In a more naïve and simplistic time, when miniscule pains hovered and cast their shadow large over an otherwise carefree existence, when each imagined injury seemed unending and suggested life would never fulfill a novelistic perfection, I searched for a simple God. God, conceived by me, was an unseeable but conditional being, there in my imagined firmament where I could tap into him when my need arose. My needs—isn’t that why God existed?
Perpetuated by my search for this mythical god, my if-then idea of him lingered long. I don’t think this thought came from the air. Something in the conversations, in my reading, in my synthesis of words and in my nature during my rearing created a God who was a god there for my purposes. Convenience impregnates the modern mind framing not a truth but some desire for inward accommodation.
Long was the road leading to my falsity. I kept thinking, why shouldn’t life be all peach ice cream and pound cake with baked-in sprinkles? Better—jamoca almond fudge or rocky road would suffice. Why not ask for more? And more is what kept me going in my search for this god. Wasn’t life reward?
The god I searched for was not the God who came to me. The God who came was a most terrifying God, not a god of accommodation. He wanted to remove my falsity. I wouldn’t let go of it. He came and ripped from me my misconstructions, and through real pain, opened me to Himself as He was, doing unto me as He desired, and I did not. He was at once against me and the shaky falseness I believed, and He was at once for me, until I said those words, “Thy will Lord, not mine.” God cannot come until we are bare.
And when those words of final resignation, the relinquishing of pride and want, the burial of the pronoun my—my needs, my concept, my church, my god, and worse, my God—no longer permeated my perspective, He came.
This long-held, illusory grip of the possessive, the fatigue produced from perpetuating self-deception, prepared me for His coming. Often, I am sure, I felt His absence. But He couldn’t be, for what is not known cannot be absent. And I did not know Him, at least, the way He wanted to be known.
The Almighty is beyond our reach and exalted in power; in his justice and great righteousness, he does not oppress (Job 37:23, NKJV).
Christian Wiman writes, “The gleam goes out of things, or goes so far inside of them, goes so far inside of you, that it would take some last shattering for you to see.”
I had reached, reached out to a conditional god named by my mythical desire, and found nothing to grasp. One cannot hold what is not there or find something not present.
In His grace, He shattered anything I decided to perpetuate. He waited. And then, He came.
“Those who have ears to hear, let them hear” (Matthew 11:15, NKJV).