Who the hell do you think you are!

I wonder sometimes about how comfortable we've become with God. Is the God of the universe so easily approached that we can jump in or out of his gaze like we do the TV during a commercial break? If God is beyond our puny concepts of her/him -- if God is massively distinct from any other thing we have EVER experienced...if God is so OTHER, so holy, pure, light, essence, truth, supernatural and beyond...then wouldn't it stand to reason that our encounters with God would either melt us or move us. God terrorizes and haunts. Possesses and penetrates. Pure holiness could instantly vaporize human finiteness.


There is never a time when you need God less. Always, to live before God is to see the mind-numbing enormity of our sin, and our need for forgiveness, but also to see the overwhelming enormity of God's grace! To cry out from the depth of our soul--be merciful--OH DEAR GOD be merciful to me the sinner!!

H.G. Wells was no friend of the church, and yet he served us well. A few decades ago in the New Yorker magazine, he told a story about an Episcopalian Bishop. He could have chosen a baptist or a mennonite, or...you, but that was too small for H.G. Wells. This Episcopalian Bishop had a counseling ministry. He was the kind of guy who when people came to him with problems, he always had a right word to say, and he could say it with just the right tone of voice. One of the phrases he liked to say when people came to him with their problems was: "Have you prayed about it?" He found that if he said it with just the right emphasis, it seemed to satisfy people.
Now, the Bishop never prayed much himself, he really didn't have to--he had life all wrapped up in his back pocket. But one day, life crashed in on him. He faced a crisis he had not expected and so he decided that he would take his own advice. He decided that he would go to the cathedral on a Saturday afternoon and he would pray. So he did. When he got there, he went up to the front, in front of the altar and knelt down on the crimson carpet.

folded his hands...

he couldn't help but think of how much like a child he was at that moment.

He said, "Oh God!"

Suddenly there was a voice. It was crisp. It was clear. It was business-like.
The voice said, "Yes, what is it?"

The next day when people came to the cathedral to worship, they found the Bishop sprawled face down on the crimson carpet. When they turned him over they discovered he was dead.
And lines of horror were etched on his face.

What H. G. Wells was so skillfully saying is something like this:

There are a lot of us who are talking a lot about God, who, if we met God face-to-face, would be scared to death.

...and I think he's right.

1 comment:

  1. hey teach,
    yeah sometimes we kinda do use God as a last resort. like 'oh no! i've done everything i can, what do i do now... ..well, i guess i could pray.' and that's a problem isn't it? because we've gotten so comfortable with God that we only approach him in times of trouble. that's not very just to God.

    and it's just a habit we've all made it to be. God kinda falls nicely into our daily plan, instead of us making and sacrificing time for him. i guess that's not necessarily bad, except perhaps that sometimes routine really does lose it's meaning, and that's the danger we have too. like i don't know about you, but i don't think i can ever read a bible-in-a-year thing, simply because after a while it'll be like, 'well, i've gone this far, can't stop now.' and plus, there's so much to read and take in each day. too much for me personally =P.

    i don't know, i feel that we won't always be comfortable with God. in a way, it's when we struggle where we learn best right? when we've been stripped from things and we turn to God.

    yeah, we'll never fully understand God, but we don't have to, that's the best part. i mean, it shouldn't make a difference.. we should love God and place our faith in him regardless. God's holiness is too great for us to see.. but for sure, if we witnessed it, we would be swept away.