- Religion and Philosophy
Yes! God loves me, but I need more
I thought that would get your attention.
I found this paragraph in a prayer I read recently.
"We invest so much of our lives looking and lusting for favor - wanting to be wanted, needing to be needed, craving to be celebrated, and aching to be accepted... intensely looking for intimacy. I grieve over how I've looked to people and work, to education and exercise, to money and things, even to spiritual disciplines and ministry to give me what you alone give us so freely and fully in the gospel, your undiluted unconditional acceptance and delight."
What do you make of it? The author is a godly man I truly respect and admire. His prayers have stimulated my own prayers. I certainly admire his honesty, humility and zeal for the Lord and for his kingdom. And yet there is something about these words I find unsettling.
Why did God create Eve?
God himself judged that it is not good that the man be alone. Wonder why God himself didn't offer Adam company, suitable help, intimacy and conversation. Or might God have created the man with needs that even He could not meet? Well, at least not directly. He did create Eve. Adam went wild! "This at last is bone of my bones and flesh of my flesh...!" Do you hear the longing of his heart?
I can't imagine God being displeased with Adam's fit of pleasure. God himself brought Eve to him. At that moment God was not at the center of Adam's praise. In fact, God took a back seat to allow his creatures to revel in each other. I love that about God.
Love one another
I love to feel the embrace my wife and kids, to enjoy the approval of my boss, to find satisfaction in a job will done, to take pride in an achievement, to endure gracefully a challenge. Conversely, absent these, I feel a certain emptiness. I may even strategize to gain them. Is God sitting back feeling sidelined by my enjoying these earthly and temporal satisfactions? Don't think so.
If he commands us to love one another, sooner or later we'll be the recipient of somebody's love. Does he expect us to reject it lest we dishonor Him, the ultimate source of all that is good? Of course not. In fact a sure mark of godly humility and grace is our willingness to accept love and compassion from others.
He is so great that he need not be great!
I have a hard time wrapping my brain around that, but it's true. God is so self-sufficient and secure in all his grandeur that He can stand aside to allow his creatures to delight each other...with abandon no less. And when we suffer the loss of some earthly comfort, he doesn't begrudge our sorrow. Jesus wept over Lazarus' death. Does that reveal a lapse in his fellowship with God the Father? Of course not!
Where's the line
1.Whatever of this world I enjoy is it received with genuine thanksgiving to God the ultimate giver of all that is good? I don't mean a mindless "Thank You, Lord" when something good happens. Rather do I have a heart disposition akin to surprise that God should be so good to me. It's the opposite of feeling entitled to something.
2.Might I consider a shady strategy to secure or keep some earthly satisfaction? If I contemplate what is clearly offensive to God and hurtful to others as a means to secure what I want, surely my heart is in the wrong place.
If I'm thankful for what I receive and hold it with a loose grip, not striving by sinful means to secure it, then I'm free to enjoy it all with abandon. God delights in my delight.
On the other hand, if I grasp for every crumb of earthly goods as though entitled to it and sink into despair over not having what I want, clearly the prayer quoted above is for me. In so doing I've become a practicing idolater. That's when God gets jealous and rightfully so.
I know the struggle the author of the prayer faces. I'm right there with him. There's a huge difference between appropriate enjoyment of earthly satisfactions and making those satisfactions what I live for? Given our sinful infatuation with ourselves, we lean easily toward the latter. I've been guilty often. So my friend's confession above is right on the money.
But sometimes I fall off the other side of the horse. I feel guilty for having needs and a little uncomfortable when those needs are met abundantly. I wonder if God is ok with my feeling hurt when someone savages me. What does he make of my feeling taken for granted when I'm not appreciated? Those times don't need a confession but rather a new appreciation of God's presence. He whispers, "Yes, it's a broken world, but it won't always be. Just wait 'till you see what I've got waiting for you."