I am a Pastor of a church and I used to hate God. Used to.
“Paradigm” is one of my top five favorite words along with “cheese-dip,” “warm-weather,” “bedtime,” and “charcoal.”
“Paradigm.” The lens, through which we view the world, is no small matter.
Have you ever been surprised or even floored that you and another person in your life can look at the same thing and each see something completely different? I think God gives us the gift of marriage to frustrate us on simple things. My grid for Saturdays is lying on the couch for sixteen hours and watching movies with the kids. My wife Wendy? Her grid is six projects all in alphabetical order. Her grid for relaxation is organizing the garage. My grid for relaxation is taking the kids to play golf and getting them hopped up on Mountain Dew just to watch what happens. Different strokes for different folks.
Fifteen years ago, when I read, “God, Please Let Me Know You” by Larry Stevens, I literally thought that he was not mentally stable. His paradigm for God was one of beauty and warmth; and at that time, my view of God was on par with having a rash in my left eye.
From my perspective, God was usually upset with me and got mad every time I overate or did not read my Bible. I had an internal meter that constantly pointed towards the fact that He probably regretted the day He made me.
Lies. Is there anything more powerful?
The story of my life over the last twelve years is something I never saw coming. I did not think that love was possible with Him. When I was younger, I would speak with a passion of something I did not really believe. I wanted to believe that He loved me. I just could not. It was like a boulder was between my heart and my brain.
Recently, I baptized my beautiful daughter Ruthie. She is eight years old and I simply cannot believe how much my heart jumps when I am around her. I have two more sons, whom I love dearly, but there is something about Ruthie. She knows how the deal works. Hug daddy, tell him how much you love him, hug him again, then tell him one more time how special he is. She is smart. Christmas morning showed her how smart she was.
Through Ruthie, I have learned something dramatic about God. He’s a feeler. Yep, I said it. He has emotions. He does not just theologically love me. He actually feels love towards me. God is emotional. If someone would have shown me that I would write something like this years ago, I would have estimated that I fell off of a high place and hurt my ability to think.
As I pastor, I help people realize on a daily basis how nice God is. At the end of the day, I am continually surprised to find that so many issues come down to this idea. I used to think it would take great faith that I could never attain to see healings manifest when I prayed for people. Ten years after pursuing Father's works (John 10:38) I am convinced that it does not take great faith at all. It simply takes great love.
In the past six months, the team I work with at City Church has been learning that in relationships, we are always moving towards connection or away from it. There is no middle ground it seems. What is humbling for me to realize is that with God, He never stops moving towards connection with me. I don’t care how broken or flawed I feel, He simply keeps coming towards me. As Richard Foster said, “He is the great hound of heaven.” I look forward to telling Him “thank you” in person one day.
Whatever you are going through, I hope that you would be brave enough to doubt your own doubts. Take a chance and investigate for yourself if this is true. Search it out. You may be surprised to find that He actually cares about every little detail of your life.