What God is like. . .

I’ve occasionally been accused of making a big deal out of small things. For example, as was evident from my ebook, I made a fairly big deal out of the Calvinism-vs-non-Calvinism thing.

There’s a reason for my “soapboxing” though. It responds to the question, “What is God like?”

Is God angry, vengeful, and misogynistic? Is he genocidal and vindictive?

If we take descriptions of him seriously (particularly those that paint him as the kind of God that would randomly wipe out an entire race of people simply because they were occupying the territory that he wanted to give to his chosen race), do we come to the conclusion that he’s the kind of God that is so angry at his people, his Son has to appease that anger by sacrificing himself on humanity’s behalf?

How then can we say with confidence that “God is love”?

Is the God we trust to rescue us the same God who ordered the killing of the entire population of Canaan, including the women and children?

Can we trust God to rescue us if he is also in absolute control of everything, including those events that hurt us, destroy us, and even cause us to commit unspeakable atrocities?

I would submit that no, we don’t trust a God who ordered the slaughter of entire people groups. We don’t put our faith in a God who dictates and determines the evils that exist in the world.

I’ll wait for my next post to provide thoughts regarding how to reconcile what we see about God in the Christian Old Testament with the type of Man we see in Jesus. But for now, let’s just take a moment to look at what Jesus shows us about God.

We see a God who heals the sick.

We see a God who feeds the hungry.

We see a God who welcomes children.

We see a God who spends time with the broken and marginalized.

Jesus’ death wasn’t to appease the anger of his Father, it was to show us just how far God was willing to go in order to rescue his children from captivity.

Jesus’ outstretched arms call out to us as he breathes his last, “This is how much I love you.”

That’s the kind of God who rescues us.

That is what God is like.

To my future bride (whoever you may be). . .

I don’t know who you are. We may have already met, or we may have never seen each other. I used to be afraid of you. I used to think you would place unattainable expectations on me and try to turn me into someone I’m not. But I know now that’s not what you want.

Maybe I’m different from most guys. I realize you’re not supermodel hot. But I don’t want you to be. You’re beautiful because you’re buried so deeply inside our Father’s heart. You’re captivating because you’re captivated by God.

Your soft smile and gentle touch will be enough to send me to the stars. And your strong, silent support of who I am as a man will empower me, strengthen me, and energize me in ways nothing else can. I won’t ask that you always agree with me, but I will ask that you trust my intention to always seek your best interest. My methods may be wrong, and I may never understand you, but please be patient. I’m trying so hard.

I can’t promise that I’ll be your knight in shining armor, but I can promise that I’ll protect you from the dangers and hurts of our world. I’ll give my life to ensure your safety, security, and joy.

And I’ll listen. I’ll sit still and just hear what you have to say. My natural inclination is to spring into action and fix the problem, but I’ll deny that and just be an ear to talk to and a shoulder to lean on.

I know you’ll want an adventure. An endless adventure where we’ll explore the depth of our Savior’s heart and the intensity of his love. I’ll take you there. I may not have the money or ability to take you to beautiful European countries or to see breathtaking natural wonders. But I can promise you that I’ll take your hand as we discover the love that God has for us.

My love for you will be flawed and weak, so I won’t pour it directly on you. I’ll pour my love on our God, and he will amplify it and rain it down on you.

I can’t say I’m ready to share my life with someone else right now. But after I find you, I know I won’t be able to imagine facing the challenges of life without you by my side.

Listen for my voice. I’m calling out to you. And I love you.

Out of the mouths of babes. . .

In my post “Trust. . .,” I mentioned the special kind of love that God has for children. Evidence of that love is a unique gift God has given them—the ability to love unconditionally.

I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to teach children about God’s love, but there are times that I fail in living out that love. There are times I mess up, and there are times I have to be stern with them. It can’t be fun being the kid who gets called out for goofing off during a lesson.

And even though I’m supposed to teach them, more often they can teach me. I learned a lesson from them on Sunday. My campus pastor’s kids aren’t always the most well behaved in the bunch, but they know something about love. Whether instinctively or thoughtfully, they understand love better than grownups do.

In his first letter to the church in Corinth, Paul wrote that “love. . . keeps no record of wrongs,” and it “always trusts.”

Mike’s kids tore after me on Sunday after lunch. “Nate!” they yelled, as they wrapped their arms around my waist. “Where are you going?”

“I’ve gotta go back to Morristown now,” I said.

“Do you have to?” they asked.

I melted.

They didn’t remember the times I got fed up with their antics and took away their snack time. They’d forgotten the moments I put them on the spot for speaking out of turn. They kept no record of the incidents I brushed them off to take care of some administrative work that could have waited till much later on.

“Love keeps no record of wrongs.”

And they trusted that, even in my less-than-happy moods, I still had their best interests in mind.

“Love always trusts.”

It’s how God loves. Kids can teach us something about that in a very powerful, unique way. Do you want to learn?