Those 3 little letters, made into one tiny word with infinite answers. And often no answer at all.
We have a love/hate relationship—that word and I—it can illuminate wonderful discoveries or leave the questioner with hopeless frustration.
I have uttered this one-syllable word far more than I care to admit.
I have said it this month when things that I could not explain occurred. When I awoke to atrocities in our world, in my own life and the lives of those I love.
I was oblivious until I awoke.
But what’s His excuse?
In the Psalms, it says he neither slumbers or sleeps. But this past month as I’ve watched heartache, hurt and pain unfold before me, it seemed he was sleeping.
I’m tempted to believe what the world says. With ugly jeers and doubtful hearts they sneer, “Where is god, if he’s so good why would he allow this?” And because of current circumstances, the temptation is so much stronger to believe this faith of mine is in vain.
I question whether he even hears my cries.
Why do you stand afar off, O Lord? Why do you hide yourself in times of trouble? Psalm 10:1
In this weakness of mine, I long for a god I can see and touch. I long for what the religions of the world offer:
A ritual or a formula—surely there is something I can do to see the holy I long to touch. I demand an answer to my why for the ugliness and senseless acts I see all around. But when I do this I am demanding a god I can fit in my own box and in my own hand.
In these doubt-filled moments, I am the Israelites in the wilderness who made their own god when Moses was up on the mountain for too long.
This is too long, too much and I need to take things into my own hands…
It’s here that I want a safe god that doesn’t require much faith, one I can tame with my why’s and my reasoning. A god that is made in my likeness and not the other way around.
He is hidden, His works are not.
We can envy the easy answer that comes with a god you can see. The god we can control and mold to our liking and our personal taste. Not one that can’t even be seen or touched.
When pain is all too real and there is no end in sight, we want a god that plays by our rules rather than a set of cosmic ones we can’t possibly make sense of.
And so, we make our own gods;
Eyes they have;
But they see not.
Ears they have;
But they hear not.
Food spoils at their feet while their mouths are sealed shut.
Worshipers bow before them in sincere reverence, while their rigid smile and steely eyes stare on in void, mock concern.
These are made by human hands and thought up in a finite mind.
But my God…
He is the beginning and the end and needs no one to help him exist. Revelation 22:13
He allows me to wrestle with Him. Just as so many, many years ago He wrestled with a man named Jacob through the night. Genesis 32:24
He is invisible to the eye, but He is seen plainly by the works of His hands through our faith, which is all the proof we need in believing who He is. 1 Tim. 1:17, Hebrews 11:3, Romans 1:20
He is big enough to hold the oceans in his hands, which means He is big enough to hold me. Isaiah 40:12
He sees all and hears all. Psalm 94:9, Hebrews 4:13
He does not need us for anything but in His sovereign grace and love, he gives us the privilege to be a part of His plan.
And the messes humanity cause? He takes them and makes a beautiful thing out of something so ugly.
He is long-suffering towards our ugliness and hatefulness with one another. And allows us mistakes and outright disobedience while he is slow to anger during it all.
Over and over again we are given second chances.
He is forgiving, kind and full of love. He doesn’t force himself on us or make us do constant rituals and actions of penance. There are no countless ceremonies and prayers that must be said to earn our way back into His good graces. Romans 2:4, Ephesians 2:8,9
He is merciful and mindful of our state because we are made from dust. Psalm 103:14
So, the question remains: Do I really want a god that I can see?
No. The answer is no.
I choose the God that is too big to be seen with my human eyes and instead is seen perfectly with eyes of faith. His physical absence, though it hurts sometimes, reminds me that it is for my protection and for my good. And though I am left without an answer to all of my why’s, I must accept that he holds the answers in his mighty hand.
And that is exactly where they belong.
This will not be the last time I will be tempted towards a god I can touch when the question of “why” enters my mind.
When grief comes over us in waves and the pain just won’t stop, we demand a god that answers our whys and makes the nonsensical make sense to us. What we don’t realize is that he has placed this trial for a purpose to complete a process in our hearts and lives that only he is aware of.
He is God, I am not.
So, when my faith is shaking like a shoot of bamboo in a storm, I will fight to remember he has always been faithful whether I know “why” something is happening or not. And he will continue to do so until the day my eyes behold him and my faith will be made sight.
And until that day—I choose the invisible God because any other god but he is too small, too weak.
Any other god but him just isn’t God.
As always, friend, thank you for stopping by,