Links Daily Devotional

The God We Want

Then Job replied to the Lord: “I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted.” (Job 42:1-2, NIV)

I must admit, as an ardent PGA Tour fan, I have been enjoying the wide open competition of the past two seasons. What’s that? Thirteen different men have won the last 13 majors? Fine with me! Even finer that in many of these tournaments, about 13 different players have had a chance to win going into Sunday.

Not everyone shares my opinion. It’s not so much that these fans loved Tiger himself, over and above a number of the other personalities out there. It’s that Tiger, in his wonder days, could blow away the field. He didn’t just have all the shots; he had all the shots all the time. And many fans loved these days of dominance.

Jack Nicklaus and Ben Hogan drew this same sort of appreciation. Perhaps not as personable as Arnold Palmer or Lee Trevino, the ability of Nicklaus and Hogan was something to open your eyes to, and—if you were an opponent—to fear.

Biblically speaking, God is like this. He opens our eyes. He causes us to fear Him.

And our hearts respond. Our hearts want a God that big, that powerful, that dominant—one who rules all, all the time.

But you wouldn’t think so by the way we speak of God sometimes. Some years ago, when I was spending every workday teaching young writers how to put words to paper, I would ask them—as a brainstorming activity—to list the ten most important things in their life. God frequently made the list. That was good. What was bad was that sometimes that was all God did—make the list. When they put these things in order of priority in their life, God didn’t fare so well. Maybe He was sixth or seventh. Behind family, behind friends, behind sports, behind goals and dreams.

Never mind the illogic of this. These students, if you asked them about who God is, could recite the catechism or Sunday school answers: He is all-knowing, all-good, all-powerful. But in their lives, He was not. He was sixth or seventh.

There’s no generation gap here. Most adults are the same. God is nice for the place or time we call “church.” He’s all right for religious studies. And it’s a pretty good deal that He offers to hear our prayers. But a God who “can do all things,” whose plans cannot be thwarted? That God is big and, frankly, a bit too overwhelming. He scares us.

Well, guess what? That God—the real God who is creator and master of the universe—scared the pants off of Job, too. He put the old man in his humble place.

But Job recognized that for all his mind could not grasp about God, his soul wanted a God this mighty, this glorious, this engaging. Job wanted the God who is, not the God who we’d like Him to be. And we should hang with Job on this. After all, that God is the only God who really matters.

Jeff Hopper

August 23, 2011

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