"I want God, not my idea of God"
My friend Wes makes a good point. Wanting to know God, desiring to grow in the Lord, looking for God to work in life and anticipating His Kingdom to be made real in our lives has to do with expectations and perceptions. In most cases, who we are and how we act as followers of Jesus is shaped by our concept of who God is. If God is a "big grandfather in the sky", we are apt to see a passive God as not One to be obeyed and served but placated and entertained. If our God is some what of a harsh judge, then guilt, self-abasement and frustration is apt to be our lot in life because we we are is processed through the lens of condemnation. That's why WE WANT God…all of our ideas of God are limited. We only have an expanded idea of who God is is in relationship. That's why community in faith is so important…we don't need relationships to be "saved" (per se) but we do need it to grow and know God. I need someone else in my life who can show me MORE OF GOD than my limited experience and vision can comprehend. So, take a look at Wes' word…insightful to be sure! Bless you as you grow in Jesus!
"I want God, not my idea of God." By Wes Ellis
A classic C.S. Lewis quote recently showed up in my newsfeed on Facebook. The quote was, "I want God, not my idea of God." (Note from Robin – This classic quote is from an incredibly great book that C.S. Lewis wrote after his wife passed away. It is moving and insightful)
A Grief Observed
by C. S. Lewis by HarperCollins e-books
Kindle Edition ~ Release Date: 2009-06-09
Initially I thought nothing of it. I liked it. But then I realized how thought provoking the quote really is… I wondered if it actually had any meaning. After all, almost anyone from any side of the spectrum could "like" this quote and if two people from opposing theological and social perspectives could both like the same quote for completely different reasons, does the quote actually mean anything? I like it because it challenges someone else's distorted idea of God, but someone else might like it because it challenges my idea of God, which they see as distorted as well.
It validates everyone. So who's right? The quote doesn't help us there. But precisely on this point I realize how debilitating this quote actually is. "I want God, not my idea of God." The truth is, to say this quote and actually mean it requires an inhuman degree of humility. We like our ideas of God. We can parse those, explain those (even if we simultaneously say they're unexplainable), we can make our own decisions based on those ideas. We can have ideas. In fact, our idea of God is all we really have at all. So to distinguish who God is from our idea of God is essentially to lose God. To say, "I want God, not my idea of God," is to give up… to give up control, to give up understanding, to give up on our own action and become utterly helpless and utterly Godless.
But it is precisely in this place of surrender and Godforsakenness that God comes to meet us. It is only when we give up on the only thing we have and rely solely on that which we cannot grasp, explain, exploit, or control that we encounter the God who is utterly free and perfectly present. So it's ironic that my first inclination, and perhaps many others' inclination, to read this quote-"I want God, not my idea of God"-as validation. It is, in fact, the opposite. Since all we really have is our idea of God, it dismantles us and debilitates us from whatever attempts we might make to lay claim on God, even our claims to faith. It makes us utterly dependent, mere recipients with no power to receive but the power given to us. It mocks our claims to power and confidence. It celebrates the God who shows up when all our ideas fail. It celebrates what we dare not celebrate; our loss of the only God we know-the trading of the God we know for the God who is real, the trading of the God of confidence for the God of the cross, the death of the God we can use and argue and the discovery of the God who gives Godself to everyone (even our enemies). Such a quote can only be said, and meant, in fear and trembling. I bet that C.S. Lewis had a pretty good idea of the weight of this statement. I bet he said it fearfully. May I say the same for us.