidence you have for God, His character and His existence is your relationship with Him. I like to think back on what I’ve seen God do in the past when I’m confronted with doubt.
- I try to see how someone else, who knows God and is in a relationship with Him has dealt with a similar situation. This can be a person from the Bible. It can be someone I know who has a prayer life with God. Finding someone I can identify with spiritually always helps me when I’m confronted with doubt.
- Most importantly, I acknowledge that my relationship with God is not a point in time, but a line plotted over a series of events that span my lifetime. It’s easy to focus on one moment in time, but like any relationship in life, it’s made of many moments in time. When I’m filled with doubt, I think of my life as a whole instead of focusing only on today.
I’m not sure what your situation is if you’re facing a child with cancer or a parent who is dying. I’m not sure if you are out of work and unsure how you’re going to feed your family. But it all seems so unfair. It makes you wonder how a good God could let such bad things happen.
So, now I ask you, “Who is God?”
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