Let me begin by saying that it is impossible to describe the nature or person of God in any list of merely three things. Having said that, I would like to share what rings true for me today. I believe that our view of God and relationship with God change from day to day and year to year. This fall has been a busy time for me and I rejoice in the business. It is also a time that has been difficult for me as I continue to struggle with depression. My sister-in-law reminded me, correctly so, that depression is just a distraction and I know all about distractions. (grin)
God is God.
These three simple words are so loaded with meaning that I could spend the rest of my days exploring their significance. To Luther, Gottes Gottheit was the simple and inseparable idea that God and creating are one in the same. “All things must be God’s since nothing can be or become, if he would not bring it into existence; and when he stops, nothing can continue to exist.” (Martin Luther)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
John 1:1-3 (NIV)
At the burning bush, Moses met the God who is God. His presence in the fire of the bush did not consume the bush, for He needed nothing from the bush to be present in that place. He described himself to the weak-kneed Moses as the “I Am.” His presence is a never-ending attribute of His nature. Life could not exist without His constant care. As God, He alone is sovereign over all creation, both seen and unseen.
What great comfort there is in the simple fact that God is God. I am not, you are not . . . it is a title held by the only one capable of being God.
God is Good.
While many may argue with our first premise that God is God, I believe the larger issue that keeps people from a relationship with Christ is a lack of recognition that God is good. People look at a world falling apart full of sickness, violence, poverty, and death, and say, “If God is God, He certainly is not good.” I have just one word for them: Broken. We are a broken people living in a broken world. Broken not by God’s choosing or action, but by our own doing. In a world of perfect harmony and peace, man chose to rebel by breaking God’s one request and listening to the voice of the tempter.
In the Garden, Satan began to change man’s image, and their reality of who God was and what He expected of His people. Today’s culture is working hard to change our image of God and what He expects of His people. I can’t blame those who are trying to change God . . . they have to. They cannot continue to murder millions of unborn baby without changing who God is, since the God who declares Himself the I AM will not stand for it. They cannot continue to change the definition of marriage and relationship without creating a new God, since the God of the Bible will not stand for it.
If we lose the idea that God is good, it opens the door to many reasons why we should have nothing to do with Him. I know from the testimony of scripture and God’s working within my life that He is indeed good. Only a God that is good can take anything that happens to His children in a broken and bleeding world and use it for their benefit and His Glory.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28 (NIV)
God is Loud.
Many today would claim that God is silent, that He does not speak. God is far from silent, but we often are not listening. We live in a world filled with noise. We are bombarded by the sounds of cell phones, traffic, construction, media, and so much more. We have cars that talk to us, and it seems these days that everything we own beeps to alert us of something. But it’s not just sound that bombards us; we are surrounded by light. My office in the evening, when the day is over and my computers have “gone to sleep,” looks like the runway for incoming alien ships. There are glowing lights everywhere.
Our streets are filled with lights . . . our parking lots glow with light, visible, I am sure, from space. The other night, I was at Big Sandy Camp in northern Minnesota, and one of the boys on this father-son retreat said, “Look at all the stars up here!” While I know that the number of stars in the sky does not change from the city to the backwoods, I do know that we have lost the wonder and witness of the night sky.
The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Psalm 19:1 (NIV)
I know that God’s voice can be heard when I take time to listen. He speaks to me through His Word, through the witness and words of others, and certainly through the grandeur of His creation. The colors of fall call out in celebration of the One who gives life to all things . . . if we but take our eyes off our phones long enough to notice. Today, as many days, God has spoken to me in words of encouragement from the Body of Christ, in the lyrics of a Christian song, and in His most direct way through His Word.
In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed heir of all things, and through whom he made the universe.
Hebrews 1:1-2 (NIV)
God is God. God is Good. God is Loud. These are all ideas that I struggle with in my life. At times, I put myself and my needs into first place in my life, claiming the role of God. I forget that, in the struggles and circumstances of life, God stands present with a voice to remind me that this was not His plan, but that He will redeem both the moment and my life. I also am prone to getting caught up in the voices of the world, which lead me to believe that I am in this alone, and draw my attention away from the voice of God.
So, I write these words to remind me that God is . . .
SOMETHING TO PONDER: How would you complete the sentence, “God is . . .”? Join the conversation.