DayBreaks for 3/12/20: A Harder God to Believe In
I don’t know who said this, but I found it resonated with my own spirit:
“What I am displeased with is my own living of life. I feel an acute sense that I ought to have done better with the circumstances I was given. This is one of the reasons why it cut me so deeply when people suggested that suffering is God’s discipline — because I find it so very, very easy to believe in a God who is profoundly disappointed in me.
“It seems utterly natural to believe in the Disappointed God, because I myself am disappointed. He must be even more disappointed, I think, because his standards are so much higher than mine. How could he not be disappointed? That makes complete sense to me.
“It’s the other God, the God who does not experience that kind of disappointment, the God who sees me the way that Prodigal Son’s father saw him — that is the harder God for me to believe in. It takes work for me to believe in that God.”
It takes me no effort whatsoever to believe in a God who is very thoroughly disappointed in me. I am now a minister of the gospel, but it took me nearly 25 years to get to this point – 25 years of secular work. Yes, I was serving in the church all that time, but not in what I believe I was called to do. And even though I can see how, in His wisdom, He has used all the things I did and learned in the secular work world to be a better pastor (though I still have much to learn!), I can believe He might have been frustrated with me for not going into the ministry right away (as I considered doing.)
And, even if I concede to myself that I was still serving God and perhaps even doing what I was supposed to be doing for those 25 years, I can still look at my life and think, “Galen – you really should be further along than you are in your faith walk with Jesus. Your faith is still shaky. You still struggle with some of the same old sins that have plagued you for years. You quench the Spirit from time to time – far too often, actually. You are not generous. You can be envious. You could be a much better husband than you are and a better pastor to the flock, too.” Those thoughts come easily. And I’m sure that similar thoughts come easily to you in your own situation.
What a change took place in my life when I learned that God was running towards me to embrace me and weep at my feeble attempts to come to Him! Do I believe that that God is real – that He is the God I’ve sought to serve all these years? Yes…but it is harder. It is harder to accept grace than to live with the whip of the lash. I feel I deserve the lash, but instead of the lash on my back, I feel the Father’s arm as He puts on the robe of righteousness that Christ wore around His shoulders. I feel His tears against my cheek – not tears of sadness or despair, but tears of exultant joy. He takes pleasure in me…and that’s a hard God to believe in.
PRAYER: How desperately we need reminders that You run to us, not from us, and that You rejoice in us through Jesus! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>