Describe God. What words or images come to mind?
Exalted. Powerful. Supreme. Not needing help or validation. Mighty. Awesome. Brave and bold. Capable. Sovereign.
The Christian God is an amazing god.
But do we see God clearly?
In Luke 18, as I mentioned in yesterday's post on desperate prayer, God is contrasted with an unjust judge. Through this contrast, we are challenged to see God in a different way.
In the passage, Luke makes a "how much more" argument. It's a classic structure. If you like ground beef, how much more you must love filet. If your co-workers think you're smart, how much more must your mom brag about you. If sinful parents know how to give good gifts, how much more will your Heavenly Father give you exactly what you need.
If the unjust judge - who is selfish and disinclined to give justice - acts in response to the widow's persistence, how much more will God - who is generous and inclined to give justice - hear the cries of the people he has chosen.
God brings justice.
God listens to his people.
God sees to it that his people get justice quickly.
This picture of a God who is involved, concerned, active often clashes with our view of him. In response to the evil we see in the world, we think that God is uninvolved. In light of our pain, we see God as preoccupied. In the midst of our throwing ourselves into service, we act like God has left us to work for him without his help.
Our theology tells us better, but our lives betray us (as does our worship music).
A god who is only exalted, only transcendent, only focused on his own glory is not the Christian God. The Christian God knows blood and dirty diapers. The Christian God knows sweat and hard work and sore feet. The Christian God knows friendship and betrayal and pain and loneliness ... cross, death, grave ... and joy and confusion and hope and life.
This is the God in whom we are called to place our faith, the God who sees and cares and helps quickly. He is not like the Unjust Judge. He is trustworthy.
But, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth? Will we even recognize him?
This post is one of several reflecting on Luke 18, which the InterVarsity Florida Divisional Staff Team studied during one of our days together this Fall.