There is The God We Imagine and The God That Is

4881_4881_5There is the god we imagine and there is the God that is. The two don’t always line up and only One is True, but both are active. We entertain the imagination as much as we relate to the actual. When we decide to submit our imagination to the Creator of that imagination, we can actually be offended by the differences between the two. We can get offended by God and prefer our version of what we think He is.

I have a friend that has battled addiction who has gotten angry at God because of the persistence of the addiction. He calls out to God with great sincerity to take the depraved desires from him on the way to feed the addiction. Recently, he sensed the presence of Jesus with him as he went to buy drugs. Jesus, in my friend’s discernment, wasn’t saying a word but was sad at the choice my friend was in the middle of making.

He bought and used some but reached out for help on the front end of what might have otherwise become a binge and said, “I don’t want to die.” Through some coaching, he flushed the bulk of it down the toilet. This wasn’t easy; it was a battle of his will to live or die; to use or not.

The next day, he was angry at God about the struggle and lack of deliverance, but that’s where his longstanding theology was adjusted. He had the ability to flush it. Jesus was with him, didn’t zap him and was sad for him. Jesus didn’t and doesn’t want him to destroy himself but will allow his free will as evidence of His free love. Love doesn’t control. When we think He will zap us and we actually are afforded the opportunity to agree with Him in our choices, we have to own our end of the deal.

We are offended by God when He is different from we imagined Him to be. Our expectations set us up for offense, which is literally a stumbling block in our faith. When we set aside our preconceived ideas about who God needs to be to fit our desires and what He needs to do to make our dreams come true, we can connect with the actual Him without being frustrated with Him.

The good news is that He is better than we can imagine. What we give to Him, we get back better than when we started. Not easier, but better. There is no offense in submission; there is trust and acceptance of the fact that we don’t know. We don’t know so we ask and receive where we used to dictate and expect.

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