Stuck in my Pocket

Stuck in My Pocket for Safekeeping

It’s that time of year again…our leadership training has started up (albeit with a completely new set of characters) and once again I will occasionally be posting my reflections here for you to read.  Sorry, I can’t remember what the question was that we were supposed to respond to:

It’s surprising how many people believe in deism – a distant, unknowable God, someone who created the world and then abandoned it. At work, many of my colleagues are uncomfortable with my claim to have a personal relationship with God. I’m uncomfortable with their belief that there is a God but they have no right/desire/ability to know him.

Ian Ashby constantly cautions against regarding Jesus as someone we rub for good luck and then stick in our pocket for safekeeping. Still, at church, I’ve heard the statements (mainly from visitors) that “Christianity is a personal thing and shouldn’t be discussed publicly” and “whatever Jesus tells you to do, must be right.” They speak as if Jesus is a personal advisor or chiropractor who can be booked to give advice or straighten out my back.

Some would say that the God of the Old Testament was a distant, vengeful God. But when anyone studies the history of Israel (the Exodus, Moses’ encounter with the burning bush, divine intervention during the exile) or the prophets (speaking of God weeping over his people and calling them back to himself) they see that God was actively involved and concerned with the fate of his people. What the Jews were looking for (a Warrior King to restore their authority and preside over them) and what the Jews got (a humble Savior restoring mankind’s broken relationship with God) could never be described as a remote God or a feel-good God.

Would a remote God answer my prayers in miraculous ways? Would a feel-good God allow me to go through desert experiences? My understanding of God continues to grow, like a staircase with each step building on the ones before it. At university, I saw a God who had divinely orchestrated history. In Russia, I saw a compassionate and merciful God who is greater than languages and cultures. In my church, I see a God who accepts and sanctifies all who call on His name. Recently I have found myself mulling over the concept of adoption – our highest calling. Would a distant God adopt me as his daughter? Would a therapeutic God want to be Father to a package of conflicting emotions, inconsistencies and sinful desires? What a great privilege and awesome responsibility we have to know God and to present a correct view of Him to those around us.


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