Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Dangerous

A Mighty God

8"For my thoughts are not your thoughts,

neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.

For as the heavens are higher than the earth,

so are my ways higher than your ways

and my thoughts than your thoughts."

Isaiah 55; 8 & 9

"God is GOOD but He is NOT SAFE....He is trustworthy but He did ordain pain." Tullian Tchividjian preaching on Job

I wrote this quote on my Facebook status and my friend Brenda asked me to elaborate and it is right along some of the lines that I have been thinking about lately. Who God is: the character of God. There is a problem with the view of God is ALL Loving which quite often means ALL Loving and nothing else. How often do we define the Love of God by human standards? If something is distasteful, hard to understand, difficult to describe and just outright hard to swallow, then My God would not do that, say that, have the authors of the Bible write that or assign that to GOD. My God is Good all the time. This is a distortion that I believe has permeated the modern American Christian church and it has touched me as much as any other American Christian.

So the last 5 years, the LORD has drawn me, to take a closer at Him for all that He is including not being safe. I don't think it is a case of semantics, God may lead us through dangers and what some may say is not safe AND ALMIGHTY GOD is NOT Safe. I will do my best to stick to this one characteristic of GOD, The Lion of Judah.

In my comment to my status I quoted from C.S. Lewis' The Horse and His boy from the Chronicles of Narnia.

The character Aslan, the Lion (for those not familiar with the story) is the one speaking with the boy, Shasta toward the end of the book:

"I was the lion who forced you to join with Aravis. I was the cat who comforted you among the houses of the dead. I was the lion who drove the jackals from you while you slept. I was the lion who gave the Horses the new strength of fear for the last mile so that you should reach King Lune in time. And I was the lion you do not remember who pushed the boat in which you lay, a child near death, so that it came to shore where a man sat, wakeful at midnight, to receive you."

"Then it was you who wounded Aravis?"

"It was I"

"But what for?"

"Child," said the Voice, "I am telling you your story, not hers. I tell no one any story but his own."

Aslan is the character who represents Christ throughout the Chronicles. He is also the only character that is in all 7 books. I do not believe this is a misrepresentation of the Triune God. The One whose character is written of from Genesis to Revelation. At this point, I am thinking that I could make this a series of posts.

Let us start with Genesis and see His character displayed. A global flood sent by Almighty God, only Noah and His family survive:

"The LORD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. 6And the LORD was sorry that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. 7So the LORD said, "I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heavens, for I am sorry that I have made them." 8But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD." Genesis 6; 5-8

Abraham pleads with the LORD not to destroy Sodom and Gomorrah

Abraham goes back and forth with the Lord in Genesis 18 and finally at the end of the discourse, the Lord says, "For the sake of the ten I will not destroy it." I suppose if you have read the Bible or even if you haven't, most people have heard references to Sodom and Gomorrah and know what happened:

15"As morning dawned, the angels urged Lot, saying, "Up! Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, lest you be swept away in the punishment of the city." 16But he lingered. So the men seized him and his wife and his two daughters by the hand, the LORD being merciful to him, and they brought him out and set him outside the city. 17And as they brought them out, one said, "Escape for your life. Do not look back or stop anywhere in the valley. Escape to the hills, lest you be swept away." 18And Lot said to them, "Oh, no, my lords. 19Behold, your servant has found favor in your sight, and you have shown me great kindness in saving my life. But I cannot escape to the hills, lest the disaster overtake me and I die. 20Behold, this city is near enough to flee to, and it is a little one. Let me escape there—is it not a little one?—and my life will be saved!"21He said to him, "Behold, I grant you this favor also, that I will not overthrow the city of which you have spoken. 22Escape there quickly, for I can do nothing till you arrive there." Therefore the name of the city was called Zoar.

