Is God Mean, Indulgent … Or What?


I’ve decided to declare a universal decree for the world. Are you ready for it?

Here it is: if you are 60 years old or more, you can repeat yourself and no one can say anything about it.

Today, I’m going to invoke my universal rule and repeat a statement that I read which comes from one of the darlings of the new atheists, Richard Dawkins. It’s already been in Coffee Stains once.

Dawkins in his book, God Delusion tries to mock God: “Such a bandwidth! God, who may not have a brain made of neurons, or a CPU made of silicon, but if he has the powers attributed to him he must have something far more elaborately and non-randomly constructed than the largest brain or the largest computer we know.”

You know, if you’re going to make fun of someone you’ve got to do better than that. God fills the universe but He’s there when the smallest baby screams, “hello,” to the world.

Mr. Dawkins, God is so much more than that.

What is God like anyway? We say, “all-powerful, everywhere present, all-knowing and eternal.” That’s a good start but it’s not enough. Imagine someone like that with the personality of Adolph Hitler. We’d be in big trouble.

So there’s something else about Him that’s vital to our well-being: He’s good, completely good.

I’m not sure we preachers clear things up for people either. Some read parts of the Bible and preach a scary God. It’s true we must fear (respect) the Lord, but He’s more than simply a far away God waiting to zap your slightest failing that some would have you believe in.

Others major on God’s mercy but the God they come up with is more like an over-year indulgent parent: “Now, you should stop that sweetheart or I’ll have to tell your dad and he might try to make you eat your green beans.”

Honestly, I’ve read so many opinions of God that I’m sometimes a bit confused. It’s impossible to reduce humans to one single characteristic and in a sense it’s the same with God.

He’s a lot of things.

But, what is God like? He’s what the Bible says He is, but how does that apply to me? I heard a song recently that I really like. Chris Tomlin sings:

“I’ve heard a thousand stories of what they think you’re like,

But I’ve heard the tender whispers of love in the dead of night,

And you tell me that you’re pleased

And that I’m never alone

You’re a good good father

It’s who you are, it’s who you are, it’s who you are

And I’m loved by you

It’s who I am, it’s who I am, it’s who I am.”*
And it got me to thinking. I know the Lord is with me all the time but the times I’ve felt Him REALLY close, well, I could count those on the fingers of one hand.

Most of those times came at major points in my life. They all have one thing in common though; when I felt Him closest I was overwhelmed by His love and acceptance. I’ve never felt love like that anywhere else.

I know that’s my experience and experience is subjective. But, I concluded that is what God is like. He’s greater than His universe. He’s before time and after time.

What makes it all worthwhile, though, is the fact that He loves me … and you. He proved that in sending the One He loved perfectly, Jesus, to die to bring us back into right relationship with Him.

I think that must be the first thing thing we see when we see Him. God is love. The fruit of the Spirit is love.

“Consider the incredible love that the Father has shown us in allowing us to be called ‘children of God’—and that is not just what we are called, but what we are.” (1 John 3:1 PHILLIPS)

When I think about God, I’m going to start there. “You love me, Lord!” And you can start there because He does love you, too.

Hey, you know what? I’ve been thinking. That new universal rule that I was talking about at the beginning of this Coffee Stain? The one about being able to repeat yourself at will?

Well, I want to make an amendment. Let’s don’t say that everyone over 60 can repeat themselves all the time. Let’s just say that I can repeat myself all the time.

Some of you, I’ve heard that story five times and I’m tired of it.


Hmmm …

“It becomes ever clearer to me that we really don’t need more books, tapes, broadcasts, sermons and the like to “teach” us how to live the Christian life. What we need are relationships with people who know Christ (experientially) and can help us know Him at our point of need.” As Iron Sharpens Iron: Building Character in a Mentoring Relationship (Howard G. Hendricks and William D. Hendricks)

*Songwriters: Anthony Brown / Joseph Patrick Martin Barrett

Good Good Father lyrics © Capitol Christian Music Group

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