At 7 every Thursday morning, I walk into Paris Yates Chapel at Ole Miss. Light pours through the stained glass and it just feels like the perfect way to start the day.
Girls start to trickle in and enjoy muffins, fruit, power bars or whatever the hostess of the morning brought for breakfast. We open our time together by sharing a little of what’s going on in our souls and then launch into our study, of “The God Who Is”.
“There is a God we want, and there is a God who is—and they are not the same God. The turning point of our lives is when we stop seeking the God we want and start seeking the God who is.” -The God Who Is
Satan is limited in his presence, power and knowledge. None of these things limit my God. My God is omnipresent, omnipotent and all-knowing. Yet, often I forget or get a twisted view of His Kingship over the world and my life reflects it pretty quickly.
C.S. Lewis said what we think about God is the most important thing about ourselves and I’ve seen this to be profoundly true in my life. Especially in times of suffering. To the degree to which I know I am loved, that is the level of trust I’ll have. What I’m learning is that God is not someone who loves me, but someone who IS LOVE and because of Jesus, can’t do anything BUT love me. Even when His love for me feels like the painful round of shots I take my kids to get at their pediatrician’s office. He is Love and that changes my life and changes my day.
“We are never beyond the Shepherd’s eye. In our sorrows He observes us incessantly, and not a pang escapes Him; in our toils He sees all our weariness, and writes in His book all the struggles of His faithful ones. These thoughts of the Lord encompass us in all our paths and penetrate the innermost regions of our being. Not a nerve or tissue, valve or vessel of our bodily organization is uncared for: all the littles of your little world are thought of by our great God.” -Charles Spurgeon
That’s all good…except for when reading my Bible feels like returning my Walmart shopping cart to where it belongs…and except for when I don’t really want to see God as holy and full of wrath toward the ungodly, because that would include me and my breaking the speed limit, rolling my eyes at a coworker and screaming at my child for stuffing an entire roll of toilet paper down the drain in the bathtub. I don’t really want Him to be a thrice-holy God who hates sin because that means I too am deserving of death. I much prefer Him to be the “man upstairs” who is detached from my dailiness.
When I look at this jealous, vengeful, fiercely loving God in the pages of Scripture and see Him as the same in the Old Testament as in the New, I see one who protects and provides in all His “holy, holy, holy” ways. And I want that fierce Father rather than the grandfather who winks at my sin. When I see God as He truly is, I can clearly see myself as I truly am–practically damned but positionally perfect in Christ–it changes my life and it changes my day.
My life and my days are being changed. Little by little, anxiety by anxiety, judgement, discouragement and strong will by love of control, He is changing my view of Him and of myself. He’s teaching me and He’s teaching the girls I’m studying with, that we are no longer orphans whose solution to failure is to “try harder”, but rather, adopted and dearly loved sons. We are free from worry because of God’s love for us and we GET to learn to live in daily partnership with Him. What joy!
Just like when your daddy’s been away on a hunting trip for three days (hypothetically speaking, of course) and you see him coming up the driveway and in a loud, lispy voice you scream, “Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!” you throw your arms around His neck, because you know you’re loved. You know you’re protected and chosen and loved and cared for. Just like that, in Jesus you are freely accepted in the Beloved. Your life is changed and your day is changed because of who He is. Emmanuel, God with us!
What do you think? Are some of His attributes hard for you? Confusing? Freeing?
Have you ever studies the attributes of God? The God Who Is study is so great. I highly recommend it. Also, we’ve supplemented our study with A.W. Pink’s Attributes of God, Tozer’s The Knowledge of the Holy and 20 Basic Beliefs by Wayne Grudem.
What are the ways you need Him today? What are your greatest burdens, desires, frustrations, annoyances, joys and sadnesses? I hope these spiritual growth resources will minister to you because He is the Great I AM…for you!