23The sun had risen on the earth when Lot came to Zoar. 24Then the LORD rained on Sodom and Gomorrah sulfur and fire from the LORD out of heaven. 25And he overthrew those cities, and all the valley, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and what grew on the ground.26But Lot’s wife, behind him, looked back, and she became a pillar of salt." Genesis 19; 15-26

I hate to quit writing now. (Still in Genesis) This Fearsome God asks Abraham to sacrifice his son Isaac! WHAT?! Nations are going to be blessed through the descendants of a burnt offering? Wood on the back of Isaac, the fire and a knife in the hands of Abraham and Isaac asks, "Where is the Lamb?" The question must have made Abraham's blood run cold, what would you say to the one who you were about slay? Would you be weak in the knees? Abraham trusted God enough to what? Raise Isaac from the dead? He trusted God so much he was able to say, "God will provide for himself the lamb for a burnt offering, my son." Genesis 22; 8

So, I am in the Old Testament that is the beginning of the story of Our God who is the same yesterday, today and forever. Did God change at Matthew 1; 1? I don't think so. From Genesis 1 God says, Let Us make man in Our image. God, the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit were present throughout Old Testament and continuing in the New. He is Unchanging. This Fearsome, Just, Almighty, Righteous, Merciful and Loving God is to be feared, to be loved and to be honored. God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit, three persons in One God is to be known for Who He is not who we want Him to be.

As is listed in my religious views on my Facebook Profile, "I see through a mirror dimly." It is my desire to get to know my Heavenly Father for who He is and this far into the journey, I think that I am just scratching the surface and I have a feeling that is how I will feel at the end of my journey here on earth. Lately, I am discovering more and more who God is and doing my best to keep my eyes and ears open. It is a humbling path because there have been times when I thought I knew who my God was and that was the problem, He was My God and not the One who had rescued me from sin and death. My prayer is that I remain teachable for the rest of my life and never to stop hungering and thirsting for the Living God.

Peace,

Catherine ie Caitriona

4 comments:

Debbie said...

Catherine,

I'd rather be sitting with you chatting over some hot chocolate, but this will have to do for now....I have always loved that C.S. Lewis passage and, like you, believe it accurately reflects Christ. Yet, while in one sense God is not safe (his children endure cancers, starvation, slaughter), it seems there is no safer place to be than under His care.

I don't think this is a case of semantics, but of "larger view" vs. "smaller view". We, like Abraham and the Pevensie children, experience life in the "smaller view", but there is a "larger view". God is knitting many lives and many epochs together for His good purposes. This life is not safe: We are guaranteed pain and struggle (2 Peter). Yet He promises to "work all things (the not-safe) out for the good (the ultimately safety) of those who love Him".

A friend told me about a book she's been reading that differentiates "nice" from "good". I wonder if part of the difficulty in talking about a safe God is that we think of safety primarily in terms of "nice" and "comfortable" rather in terms of "good".

Whacha think?

Deb

Caitriona aka Catherine said...

I would love to know which Deb this is....am I sitting in Brockton MA, In South Florida, or in the Deep Freeze of MN....with hot chocolate....I am blessed with 3 dear sisters named Deb.
So Yes, I agree that the safest place in the World is in the Care of Our Heavenly Father. Isn't it ironic that He is not always Safe but Fearsome, Mighty indeed and at the same time Our Refuge, our Hiding Place.
The danger that I believe has happened in some of Modern American Christianity/Evangelicalism is painting a picture of a Peace and Love kind of Jesus forgetting that He is Also the One who turned the tables of the money changers, one of the gospel says he fashioned a whip.
Another distinction that I was trying to make clear in my post is that when we talk of God being NOT safe, I am not talking about our circumstances but the nature of Our God and the impact that He has upon us.
I am not a big fan of the word "nice" and I think that how we define words and what God means when He says good in the Word can be to totally different meanings....we need to ask what does God mean when he says...."Only God is good?"

It would be great to have a conversation over hot chocolate...I have to fly but I wanted to at least respond.
Love,
C.

Debbie said...

You would be sitting in a warm Minnesota kitchen in a house that is quieter than in years gone by, but is still populated with 3 teenagers and a gentle moose-sized dog. I miss you, my friend. Deb

Caitriona aka Catherine said...

Debbie,
Since I do love to travel and I have just one older teen at home, I may be freer to travel more for pleasure which I did do last summer with Katie to the Pacific Northwest to visit dear friends. I think your kitchen is a great destination especially if I am sitting across the table from you.
Now I am off to post another post relating to Our Heavenly Father Reigning King and The Lamb of God.
I miss you too! Love, Cat.