Sometimes I listen to others tell about their life with God and I don't understand. I listen as they talk about not really feeling threatened by Satan and some act as if he doesn't exist at all. I hear them talk about these preachers that they hear on television and how it seems as though they believe that God just sits on His throne in Heaven and waits to hand out rewards and blessings.
A member of my extended family once told me that she wanted to introduce me to God. I was pretty insulted because I've known Him personally for about 34 years now and her introducing me just didn't seem necessary. I wasn't really interested in anything she had to say, but there were times when I was caught in situations where she got a chance to share with me about God. I don't know Him like she does. She knows someone who can be manipulated by the actions of humans. She knows someone who rains down blessings on those who produce magic formulas. She believes that if you do A, B, and C, then God has to follow up with D and E. She believes that if you tithe, read your Bible methodically, go to church, and hand out some tracts from one of her Word of Faith ministers that God owes you rewards for your efforts.
She's right....I don't know him. I have no idea who he is.
I have to be honest. The hardest thing I have ever done in my life is to serve God. What do I mean by that, you ask. You see, the God I know is the God of the Bible. I don't remember ever reading where you could work a formula with God. I know a God who is not controlled by human forces. He is not swayed by our futile attempts to make Him anything less than what He is,
I know the God of Job. I know the God who asked Satan where he had been, knowing the answer was that he was roaming the earth seeking whom he might devour. And what did God do? He pointed out His servant Job, a man who although he wasn't perfect, was an upright man who tried his best to serve God. God basically said, "Have you checked out my boy named Job? Have you seen hid dedication to me?" And Satan said of course he loves you, why wouldn't he? And what did God do? He basically gave Satan power to touch anything Job had except he couldn't take his physical life. God sat back and let Job lose everything he had. Yes, he rewarded him beyond measure, but he let him be tested in ways that most of us could not hope to withstand. He allowed him to be pruned so he could grow and influence those who would study his life.
I know the God of Hosea. Hosea was a man of God. God told him to take a wife....an immoral, promiscuous woman who had no capability to be faithful to him. Hosea followed God and found himself in a relationship with a woman who mothered children for him to father that were not all his. She was restless and unfaithful, and what did God ask Hosea to do again and again? Hosea was to take her back, just like God did for Israel and for us. Hosea represented a picture of God's love for us.
I know the God of David. The God who saw the heart of a simple shepherd boy and chose him to be a king. The God who taught David to trust Him...enough trust to face a giant that no one else was willing to face. The God who loved David through his battles....both the successful ones and the not so great ones. The God who gave him consequences along with blessings.
I know the God of Paul. I know the God who watched a man named Saul who vehemently hated Christians. A man who had such passion and dedication to persecute the people of God. And what did God do with this man? He chose him. He met him one day on a road and changed his name to Paul. He took the same passion and dedication this man possessed to do wrong, and channeled it to make him a great influence on generations of Christians. He used who he was but changed his direction.
I know the God of Michelle. He has given her an opportunity to develop a personal relationship with the Most High God. He has taught her that He is in control and she isn't. He has taught her that sometimes you have to be hurt in order to grow. He has taken someone who had no real story and given her a story that has become her own. He has shown Himself to be a God who loves unconditionally and without reservation. He loves with the love of a parent. Sometimes He applauds from the stands, sometimes He brings out the paddle, sometimes He says no to something she really wants, and always He waits to hold her when she cries. She knows a God who has allowed her to walk through the valley of the shadow, yet never left her alone. She would rather walk in the deepest darkest hell with Him, then to go alone in any glorious light. He is hers, and most importantly, she is His, and nothing else matters.