Friday, March 16, 2012

The “Maybe” God

In the first chapter of Jonah, the runaway prophet sleeps in the ships hold while the storm of storms buffets the ship.  The captain is upset and wakes up Jonah and says, “The captain went to him and said, "How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us, and we will not perish." (Jonah 1:6)  Maybe your God will take notice of us and we will not perish!

I am concerned that many Christians today worship the “maybe God.”  Awhile back, I finished preaching and was challenged by a fellow believer.  He felt my direct style of preaching going verse by verse lacked a certain sensitivity needed in today’s world.  I listened and I need to be aware and sensitive but not to the expense of truth.  This man discussed the issue he raised, I suggested he no longer believed in a God who is active in our everyday lives; a God who transforms lives and picks us up from the bottom of a boat or a bar floor.  God is still in the business of being God. 

In our “overly sensitive age” we want to soften the truth to make it more acceptable.  We will allow people to wallow in despair.  Be sensitive and hope they pull themselves up by their own bootstraps.  Maybe God will show up to help; maybe not.  With this attitude, we stumble through life feeling everything that happens to us is just a “God sized crap shoot” or we feel God is punishing us.  Yes, we are very sensitive ourselves and we are very miserable. 

When I read scripture, God is involved in our everyday life and all our decisions.  Psalm 139:1-6 says:  "O LORD, you have searched me and you know me.  You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.  You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O LORD.  You hem me in--behind and before; you have laid your hand upon me.  Such knowledge is too wonderful for me, too lofty for me to attain.”

Sometimes we perceive Godly sovereign action as punishment when in reality it is Godly intervention meant for our best but hard for us to grasp in the midst of the trial.  When Jonah was being thrown over the edge of the boat, it would not have been a good time to tell him it was God’s intervention that was occurring but it was.  It sounds cruel and insensitive that God would go to these lengths to get Jonah’s attention.  Was God insensitive?  No, He was being God!  He does not want anyone to perish.  John 10:28 NIV  I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one can snatch them out of my hand.”  He pursued His runaway prophet and continued to demonstrate His love over and over again.

God moved; He didn’t “maybe” do this but He moved, intervened, rescued, and restored.  He also does the same for us through Christ Jesus.  God is not maybe God.  He is God.  Some may call His actions insensitive; I call them extreme—extreme love and extreme mercy, and I don’t mean maybe!  James 4:8 says, “Come near to God and he will come near to you. Wash your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.”

Come near us, God.  Amen.

1 comment:

QROBINSO said...

Thank you for this post. I was googling scriptures and "The 'Maybe' God" is an excellent demonstration of what Christians face today. Some days I have felt like the father of the boy Jesus healed in the Book of Mark. Mark 9:24 -
Immediately the boy’s father exclaimed, “I do believe; help me overcome my unbelief!” As paradoxical as that sounds, it is a reminder to me that one must work to stay in a constant state of belief...otherwise the world will convince you otherwise and have you doubting yourself.