I was asked to contemplate an attribute of God. Any one I wanted. While that may sound simple, I didn’t want to bring anything into this. So I set my ears to ‘open’ and waited on something to grab my attention. I didn’t want to be the tiny human trying to explain the almighty God… I wanted Him to teach me something in this.
The very next day, in church, we were singing, “oh God how I need you”. Several emotions were stirred by this verbiage. The “oh” signifies desperation. Or possibly its just an amplification of how much we need Him. The “how” shows depth, which is a different type of need. I need you desperately, but also, in this many things. “oh” is qualitative, while “how” is quantitative. The “need” shows importance. I don’t just “want” You, Your presence is more significant than that. I’m at an impasse. The obstacles aren’t moving. Progress has stopped. If I’m ever to go forward, I “need” God.
And the final word, the one that hit me the hardest, was ‘God’. I was whisked away to a time years ago where I frequented chat rooms. (talking (rather typing) in real time to strangers on the internet, if you aren’t familiar with the term). I said something seemingly innocent in my own mind and caused quite a stir. I wrote ‘God’. I was quickly corrected. “You need to show some respect and type G-d.” Highly confused I opted for other words like Jesus, Lord, etc. At every turn I was met with extreme anger and prompt correction. They simply believed that you can’t say His name.
For some, it wasn’t even an issue of respect, it was a practice to prohibit taking God’s name in vain. For others, they held God so high above themselves that He was almost like a Greek deity. Up in the heavens and far too good to be in our presence. Think about that a moment. A God whose subjects can’t say His name? Or even type it?
Let’s compare my mom with my grandmother. I love my mom. But she had some rules that kept the house in order. It wasn’t so bad it felt like a museum, but it was close at times. No shoes on the furniture. Never, under any circumstances, could you jump on the furniture. No food outside of the kitchen, no running in the house. Etc.
Then I go to grandmother’s home. There she chose to spoil me. And I took full advantage. I would chase the dog relentlessly. I would get a running start to jump up and plop down on the sofa causing every cushion to suffer an aftershock. I ate ice cream and drank soda in every room of the home. Sometimes, I would chase the dog, while running, AND jumping with a drink in my hands. Multi-tasking!
There weren’t different amounts of love between the two houses. There were simply different expectations. My grandmother who didn’t have to worry about my college, or my car, or my expenses, or her own job because she was retired… she just wanted me to be close. To be happy. She wanted to hear the words, “I want to go to grandmother’s home!”. When you aren’t responsible for the children, you seem like a superhero to them. Parents have rules and boundaries and curfews. Grandparents have candy, toys, and freedom. It’s really not fair to the parents. But hey…. who doesn’t want candy?
God has blessed us with free will. And just like grandma, He wants us to choose Him. I feel pretty comfortable in saying, our God, is a jump on the couch kind of God. He just wants us home with Him. He wants our laughter, our fat bellies, and our sticky fingers hugging Him around the neck. Heaven is not going to be a museum. Museum’s have rules, glass cases, locked doors and tons of security. Heaven is going to be a playground. There will be running and jumping and food and drink and singing. He has chosen to make Himself accessible. And this is the attribute I am focusing on.
Consider Matthew 12. Verse 50 says this: “whoever does the will of my Father in heaven is my brother and sister and mother”. And this is why I don’t find it irreverent to say God’s name… or type it… or sing it… or cry out to it! Written in the word’s of our Savior is that we are the brothers and sisters of Jesus when we follow Him. Who is He following? God. Who is God? His daddy. Our brother, Jesus, calls God, Father. What father doesn’t yearn to hear his baby say, ‘dadda’? Why do children say mommy and daddy first? Because their parents are accessible.
Not only accessible, but constantly holding, feeding, changing, and teaching the child. Exactly what God does for us. And I do believe He wants us to call on His name. Father, daddy, pops, God, Lord. He has many names. (Isiah 9:6, et al). And His children are allowed to use them. And we are encouraged to use them.
The Lord’s prayer is exactly that. Our Lord and brother, Jesus stopped to teach us how to pray. He actually said the words, “This, then, is how you should pray…” And what words did He choose in this epic teaching moment? How do we start our conversations with God? “Our Father in heaven…”. God is accessible. He is near. He is present. We can sing to Him, we can speak to Him, we can worship and praise Him… like He is right in front of us… because He is.
God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’ As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring. – Acts 17:27-28
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