Guys, I’m going to tackle one big mountain of a topic and I may be biting off more than I can chew, but I don’t care, because I think it vital to everything I speak about. It’s literally the foundation of our very existence. I wrote a blog post about this a while back.
The big question is Who is God?
Theologians and philosophers have lost their minds trying to figure out this enigma. You don’t have to read one scripture to know there is something greater than me at work here. There’s too much going on for this to only be us.
But what is it? What is this thing that I can’t see, but I can feel?
Growing up Christian we learned God is a loving father or a faithful friend. But my definition of a loving father may look entirely different than your definition.
My loving father may be one who comes down hard on you to do and be better that gives you a nice wallop to set you straight. And your version may be more of a loving father is passive and detached. There are as many definitions as there are people. I think this is why we struggle to trust God, because “what if my version of God is wrong?”
But deep down you are terrified that “what if I’m getting it wrong” because to we get it wrong that could mean ultimate death. So, you live in this holy terror working so hard to get it all right.
Then, something comes along and shatters this world that you’re living in. I believe we all have a moment like this that changes the trajectory of your life. Maybe it’s a tragic death of someone you love, or critical illness, or an ultimate betrayal of your love. My moment showed up as my husband’s affair. I had done everything I had known to do and it still wasn’t good enough. I didn’t have a theology for that. Everything I knew and believed about God began to crumble around me.
What was true? I didn’t know anymore.
I believe when you’re wounded beyond recognition, you sort of think, nothing could be worse than this hell I’m living in, so I’ll take my chances on this one. I was ready to work out my own salvation with fear and trembling. I finally was ready to admit my biggest fear that I had kept inside all along. I began to whisper into the night, “I don’t understand you” and I’m tired of pretending that I do.
I dove headfirst into the infinite enigma. I began to pound away at belief I had about God, and the more I tried to define the infinite, the more I could not define him. The more questions I asked, the more questions I had. The more I discovered, the more I realized how much I didn’t know.
The best way I can describe would be like a little glass of water on the shore of the ocean standing up and saying to the ocean “I understand you. This is who you are.”
Sure, the fluid inside of that glass is the same fluid as the sea. That’s because the Sea is inside the glass. The glass displays the same properties move the same way and reflects the same image. But it was the sea that defined the glass, not the glass defining the sea.
I am not the one who defines the Infinite. I can’t be so arrogant to believe such a thing.
It is infinite who defines me, changes me, and engulfs me. He is who he is, powerful and strong — confident in who he is. Whatever “is” is. I am just a piece of the infinite, and he’s the one who calls me by name and says, “I understand you.”
That’s when he began to define me with Love.
There’s a scripture that reads, God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.
That’s it. It’s from this foundation I began to build my life. Everything else was up for trial. The more I let go of my grip on needing to know, the more I sunk into the depths of this strange place of knowing and unknowing. I felt safe there.
We can see this dynamic play out between humanity and God by looking at the dynamic of a family unit. Back in 2014, I gave a questionnaire to my children, asking them to answer some questions about their daddy.
Our oldest was 8 (I said 10 on the podcast. lol) and Christian, our youngest just turned 4.
They were so excited and took the activity very seriously. Charis even wrote her answers in rainbow.
The first question I asked was, “What’s Daddy’s name?”
Christian at age 4 said, “I don’t know.”
He proceeded to tell me his daddy is 10 years old, as big as a Ninja Turtle, and has purple eyes, but when I asked him what was his favorite thing to do with daddy, he answered, “hug and kiss.” He loves his daddy because he knows his daddy loves him. You see, not one of my children’s answers defined Matt.
Matt is confident in who he is, so his children’s perception of him does not move him. Matt wasn’t hurt or angry when he read that Charis thinks he’s as big as a refrigerator. He was not stunned to find that each of his children disagrees on what his favorite color is, but rather it’s Matt who defines our children. Matt is the one who wraps his arms around each of them and says, “I love you, no matter who you think I am.”
In this love, they feel complete.
So, just like my children, you may think God’s eyes are purple, or that he’s only 10 years old. You may not even know his name, but one thing I do know, God is love.
I began to replace the word God with love because I needed to reframe who I perceived him to be.
Now that leads me to the next door of questions, “What is love”? We live in a world that has a bajillion definitions of love. Love is about as much of an enigma as God. From one person to the next, love has a different meaning. There are even dark and twisted definitions of love. How many men have unleashed their wrath on their wife only to say, it’s because I love you? We know that’s a sick and twisted version of love.
So, I began to hammer out even further.
What is the definition of love?
The words in the scriptures define love for us: Love is patient. Love is kind. Love isn’t rude. Love protects. It trusts, hopes, and preserves.
So this all-encompassing definition of love began to give me a clearer perception of God.
Any point I began to question, is this God? Is this the will of God? Where is God in this? God are you there?
It became very easy for me to navigate my thoughts and my decisions in life.
Any time I come to a threshold of questioning “Is the God,” I simply ask, “Is this rooted in Love?”
If yes, yay! I can proceed in peace.
Now, I’m gonna take this one step further.
What if the answer is no? What is that?
The scriptures tell us, There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.
Fear. There’s that big ole nasty word that we all live with, but we don’t need to fear fear.
The opposite of love is fear. Love is the light and fear is the shadow places that are not in the light.
And to live in fear will rob you of the abundant life Jesus promised you.
What is the antidote for fear? Love.
Dive headfirst into the infinite sea of Love.
You’re safe there.
Here’s my challenge to you: Next time you’re afraid and can’t seem to find God, don’t panic, simply reframe your thoughts and ask, “Where is love in this?” Find love and there you will find God. You can rest in that.
Recap: We do not define God, God defines us with love. God is love and whoever lives in love lives in God and visa versa. Know love. Know God. Love is defined as patient, kind, and polite. It’s these things we define love. Fear is the void of love and will prevent you from living your abundant life. Add in more light of love to dispel the darkness of fear.