While I was sitting there thinking, I realized that the way I view God is through the grid of the circumstances I've recently had hit me, the biggest of which is the death of my brother. I realized that who I see God as is very different now then it was two months ago.
Allow me to explain.
When it came my turn, I walked up to the front, and held the mic in front of me. As I stood there, I searched for some deep metaphor. None coming to mind, I grabbed the first thing that came into my mind. Having watched more than my fair share of action movies the week before (Spring break- I got my wisdom teeth out that monday) my thoughts automatically drifted to trench coats, slow motion bullets, angled sunglasses, and cookies.
How many of you have seen The Matrix?
Hands shot up
Remember the scene with The Oracle?
I see God as her. Neo walks in expecting some huge Staff-wielding All-knowing goddess and gets a black woman in a kitchen baking cookies.
I got some laughs, some blank stairs (turns out, some consider R ratings to actually be meant for 17 and older) I continued:
I think I see God differently because of where I'm at. Not that God has ever changed, he stays the same. I feel like I'm looking at a beautiful gem stone held stationary. As I move, I'm able to see different facets of that gem, how the light works through it differently, and how beautiful it truly is.
There the metaphor was
There's probably a better way to explain it, but that's all I got right now.
So there it was. God's a black cookie-baking woman.
Funny thing is, if you've read The Shack (a friend's review), this may not be far from how you now imagine God.
I've done loads and loads of sporadic processing these last weeks. I've experienced God in ways I never would have thought. Relationship means so much more to me now. I hug my friends and family harder, and say the word "love" more often. I hold my girlfriends hand with a sense of purpose, not because of some flimsy moment of emotion. When I hold conversations with people and they ask "So, how are you doing?" I answer honestly. Sometimes, I have to stop and asses, asking myself "how are you really doing, Colin?" I find myself being more real. Things like swearing, and wasting time have become less and less tempting. I find myself even thinking through friends I want to hang around more, and friends I should hang around less.
And I believe this is because of God.
1 John 4: 7-10 (message)
My beloved friends, let us continue to love each other since love comes from God. Everyone who loves is born of God and experiences a relationship with God. The person who refuses to love doesn't know the first thing about God, because God is love—so you can't know him if you don't love. This is how God showed his love for us: God sent his only Son into the world so we might live through him. This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they've done to our relationship with God.
God is love. Not just 'God loves us' or 'God is similar to love' or 'God really likes love'. GOD IS LOVE.
Back to my earlier story:
After we each told our various 'views of God' my devotions teacher came back to the front. After showing a youtube video (I may put it on here eventually if I can find it) she shared who she thought God was. The things she shared made me angry.
She said God makes us stop things we are doing because he wants the best for us. She seemed to compare him to the Almighty Parent. She implied a God that uses strong correction because it 'builds character' or 'leaves us better off'. The image of God slapping my hand telling me 'NO!' came into my head. I shuddered.
Devotions that day sent me reeling. Something I didn't realize until after I was done venting was that this teacher was operating out of her own circumstances in her life. Her own pain, if you will. The way she saw God was a direct representation of where her life was at.
That got me thinking, isn't that how all of us are? Isn't that how I am? I see things through the grid of my pain.
And yet, God is love.
I've recently decided to re-read The Shack. I found it incredibly thought provoking and intriguing the first read around. This time, however, it's hitting my core. I find tears running down my face as I read the words. My soulstrings get tugged, and my vision blurs.
I am in process.
God is love. Because of that, everything he does is out of love. His love is so profound that he lets me choose what I wish to do. No expectations, and no forcing a choice. If I choose to turn my back on him, he loves me. If I choose to run to him, arms open, he loves me. Fear of God? No! Respect? Yes! But what is respect? Respect is a direct cause of love. I love you, therefor I respect you. It all comes back to love. And not the squishy, man-made, wannabe love: love in it's purest form. The type of love I can't begin to fathom.
I'm sure you'll start to notice slight changes in my posts. What I'm seeing in myself is a shift. God is changing me moment by moment, day by day. I believe the pain I've been experiencing plays largely into this shift, and I'm ok with that. Just as a precaution: you may not be ok with that. Some things I may say in posts to follow you may not agree with. If not, feel free to speak up. I'm ok with being challanged, so long as you can acknowledge my position. Realize that I am in process, as are you. The great thing is that iron truly can sharpen iron.
I love you Papa