Letting God Be God

Letting God Be God

Please join us for the CPC Annual Meeting this Sunday during the Sunday school hour (in the Sanctuary at 9:00a). We’ll give thanks and hear vision, along with a few important announcements. Also, crucially, we will be voting on new officers, a responsibility that falls to all church members. Don’t be afraid of duties. They are a way of taking on responsibility, which is how life takes on meaning. Thank you.

And please join us Sunday evening at 6:30 for one of our seasonal Missionary Prayer Nights. We support many missionaries who, in the end, are just ordinary souls out in some spiritual outpost, wondering at times if they have the strength, stamina, and sanity to continue. Those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength. Come, join us as we wait on the Lord on behalf of these embattled souls, our missionaries.

As the decades stack up, I wonder if the most necessary to understand, and yet most difficult aspect of God’s character, is his godishness — that he is entirely alone in who he is, sovereign, majestic, and sui generis, a Latin phrase meaning “his own category.”

» Scripture says this in various ways. Paul preached to the Athenian city fathers, “The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything” (Acts 17:24). He is not just beyond us, but beyond needing. In a way, this is the topic of two entire chapters of Job (38 & 39), my favorite passage from which is, “Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you know. On what were its bases sunk, or who laid its cornerstone, when the morning stars sang together and all the sons of God shouted for joy?” Go ahead, answer him.

I say this because I came across a quote this week that will be difficult to understand unless our vision of God is immense. There are times we begrudge God his godishness, and I don’t want this quote to be one of those times. Here it is, then I’ll make a final comment. It’s by the Polish “historian of ideas” Leszek Kołakowski:

“…critics assume that God has moral duties toward his creatures, whereas in fact he has none; he simply owes nothing to anybody, he is not bound by human rules concerning reciprocity, debts and claims; no one may rightfully say, ‘Lord, it is your obligation to give me this or that.’ The Libertine murmur amounts to blaming God for not submitting himself to the requirements of human justice, i.e., for not surrendering his sovereignty. That he is the God of love does not mean that you or I personally deserve his love; none of us deserve it, quite the contrary, and if it is given to some, this is the Creator’s gratuitous generosity; by justice alone we would all perish in infernal darkness. And one may argue that it would be absurd to say that love can be distributed according to justice; it cannot, by definition.”

Why am I sharing this? I want us to be, want myself to be, set free from all our petty grudges toward God, all our grumbling in the wilderness, all our anger, about what he permits in our lives. Any progress in this will translate to a freedom to serve him unencumbered by resentment and doubt. With time we will be at least slightly more able to turn to him in difficult moments and say, “Yes, Lord, this is the thing you have permitted. Strengthen me and show me how to walk in it.”