The other evening a sweet friend, Janet, gave me a book which was written by her son– in- law, Ryan Smith. The name of the book was Not That God. This morning I again woke up around 4 am and could not go back to sleep so found myself coming downstairs once again to drink hot tea and read. I began to read Not That God. It made me realize that my perception of God is quite often a result of how I as it should be. In my desire to love God and trust Him I seem to fall into the thinking that if I am good enough, pray more and spend time in His Word, I will have a blessed life. (talk about “earning” your salvation) I was raised to fear God with a Holy type of fear. Not to be afraid of Him but to have a Holy respect which would make me realize that He is the Holy One! That He should be honored above all else and to obey His Word in complete trust. As I have grown in years and hopefully in my faith, it seems that I am doing just what I read. That my expectations of who I think God should be is a little off. At times, I think we all feel that if we walk according to His will and simply obey what we know we are suppose to be doing, that it will “get us something”! We begin to treat God like a genie. We obey, He grants our wishes! But as I continued to read, I realized that God is much more interested in our character than our comforts. He allows things to fall on us in order that our love, dependency, and faith in Him will grow. Those valleys that He brings us through are allowed so that we will grow our faith and begin to see that these times of sorrow, sickness or stress can be times of opportunity for us to reach out more to our Heavenly Father. We have a way of keeping God in our own little box of what we feel He should be and expect Him to do. We make our decisions and then expect Him to bless them. We pray and give Him our desires and our requests and then expect Him to answer in the way that we feel is best. So when He doesn’t answer in the way we feel He should, we become angry and wonder ‘where God is”? Not That God is a book that challenges us to rethink what we have always felt about God.
In this Christmas season, it is a great time to begin a new approach to how I really feel about God and His great love for all of us! We always hear that “He is the reason for the season” but as we heard in church last week, “we are the reason for the season” Jesus came to earth as a baby to save us from our sin. God was the first gift giver. We have Christmas because He came as a baby that we might have life eternal. He gave His Son willingly for us. He did it out of a great love for us. After His giving of His most precious Son, how can we not love Him enough to trust Him for the circumstances, the trials or valleys, which He allows to come into our lives? This season, may my heart be open to accepting that “His ways are not my ways, nor His thoughts, my thoughts”. That I will always remember that God is love, but maybe I need to learn to redefine ‘love” in order to understand a little more of what God is trying to do in my life.
*Not That God, written by Ryan Smith