God is Accessible

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

Amen!

 

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I am a Child of God

Consider the image above.  Can you picture yourself as the little child, reaching up and taking hold of the hand of our God?  Jesus tells us that the kingdom of Heaven belongs, not to children, but to those that are like children.

I was at a friends house when he wanted to show off how much his child had grown.  Just barely able to walk now, he asked of the kid… “go get daddy the remote”.  It took some pointing and some repeating but the little boy wobbled across the living room and brought back the sought after prize to the father.  His dad held out the remote and exclaimed, THAT is why you have kids!”

The little boy was excited.  He was happy to please his daddy.

I want to be like that boy.  Pleasingly and dutifully serving my God no matter how trivial the task may seem.

I’ve noticed that although God holds my hand, he will allow me to let go.  And those are the times when I realize big change.  When I bring my hand down, that is when I get angry in traffic.  When I pull away, I worry about me.  When I stop holding my Dad’s hand I look out for myself and dwell on my own problems.

When I’m firmly clasped into the fingers of our Lord, I’m on HIS journey.  I’m along for the ride while doing HIS business.

The cross is all about proximity.  Jesus didn’t have much to say throughout the actual ordeal.  Nails, crown, falling under its weight and His exhaustion.  But when he took on our sin and found separation from the Father… then He spoke.  “Why have you forsaken me?”  Now we get to the real agony… distance away from God.

Jesus didn’t come to earth to heal our cars.  He didn’t face the burdens of the cross so we would have a favorable tax year.  Ultimately, he didn’t leave heaven to make life easy, answer all of our questions or hand out free passes.  Jesus endured absence from the Father so we wouldn’t have to.

I want to be God’s little boy… bounding through my community, hand in hand with my Daddy.  Everyone tends to focus on growing up.  I want to grow down.  I want that carefree love and enjoyment of life.  Where a funny face makes us laugh.  Where we are completely unaware of social media or its lack of impact on us.  Where we don’t understand what embracement means.  And… where we only know how to speak from our hearts.

I think a lie that has become easy to accept is that as we age, we grow older.  What I mean by that is that we stop being children.  We become adults, parents, grandparents, and we get promoted in our jobs.  At some point, life is too important to be left to children.  But that is the lie.  The truth is, we never stop being God’s children.  Unfortunately, sometimes, we just stop acting like it.  Are we so ‘grown up’ that we can’t still hold His hand.  Can we not let Him lead us to our best version of ourselves?  Can we not trust Him?

If you are into corporate or proper prayer, try calling Him papa the next time you pray.  Climb up in His lap.  Take hold of His hand.  Listen to His stories of what He has done for you.  Pray directly to Him as though He came out of the tomb after the cross… because He did.  The Man that thought we were worth dying for has something to show us.  Are we able to follow?