The above quote from 20th-century American author/pastor A. W. Tozer is for me a mind-blowing one.
What I think about God–who He is, how He acts, what He can and cannot do–is the very most important thing about me.
Our view of God shapes our attitude, our emotions, our responses, and our plans in unimaginable ways. And if we’re really honest, most of us have false views of God–images which are not taught in scripture, but have been impressed upon us by songs, movies or our religious upbringing. Contrary to that beautiful Bette Midler melody, God is not watching us from a distance and while Garth Brooks is correct that “some of God’s greatest gifts are unanswered prayers,” we are not just talking to “the man upstairs.”
And illness, suffering and the stresses of life can become even more difficult when we cling to these unbiblical views of God.
The best thing I learned from my cancer journey 28 years ago and my nearly two decades as a patient advocate is that I tend to limit God. I try to shrink Him to fit into my small brain. I attempt to figure out what He’s going to do and how He’s going to do it. Sometimes I even plan how to get one step ahead of Him!
But watching God work in my life and the lives of thousands of cancer patients and caregivers has enlarged my view of the Almighty. I have had a front-row seat to watching Him accomplish as Ephesians 3:20 says “immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine.”
So I ask you…how big is your God?
Is he “the man upstairs” who’s fairly nearby and helps out if we need a hand with something? Or is He the Creator who laid the foundations of the earth (Job 38:4) and whose power and presence cannot be contained in a building or a universe (2 Chronicles 2:6)?
Is he like Santa Claus making a list of who’s naughty and nice? Or is He the God of grace, giving us what we don’t deserve and of mercy, not giving us what we do deserve (John 1:16, Ephesians 2:4)?
Is the God of your mind a harsh dictator only looking out for Himself? Or is He the always good Father who
“loved the world so much that He gave His one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16)?
Is your image of God one of a magic genie who might grant our wishes if we utter the right prayer or say the correct number of Hail Marys? Or is He the holy Almighty “beyond our reach and exalted in power” (Job 37:23) and for whom “nothing is impossible” (Luke 1:37)?
Ponder your situation or your loved one’s and ask yourself what you are thinking about God in relation to that situation. Is your image of Him found in the Bible or has it been pieced together from some less reliable sources?
Author Ann Spangler gives us a true picture of God: “With no failings or flaws, He is better than the best person you have ever met or read about. Because God is entirely good, there is never any room for improvement, never any need for change. Everything about Him–His thoughts, motives, intentions, plans, words, commands, decisions, and actions–is good.”
If that is what comes to mind when you think about God, it will change the way you face the trials of life.
No matter what happens–or doesn’t happen–to you or your loved one, I promise you that no one has ever or will ever love you as much as the one, true God does. Don’t limit Him.
Don’t miss the “Reckless Love” music video–open this blog in your browser or use this link https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sc6SSHuZvQE