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14
Apr
2019

Missing God

by Jennie Allen

I sometimes feel guilty for dreaming. Is this selfish? Shouldn't we just focus completely on God and not get narcissistic, thinking there are special things we should all be doing? Just focus on God? 

Honestly, it is good to think about because we live in a time in church history when we have strategically justified obsessive amounts of self-focus. We have made life about our little stories rather than God's story. We have become a generation obsessed with understanding ourselves, as if that holds the answer for our restless, discontent souls. 

We have come to treat God as if He exists for us, rather than us existing for Him. As if He is supposed to fit our plans, rather than our only plan being to know Him and to follow Him. 

God is big, but He moves into the small. God cares about eternity, yet He cares about every second of every human's life. That is who we serve. When God is only big and only about eternal heavenly things in our minds, we miss out. We stop dreaming before we even start because we fail to see how He could be interested. And we miss some key things. 

We miss Jesus. When we believe God is only in the big, we miss that Jesus loved each individual deeply and met their unique needs. We miss how creatively He pursued each of us until we believed. We miss His vision for His church: one body, many unique parts coming together to make a difference with their small moments. 

We miss His Spirit. Jesus sent a Helper to live in and through us, to pray for us, to equip us with unique gifts, to encourage us, and to remind us of our purpose here. And to remind us that we are headed to a home better than the one we will risk for Him now. We miss this beautiful, personal interaction with our living God if in our minds He stays only the distant Creator of planets. 

We miss God's creativity. Just look around. Everything about you is different from every other human on earth. By design. God creates generations and billions of interesting humans, and then He takes time to write intimate and unique moments for each one of them. 

Ignore this side of God, and you will miss the point: He ran after you. He wrote stories for you. He numbered your days. He knows your thoughts before you think them and your words before you speak them. Ignore that He adores you, and you might as well shrivel up and die and go to heaven and be with Him. He is big, and He moves into the small. It's God's dichotomy that makes Him so absolutely mind-blowing. 

We miss the mystery of God. My favorite professor in seminary taught me the most painful and difficult truth about following God: embrace the tension

I watch online as religious bloggers and theologians all fight for various values they hold dear. They are fighting on some deep level for what they believe is absolutely true of God. But they often pull so hard (God is this way and not that way) that they yank away the tension that maintains truth. Even humans can't be easily boxed in. And if we can't, God certainly can't be either. 

Somehow, in His holy otherness, our God is… 

  • sovereign and has given us the freedom to make decisions;
  • loving and just;
  • the one who hates evil and yet has full authority over it and permits its existence;
  • one God yet three all at once;
  • and the One for whom time doesn't exist, yet He intentionally planned every moment of it for us. 

And I could go on all day long. 

We hate tension. We love to land somewhere, but this one little admonition – embrace the tension – keeps me humble, keeps God as God, and keeps me slightly capable of knowing a smidgen of Him. He is unknowable in so many ways, so mystery must be applied to our small understanding of Him and what He has revealed to us in Scripture. But we do know, through His Word and His Spirit, that He has given us enough. “His divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life” (2 Peter 1:3). 

We often desperately chase the knowledge of “God's will for me” at the sacrifice of God's will. Let's embrace the tension of seeking God's will for us, individually, within God's revealed will for this earth –for eternity and for His people. We won't ever stop searching for purpose until God's will becomes our passion.

 

Jenny Allen appears this week on LIFE TODAY. Taken from Made For This: 40 Days To Living Your Purpose by Jennie Allen. Copyright ©2019 Jennie Allen. Used by permission of W Publishing Group, an imprint of Thomas Nelson. All rights reserved.