Two questions I have for God

Written by on May 13, 2009 in Faith and Spiritual Life, Notes By The Way with 1 Comment

20090425-189-032Who are you? What do you want of me? These are the two questions Mack had for God his first night in The Shack.

I recently started reading The Shack again, and these questions struck a chord. It wasn’t until recently that I really began asking the first question. I always thought I knew who God was. God was God, the one listening when I prayed, the One and only who was there whenever I closed my eyes to pray. That was the strangest part. It seemed like I could summon and dismiss God whenever I wanted. Easy. And I knew prayer formulas that always worked, guaranteed, if my heart was right (a big “if” if I suppose). The most important prayer formulas were for forgiveness and salvation.

The formula to pray for forgiveness sometimes went like this:

1. Stop everything. 2. Cue inner dramatic music, gather feelings of regret and perhaps shed a tear. 3. Close eyes and say something like: “LORD God, forgive me for (details go here). Thank you. You are so great. In Jesus’ name. Love, and so on. Amen.” 4. Turn the TV back on, etc. (The whole ritual can be done, with a moment of remorse, during a commercial break.)

I’m not saying it was always a formula, but I often treated God like a genie in a bottle — and a pretty powerless one by most “genie” standards.

Now I find myself crying out, “Who are you?” to a God I can’t control or contain. I’ve come to glimpse the incomprehensible mystery of God loving me — wild, untamed, elemental Source and Finale.

To this God, I ask, “What do you want of me?” Not because I can give something, because I can’t. Or can I? Doesn’t God ask for my whole life — a message not trusted to words but embodied and living in Jesus Christ?

I don’t think this is a symbolic request I can nod at and forget, or a formula to learn, or an obligation I can meet with calculation. It’s the desire of Love for all that I am and ever will be.

How do I love God? How do I match the desire of Love itself for me?

I don’t know. All I can do is trust that the true God who loves me, in reality, will show the way.

Mack put on God’s pajamas and went to sleep. I guess the journey is one decision at a time.

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About the Author

About the Author: Andy Gray is a writer and photographer living in Phnom Penh, Cambodia and working with Alongsiders International. You can find him puttering around the streets of Phnom Penh on his Suzuki Viva 125, running stoplights and driving on the wrong side of the road or on the sidewalks like a local. If you see him in a coffee shop, he'll be the one typing and deleting the same line over and over again. .

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