Let me start by making it perfectly clear that I am not God. I don’t think I am God, and in fact, I don’t want to be God.
I am, however, made in the image of God (according to Genesis), and so are all other human beings, so it is likely we can get a glimpse of God, every now and then, when interacting with other people. Especially people we love and care about.
Take my son, for example. I have 5 daughters and 1 son, so I guess you could say, he’s my only begotten son. He is no one’s saviour, though, even though he is sacrificing himself.
He is a drug addict. He doesn’t communicate with me. The last phone number I had for him doesn’t work anymore, and I don’t know where he lives.
I am not whining about these things, though I do grieve the loss of the life he could have had. I am telling you these things, because I want you to know what I have learned about God through this situation. They are things I already knew and could pontificate about already, but now, that intellectual knowledge has become experiential. Personal. Heart knowledge. Here they are:
1. There is nothing we can to to make God stop loving us.
I know. We’ve heard it all before. It sounds trite, trivial, uninspired, irrelevant. How many words are there that mean bland?
But think about it. Is there anything your child could do to make you not love him or her? Yes, they do things we don’t approve of. I mean, even if you had to, for some reason, lock him or her out of your house, wouldn’t you still love that child? Even if they cause you pain, you still love them. If you didn’t love them, there would be no pain.
So, am I a better lover than God? Of course not! If I, in my fallen, imperfect self can love my children no matter what, how much better does God love his creation?
2. God hates sin for a reason.
God didn’t just conjure up the Ten Commandments to add stress to our lives!
My son doesn’t talk to me, because he knows what he is doing. Even though I would love to talk to him, whatever he is up to, he knows, so he is not comfortable calling me. And, even if he does call me, the knowledge of how he is living his life lingers below the surface of our conversation, making it superficial and strained. The straining comes from acting like everything is fine, from wanting him to know that I love him even though I know what is going on in his life.
In the same way, people don’t want to talk to God, or even acknowledge his existence, because we know what we have been up to. We prefer to hide, like Adam and Eve did in the garden of Eden. We know that if we talk to God, WE will feel uncomfortable, uneasy, ashamed. We separate ourselves from God, even though God would love to hear from us. He grieves over the separation we cause.
That’s why He hates sin. It separates us from Him, and from each other.
3. The door is always open.
I just want to have a relationship with my son. He doesn’t have to do everything right first. He doesn’t have to perform for me. I love him as he is. I would like for him to have a good life that he can look back on without regrets, but I can’t do it for him. I just want the relationship. I am always available for that.
In the same way, God wants to have a relationship with us. We don’t have to clean up first. He loves us right now, as we are, and he won’t love us any more if we clean up. He wants us to have lives that we can look back on without regrets, but he can’t do it for us. He wants the relationship, and He is always available for that.
God’s love is perfect. You can’t make perfect better.
My relationship with my son has shown me that it is true; God doesn’t cast people out of His presence. They cast themselves out. They run away from Him, because THEY don’t want to face Him, not because He doesn’t want to have a relationship with them. There really are no strings.
That is what people are unable to trust or believe in: There really are no strings.