102 God in a Box

People often interpret the term "all-powerful" to indicate that God does it all: everything is predestined; He created the Devil to be bad, and predestined Judas to betray Him, and everything is pre-programmed, anyway, so what difference does it make, anyway, what choices I'm going to make today?

That's why we put the blame for practically anything that goes wrong on God. We hiss a sarcastic "thanks a lot!" in His direction when something doesn't go our way, because we figure He did it to tease us. After all, He's all-powerful, so He does it all, or doesn't He?

No, He does not. Just because Jesus knew that Judas was going to betray Him, doesn't mean He made him do it. The same applies to the fall of Satan, or the Fall of Man with Adam & Eve. He didn't make'em do it. Nor does He make any of us do the stupid things we do, nor is He the one causing all our troubles.

As James put it in his epistle: "Let no man say when he is tempted, 'I am tempted by God.' Because God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does Hed tempt anyone." (James 1:13).

Everybody has their own specific job in the Big Picture, and the Devil has chosen (God didn't make him do it) to take on the role of the tempter. That's his job (with the help of his cohorts, that is, both flesh & blood and spiritual). It's our Savior's job to save us out of the mess we allow ourselves to get into when we fall for the Enemy of our soul's temptations by choosing to say "yes" to them, instead of no, like a foolish kid who simply doesn't have the strength of character to refuse his first cigarette or drug. (Been there! - Repeatedly!)

On one hand we refuse to give credit to our Maker for all the good things He does; we even refuse to give Him credit for His very creation, preferring to believe the total nonsense that it has somehow come about by itself. On the other, we blame everything bad that ever happened on Him: "How could He allow that?" Well, allowing things to happen is what free choice is all about, but it still isn't the same as making them happen, or making us do it.

We have to realize that God is the good Guy, waiting there at the other end of the tunnel to take us Home again, the One Who sent His Son to become like us in order to save us, because He loves us. That means, He's our Friend, not our Enemy.

Even people who believe in Him since decades can get upset at God and blame everything that goes wrong on Him (I know what I'm talking about). It's because we swallow the deception of His enemy, which is very clever indeed: Satan projects his own profile and personality on God, so that what we see or imagine when we think of God is actually the tyrant, the big head honcho who wants to run the whole show and accuse and condemn us as soon as we make a mistake.

But that's not Who God is. God prefers to remain in the background, He doesn't run the whole show the way His opponent is getting ready to do, with all his pompous ado. Look at Jesus, His Son: He wasn't a super star, no big politician or even a religious head honcho. According to His own words, He didn't even have a bed. He was a lowly and humble carpenter's son, and for 3 years He pursued a public ministry of healing and teaching, never once seeking fame in any of what He did, never trying to be the "cool guy," just doing what needed to be done, saying what needed to be said, and then getting out of the way to let His followers pick up where He left of. He even promised them, "You will do greater things than I did!"

So, next time we tend to get upset with God (and I'm preaching to myself here, more than anyone else), let's try to remember Who and what God really is. He's not the bad guy that the Devil is trying to make Him out to be. He's the good Guy Who's going to save us out of this mess.

Alright then, sometimes we think He could or ought to be doing that a little sooner than He actually does, and we get impatient with Him for not saving us immediately at the onset of the slightest pain or trial. But maybe it's because we haven't called Him for help yet. After all, we're trying to do everything else in our own strength, so that we can pat ourselves on the back for the hard workers we are, so why should He barge in on us unsolicited? Or do you know anybody who is actually trusting in God for their daily bread, instead of their own arm of the flesh? I'm not saying those people don't exist, but they're a rare breed, and certainly not your average church attendant or preacher.

God is not the liar, the thief, the culprit, nor the one trying to cheat us out of our happiness, and the sooner we realize that, the greater favor we'll be doing ourselves.

Our false concept & picture of God (perhaps that's why one of His commandments was not to make an image of Him, because no matter how hard we try, it'll always fall short of the Real Thing?) is probably what makes us want to keep Him locked up in the box we have built Him for a home: the church building. Nicely and safely locked up for 6 days and 23 hours a week (with few exceptions), and only let loose upon our spirits to torment us for that one dreadful hour on Sunday mornings... Well, thankfully, that Pollyanna type of churchiantity has waned over the past decades (otherwise no one would be going to church anymore at all), but most people I know want to keep God out of their private lives, and when they want to have fun, they don't want to think about Him. "You're the bad Guy, You go back inside Your box!"

Personally, if God is Love, and love is what I happen to enjoy most, I'd like to have Him around and enjoy Him as much as possible. After all, if He's cool enough to have created all of the things & people I like best, then who knows what other fun stuff He might possibly be up to? So, I think I'm going to pull God out of my "grump corner" (I don't have a church building to stick Him in, so that had to do for now), and invite Him to tug along next time I'm going out to have some fun. Maybe I'll live to tell y'all how it went.

Most people obviously think they're better off and doing just fine without Him, but I guess people's idea of fun varies a lot, and can differ as drastically as my personal music taste from my daughter's. But I'd still recommend the idea of giving God a chance to be your friend. Who knows? Maybe it'll turn out that He's the best you ever had!

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