Before my dad had a stroke, he loved verbally jousting. Politics and policies and people, my dad had an opinion and he enjoyed hearing what other people thought about those subjects too. It was like his own version of sudoko, it kept him mentally sharp.
One day, shortly after I had rediscovered a relationship with God, my dad hit me with a big one. “I don’t get it,” he said, “all over the bible it says we were created to worship Him and bring Him glory. It sounds like God is a bit of an ego-maniac.” (Isaiah 43:21; John 4:24)
My dad grew up in the church and definitely has a strong faith, but he loved to question ideas and then diagnose people with some sort of mental disorder, thanks to his lifelong career as a psychotherapist.
Are you seeing more clearly why I turned out the way I did?
All joking aside, I was caught off guard by my dad’s question and it began to haunt me. All of a sudden, instead of blindly following God, I started looking at Him out of the corner of my eye.
Why would you allow that child to die?
Why wouldn’t you step in and help that family with their finances?
Why won’t you free that person from her addiction?
And why is there an army of angels in Heaven whose job is to continually worship you? (Luke 2:13-14; Revelation 7:11)
I was in a solid bible-based class at that time, so I took my questions to my teacher. She couldn’t find the right words, so she took it to her teacher.
That teacher came back with a question of her own:
Are you trying to give God human parameters?
A good person with the ability to save a life would never let a child die.
A good person with financial means would never let a family go hungry.
A good person who could take away disease and addiction would heal the sick.
A good person wouldn’t need an army of angels praising him.
I could see it clearly. I was putting God into a framework that made sense to my human brain. Sure, if God were human, he would have limitations. There would be a logical explanation to why things do and don’t happen. But He’s not human. He’s God.
My brain is limited by what I know and what I experience. I think I have the full story, but I don’t. Ever. For anything.
It’s been about 8 years and my dad and I aren’t able to verbally banter the way we used to, because communication has become more difficult for him. But I’m grateful for the way he challenged my faith with his question about God’s motives. It forced me to ask my own questions and find the sticky spots in my mind that were trying to vilify and fence in an un-fence-able God.
Are you trying to give God human parameters? I ask myself that question now when my ego says I have a better solution to my problems than God.
Our thoughts are not His thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8)
Our ways are not His ways.
Our timing is not His timing.
In those slight moments when I do have clarity, I can honestly say, thank God for that.