Monday, August 1, 2011

Even and Especially

I wonder what I mean to accomplish with this blogging thing. I don't get the impression too many people read. Heck, most of my posts go un-commented. I do appreciate whatever readership I do get though, and at the end of the day I need to make a decision about my intentions with the whole thing. Am I interested in getting attention or just getting my ideas out there? It probably all boils down to pride in the first place anyway.

So lately I've felt like a pretty pathetic excuse for a person. I spend more time on a couch than most people spend... well, doing anything. I feel like my brain is atrophying from lack of use. While I love the time I spend with my friends, I always feel fatigued during, and then while I'm at home "resting" I feel like a sack of... what's less productive than potatoes? Summer isn't turning out to be quite what I expected. In theory, I should just ask God what He wants me to do with my summer, and I do legitimately believe that's what I ought to do, but it's turning out to be more complicated than I'd foreseen. I don't know why I ever thought following God's plan for my life would be easy. Doing the right thing seldom is.

In any case, while I experienced this period of relative stagnation, I feel like I've learned something very important about the nature of God. So many people think of God as the great judge, eager to exercise His righteous wrath against us. In a USA Today poll this year, more people believed in a judgmental God than in a loving God. This is a very tragic but very telling summary of our nation's warped view of God. Don't get me wrong, I'm not at all saying God is not capable of wrath or judgment. In fact, I believe God is the only one entitled to the latter. But the two qualities, justice and love, are not mutually exclusive, and are in fact both found in abundance in the character of our Creator.

And God is love. We can't lose sight of that. Never. That is His identify. That is His identifier. And not only does He love us, He likes us. He likes who we are, the special things about us; our talents, our dreams, these things matter to our Father who art in Heaven. And the love God exhibits toward us, the love called agape by the writers of Scripture, is unconditional in a way that could only be so with Him. This brings me to my point. God is the God of even and especially. It has has become glaringly apparent to me this summer; God loves me even and especially when I want nothing to do with Him, and God is faithful even and especially when I am not. He has plans for me even and especially when I am busy wasting away my days on a couch. His character is not dependent on my own, and His character is one of a doting Father, delighted in my successes and patient in the midst of my failures. It legitimately angers me when I hear of this judgmental, uninterested god of popular thought. Read Luke 15, the story of the prodigal son. I can't find such a god anywhere.

Pastor Dave Lanning, the senior pastor of my home church Springfield Faith Center, mentioned in his sermon this morning that peoples' views of God are seldom shaped by theology so much as they are dependent on how we think God feels toward us, how He sees us, and I believe my God sees me through father's eyes. And this makes it ok that I may never have an earthly father who sees me this way.

That brings me to my last note, and I'm not totally certain it's worth mentioning but I'm going to put it out there. I've been reading a lot of Donald Miller lately and as I read A Million Miles in a Thousand Years, I read of Miller's desire to find his father in an attempt to change the direction of his own life story. This resonated in me and so I, on a whim, decided to look around facebook to see if I could find my own father. I did, and I can't say it was a pleasant experience. A few of his photos feature his other son, his new son, and in one picture he's wearing a "super-dad" shirt. Anyone who knows anything about my story could spot the irony there pretty quickly. And I know this is petty, but he's not as fat as I'd heard he was. I tried to reach out to a few friends but to no avail, and I spent the bulk of that night in pretty bad shape. Maybe that wound isn't as healed as I'd hoped it was. It's sort of looking like I'm gonna have to address this whole mess some time soon if I want my story to keep moving forward. But the good news is, God is good even and especially in the midst of this mishegoss.


"The LORD your God is with you, 
   he is mighty to save. 
He will take great delight in you, 
   he will quiet you with his love, 
   he will rejoice over you with singing.”


- Zephaniah 3:17

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