Do I Use God?

Last week, in our Community Group, we read through chapter 6 of a book called Sacred Romance by John Eldredge. In the opening paragraphs, he writes “many professing Christians end up living as practical agnostics. Perhaps God will come through, perhaps he won’t, so I’ll be hanged if I’ll live as though he had to come through. I’ll hedge my bets and if he does show up, so much the better. There is a simple word for this: godlessness. Like a lover who’s been wronged, we guard our heart against future disappointment.”

Ah, I didn’t like those words at all because they fit my life a little too well. I began to realize that much of what I call faith – is really just a hedging my bets kind of thing. “Of course, God is good and in control – so, whatever he does is just fine.” What I began to ponder is how this isn’t really any way to have a relationship with someone. If God is in control of everything, then he could stop or start anything from happening – and if something happens that is flat out painful — it might be something to speak to him about. The whole idea of being angry at God has always been a mystery to me and I think it’s because I’ve protected my heart, as Eldredge says. However, I should probably get a bit mad at God – and talk to him – and plead with him – and ask him tough questions. This would seem to be the nature of having a relationship with someone.

This all reminded me of a challenge from atheists that prayer is a crutch that Christians use and that it is really nothing more than self-fulfilling prophecy. The argument is that if you pray to a milk jug – you’ll get the same results as praying to God. If you pray for something and it happens, you say “thanks” to the milk jug. If you pray and nothing happens, you just say “I guess it wasn’t the will of the milk jug.” While this certainly isn’t how prayer should work, this is the example that many people live out their faith over and over again. We use God as a psychological crutch to feel like all is right with the world. And, atheists and others watch and are no more impressed than if they watched people pray to a milk jug.

So, rather than just (in a heart protecting way) accept the outcomes of life – I am compelled to begin to relate to God as if he was a person (and he is!) … asking, pleading, questioning, wrestling. Maybe, I’ll begin to experience a depth with him for which I long & just maybe people will see something more than “milk jug faith.”

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~ by Ted Wueste on May 1, 2008.

2 Responses to “Do I Use God?”

  1. Psalm 13 has been an interesting part of my angry-at-God journey – a list of imperatives and accusations! Sure, David wraps it up neatly at the end (or rather, I think he’s misunderstood as wrapping it up), but if nothing else, the WordAGad has people getting angry at Him!

    No solution, just part of my trudge.
    David

  2. It’s interesting that I’ve never had a problem with people getting angry at God … I’ve even encouraged people to do so, but I’ve always thought that it wasn’t something that I needed to do. What I’ve been awakened to is the reality that if I’m in a relationship with God and truly paying attention to my heart and His heart – I’ll get angry and frustrated, ok – even mad.

    I just think I’ve gotten so good at turning off my emotions that it’s tough to go there. I just don’t let things affect me – at least, that’s how I used to be.

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