God is not your drunk, bi-polar stepdad.
If the God, most of us believed in was an earthly father, the neighbors would call CPS and we would run away; in fact, we do run away and hide. At the very least, the doctors would determine God as one of the most extreme case of bipolar in the history of the diagnosis. Preachers and teachers tell us over and over how good he is and we try with all our might to believe it; to reconcile his forgiveness and mercy with the judgment they preach in the same breath. We grovel in the corner praying, waiting for the hurricane they told us he sent, to pass us by so we can live a little longer before we join him in heaven. We self reflect after the twin towers judgment wondering what we did or didn’t do to deserve it. Like a video game character we are just trying to survive and get to the next level. We never know if he is in a good mood or bad mood and the mood swings are so severe, we don’t chance asking him for anything at least not with any confidence.
At least Jesus understands us and has our back, since he is both God and man. He protects us from his pissed off Father like a big brother tells you to hide when dad has been drinking. Dad is mad and he wants blood, better run and hide! The experts tell us the heavenly Father’s goodness is like the prodigal father’s goodness; beyond our understanding and at the same time his justice requires punishment for the rebellious, desert trials for the faithful and eternal punishment and torture for those who lived 70 or 80 years and didn’t get a chance to hear about his Son or who didn’t confess that last sin before they got into the car wreck and died. We don’t run boldly to his throne of grace, if we believe in his sovereignty he took our baby, or gave us cancer or allowed us to be raped. How can we love a God like that? How can we love a God we are afraid of? How can we love a God who goes to great lengths to save us and then flips a switch like Norman Bates to attack us all for our own good? We cannot trust a God like that, let alone a human being like that. Our inability to trust is because we have been presented with a completely distorted view of God, one who is unsafe, unpredictable and unreliable, like a puma ready to pounce.
The preachers wonder why people don’t buy into their mission and programs and line up to volunteer. No amount of seeker sensitivity, childcare, greeters, relevance, Starbucks coffee or great music ministry will penetrate the average person’s mistrust of the bipolar God. As long as people believe God is responsible for their pain, they remain reserved. They sit on the edges and watch from a distance staying out of the range of the whip. Why should they share their faith with other people too when they are not sure themselves if their faith even works for them and they can’t explain it to themselves let alone another person, the bipolar nature of God.
If God’s “divine” goodness isn’t at least better than my Step-dad’s than I am not interested. We cannot trust someone who is loving and nurturing one minute and condemning and attacking the next; the bond will never form. If we are not convinced of God’s basic nature of goodness, we will blow a gasket trying to figure out his mood. He is nothing like the immature earthly father you had, having to wait until he was in a good mood to ask money from him. He is not human, he is divine and completely 100 % good; God is love. The lie about his dual nature of Goodness and severity has been so pervasive and penetrated “religion” so thoroughly that when his nature is revealed for who he really is, it seems like it is too good to be true and the person declaring it is declared a heretic, peddling greasy grace. Many of us still think God responds to us based on our performance instead of Christ’s performance. We are concerned with his judgment on us and our nation, when he has already made his judgment that we are righteous in Christ and co-heirs. If the good news of the kingdom doesn’t sound too good to be true, then it probably isn’t the Good News. If there is something you have to do to earn grace or maintain grace, then it isn’t grace. There is nothing you can do or not do that will make him love you any more or any less, everything else is just icing on the cake.
He is not putting us in trials to test our obedience. We have already proven that we are not obedient, that is why he sent his Son, so that in Christ he could fulfill both sides of the covenant as God and man, taking our place ( John 3:16). Christ’s obedience is imputed to you. You are not under the microscope, you are seated with Christ (Ephesians 2:6-7). The Father is not out for blood , he didn’t kill his Son anymore than you would kill your own son. Christ endured the cross for the joy set before him (relationship with you) according to Hebrews. The cross didn’t make God forgive you, it just proved you have been forgiven from the beginning and that God desires to break down every barrier between you and him. Jesus said if you have seen me you have seen the Father. In other words, their nature, heart, goodness and sacrifice is the same. Trials and tests come, but not from God. In his mind Jesus passed every test for you already. Does God get good out of what the Devil intends for evil? Absolutely, but that doesn’t mean he sent it. He teaches us through the prayer of Jesus in Matthew 6, …deliver us from evil. God does not partner in any way with evil or in doing you any harm so that you “learn” something in the desert. We often times confuse the grace we receive in those situations as God endorsing it. Anything the enemy does can be reversed on him to create more reliance and trust in the Father. ( 2 cor. 1:9)
The bible ( Isaiah 5) declares a woe to those who call good, evil and evil ,good. This is what has happened and why people say anything supernatural including healing is from the Devil and conversely destruction is from God. Let me make it crystal clear: God is good and the devil is bad. Bad things that occur are from the enemy and everything good and life giving is from God. Jesus said it this way; “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly”. ( John 10:10). We are considered “double minded” when we believe God is both good and evil and James says that we shouldn’t expect anything from God if we think this way (chapter 1). God doesn’t leave us alone to figure it out and to watch us struggle, but our faith and declarations of him as both good and evil, cancel each other out. To receive you must believe he is good, period.
..”If you don’t know what you’re doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get his help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves. ( James 1:5)
Don’t let anyone under pressure to give in to evil say, “God is trying to trip me up.” God is impervious to evil, and puts evil in no one’s way. The temptation to give in to evil comes from us and only us. We have no one to blame but the leering, seducing flare-up of our own lust.
So, my very dear friends, don’t get thrown off course. Every desirable and beneficial gift comes out of heaven. The gifts are rivers of light cascading down from the Father of Light. There is nothing deceitful in God, nothing two-faced, nothing fickle. He brought us to life using the true Word, showing us off as the crown of all his creatures. ( James 1:14-17)
What about all the judgment and death in the Old Testament? The simple answer is we are in the New Covenant. The revelation of God was limited and partial in the O.T. and I wonder if everything anthropomorphically attributed to God as judgment was actually judgment and not some form of mercy or have another explanation. For example, I wonder why Jesus preached to those in the grave/ Sheol (O.T. Saints) according to I Peter 3:19 if they weren’t extended mercy even after death. Everything that happened in the Old Testament has to be viewed through the lens of the cross and God’s desire that all things be reconciled unto him ( 2 Peter 3:9). Let me answer it as best I can by quoting Colossians chapter one which says that Jesus is the express image of the invisible God. He is the most complete representation of the Father there could be in human form. There is no higher expression of God and he desires to be in union with us, we are partakers of the divine nature,(2 peter 1:3) not test animals in a laboratory. Jesus himself said “No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son, who is himself God and is in closest relationship with the Father, has made him known” ( John 1:18) Whatever revelation of God Jesus gave us trumps all previous revelation and forces us to reevaluate the Father through the cross.
Pray this prayer with me: Father I am not afraid of you, you are good and your plans for me are good. You are the most perfect and good example of a caregiver that I could ever imagine. You have thought of everything and provided for my every need. When something bad happens to me because I live in a broken and fallen world that your kingdom is expanding in, I know it is not from you, but from what has been set in motion at the fall and because of the enemy of my soul. You sent Jesus so that I could have abundant life, not trial and tribulation and when I do find myself in troubles you are my deliverer, my strength and my shield. Speak to my heart and mind revelation concerning your goodness. By your Spirit reveal yourself to me anew through your word and by experience. Break down the lies and false structures in my mind that interpret your heart toward me as anything but perfect and loving. In Jesus’ name amen.