It’s funny how after being married for a long time you get to know the intricacies of your spouses’ language. I’ve actually come to understand the underlying meaning of many phrases that others would not comprehend. For example, sometimes when I ask my husband to do a favour for me, his response is “I guess so.” Admittedly, I tend to ask him favours on his rest day from a busy work week. But I’ve come to know that his response basically means “Yes I can, but I don’t really want to”. Because often the way I have worded the question is very much one of capability (can you), rather than one of desire (want to).
In my last blog, I wrote about unbelief and doubt. It so challenged me, that I thought I would keep thinking about it.
I have spent the last 15+ years in charismatic churches, where the underpinning value is Gods power often through the Holy Spirit. God can move and he does. God demonstrates His power frequently. But something I have realised is that its not His power that I doubt…..I struggle way more with believing in His compassion, mercy and love. Of course, I know He can do anything! I frequently hear about the great things God is doing in the world and through those around me. But rather I wonder whether He sees my plight and has compassion. When I hear the word compassion and God put into a sentence, I automatically associate it with the poor and disadvantaged. I definitely don’t associate it with my middle-class problems. How could my petty complaints compare to those who are so severely underprivileged?? And how could I possibly expect that my situation attracts the compassion of God??
I also often suspect that His mercy is restricted. I don’t know why. I just presume that there are still things that I just I don’t deserve and that He is sitting up there agreeing with me (ironically, the point of mercy is that it is undeserved!)
And I definitely still struggle to comprehend that He loves me. Well, I know and believe it mentally, but when circumstances arise the heart demonstrates my spiritual reality. I presume a lot of believers still struggle with that one too.
Somewhere deep within us…WE BELIEVE THAT GOD CAN INTERVENE, BUT WE AREN’T ENTIRELY SURE THAT HE WANTS TO. Maybe we think He is sitting on the heavenly couch, too busy binging on angelic Netflix to be fully engaged with our situations. Maybe we happen to keep bothering Him on His Sabbath day when He is out playing golf. Sometimes we don’t even ask for the breakthrough we really want, because we just presume its never going to be critical enough to make it to God’s to-do list. We aren’t necessarily too busy to pray, we just aren’t really sure it’s going to make much of a difference. After all, it’s usually my fault that I’m in the mess in the first place, maybe it’s just my cross to bear. Well, that isn’t what God meant when he said ‘Take up your cross’.
It’s clear that we don’t really comprehend the incredibly personal nature of God when we think like this. Yes, He is capable, but He is also willing. I love the words of the Psalmist who says:
“You have searched me, Lord, 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, Lord, know it completely. (Psalm 139:1-4)
Our God is absolutely devoted to us. There is no detail of our life He misses. His gaze is constant. He hears our unspoken thoughts. Our hearts are an open book to Him. This kind of intimacy is birthed through the WILLINGNESS of God to engage so personally with His children.
Gods’ decisions are probably more often an act of love than an act of power…..
CORRECTION: All of Gods’ decisions are motivated by love, including those that demonstrate His power.