Wednesday, July 26, 2017

God's Will

The persons in the Gospels who came to Jesus, the psalmist who prayed from the depths of his heart, essentially everyone in all the Scriptures knew that the God to whom they prayed was already working on it. They trusted that God already was who He said He was, that what they were asking for in accordance with His character was already in progress.

The persons of the Scriptures believed in a God named, "I Am."

The persons of today, not so much.

Christians of today have become far too acquainted with a little idea called "God's Will," and God's Will is something that almost always is put somewhere in the future. God's Will is whatever God will do whenever He feels like it, but not usually today. Almost never today.

And this is how we pray. You hear it all the time. We hold the hand of someone who is battling against some vicious cancer, and we pray for "God's Will" in "God's time" - God's future time when He "will" decide what to do. We don't pray for God's healing right now. We don't pray for God's presence in this moment. We don't pray for or to "I Am."

Or we present our child before the altar or the congregation, intending to dedicate him or her and bless this child in the name of the Lord. In doing so, we pray this beautiful prayer over our children, entrusting them to God's care and praying for God to guide them and to use their life "as they grow." Not today. Not in our arms right now. But the expanse of their life as it stretches out before them, particularly, we think, in those days when they are able to do something. We seem to forget that God is in our children's lives right now, even as those children are dependent upon being in our arms. Because we've given them to God's Will, not God's now.

This is how we're living our lives, and we're calling them holy. But it's not what we ever see in the Scriptures. It's not the God we see revealed in His own Word. It would have been a completely foreign concept to the people of Israel, to the Jews and the Gentiles in the New Testament, to spend their lives of faith living tomorrow instead of today. That's not what God called them to. That's not what God said. And that's not what God promised.

We're so hung up on heaven, on this idea that everything God wants to give us exists only in paradise. Only in the life that is after this one. Only tomorrow. And our hang-up on heaven is killing us. It's killing us! It's convincing us of precisely what we already know - "God will God's Will" - instead of the very thing that His entire testimony is meant to remind us - "God IS."

At the burning bush, God Is. Long after their years, God IS the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. When the baby Jesus is born, He is named Immanuel - God IS with us. Not God will be with us. God even tells us that He is the same yesterday and today and forever, but most of us are reading our Bibles to discover the God of yesterday, holding out the hope of Heaven in the God of forever, and completely forgetting that this very same God declared that HE IS today.

No wonder we're stuck praying all these polite little powerless prayers. We're looking right past "I Am" in devotion to "God's 'Will'."

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