Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Very Idea of God

One of the greatest challenges to our Christian affection for God is the very idea of of Him. We spend so much of our time trying to figure out what He is that we neglect to envelop ourselves in His very presence.

The disheartening truth is that most of us may have a thousand thoughts about God on any given day, but very few of us will have a single thought of Him.

We pontificate on the myriad characteristics of our God all while neglecting to experience them. We talk about a loving God as though this is one of the greatest things about Him, but what good is our loving God if we do not feel loved by Him? What good is it to say to a parched and famished world that our God is living water and daily bread if we do not also invite them to feast upon His gracious bounty?

What good is it if we are not feasting ourselves?

We get so wrapped up in this, talking about God the way we talk about nearly everything else in our world - news, politics, the weather. The Holy Among Us today is partly loving with a chance of grace; showers of mercy are expected to move in by later this evening. Son set is at 8:21 p.m. Make sure you say your prayers.

And we say that this is the best we can do. This is all that we can say about Him. This is the way we talk about the God that we claim so much to love.

This is the way we talk about the God who we claim claims He loves us. 

It's far too easy to do. It's what we say we want. We want to know more. We want to have more information at our fingertips. We want data to process and facts to lean upon and results to verify and research to conduct. We want to have the answers to questions we haven't even begun to ask. And I think we get so distracted trying to figure out what to say about God that we've forgotten how to testify.

We've read His story so hard, deconstructing it and breaking it down into its data-driven pieces, that we've forgotten how to live it. We study love like language and grace like math until there's nothing left to drive the rhythm of our own heartbeats, which we've broken down and studied like music. We speak of His song the way we speak of Beethoven's symphonies - great compositions that we could not begin to perform. But all the while, there's this gnawing in our spirit to sing. 

And that's the great challenge to our Christian affection for God: He has become far too academic. Far too sterile. Far too distant. The very idea of God has separated us from the very heart of Him, and we are becoming far too good at telling His story without living it. At speaking about Him without saying anything of Him at all. 

At talking about our loving God without ever feeling truly loved by Him. 

How are we ever supposed to know any good thing about love if it doesn't make our heart flutter? How could we say anything at all if we only talk and never speak? 

How do we know anything about this God of ours at all if the very idea of Him keeps us from His presence? If He is always the God we hold thoughts about and never the God who holds us?

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