The hardest story in the Bible to see God’s gracious tender love is the cross unless your perspective is right. If you see God killing Jesus instead of you, you haven’t gotten it.
The second hardest is God asking Abraham to sacrifice his son. (But then there is the flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, Israel’s 40 years in the wilderness.) Honestly, I think I read the Bible too young without an interpreter who really knew God. I grew up scared of God. Growing up in my family helped a little. But besides the love God gives naturally for your children, and my mother’s love for God, my parents didn’t know how to love.
Consequently, I grew up not knowing how to love, and didn’t trust anyone. Not even God. But I was determined to. I just didn’t realize how paralyzed, how frozen and crippled I was. It has taken years to see and admit this. God’s tender love shown in the intimacy of how well he knows me is healing my heart. From time to time They have allowed me to experience Their amazingly personal love in exactly what I needed when I gave Them time, and made space for Them. They have carried me through hard things like death and divorce. Now I prioritize time with Them. I look for Their messages. I crave Their intimacy.
As I began to realize, to heal, to feel Their love, I wanted to write the Bible as a good-God story from a cosmic point of view, with the backstory of the war in the universe between good and evil. In doing this I have discovered that most of the Bible characters didn’t trust God either. I mean, couldn’t Moses have focused on fear a little less? And Abraham! He set himself up for a terrible test because he didn’t trust God!
Abraham’s story is an amazing parallel of Jesus story. Abraham didn’t want to offer Isaac as a sacrifice. Neither did God want to offer Adonai.
Abraham’s promised son had a miraculous birth. So did God’s. Abraham wanted to do it a different way. So did God. Abraham learned to trust through suffering. Jesus learned to trust through suffering.
Abraham became sure of who he was in God–a beloved son. Jesus became sure of who he was–the beloved son, Messiah, and then God.
Satan said Abraham wasn’t good enough to be the “father of the faithful” and called for a test of his love and God allowed it. Satan had also said God wasn’t good enough to rule the universe and called for a test of Their love and God allowed it. I believe Abraham’s test was a microcosm, a vignette for us, of God’s test in front of the universe.
Abraham was in agony on the trip up to Moriah, and couldn’t tell Isaac he was the sacrifice until the last minute. Jesus was in agony in Gethsemane with no support, because he couldn’t get his disciples to believe he was the sacrifice until the last minute.
Abraham finally was willing to let Isaac die, and told Isaac God’s idea; Isaac was willing to die. Adonai told Abba and Ruach His idea, and after a while they were willing to let Him die.
Abraham couldn’t feel God’s presence, but God rescued Isaac from death. On the cross Jesus couldn’t feel God’s presence but God rescued Jesus by coming to shorten the agony. It normally took up to two weeks to die by crucifixion. So Abba and Ruach came in a dark cloud to hasten his death to three hours. Their presence is consuming to sin, evil and entropy. Jesus had taken on sin, evil and entropy. If Abba and Ruach hadn’t come wrapped in a dark cloud, everyone standing around the cross would have been killed, and Jesus could have come down. That would have been an amazing rescue, but the universe still would have thought God caused death!
Abraham’s life was a testament to God’s love, goodness and faithfulness. Jesus’ life was a testament to God’s love, goodness and faithfulness.
God’s problem has been demonstrating that death comes in separation from Them, not from Them. BUT Satan was saying, “If you don’t do what They say, They’ll kill you!” And it looked true at the flood. It looked true with Job. It looked true with Nadab and Abihu and the plagues God allowed Satan to inflict on Israel when they lost God’s protection through disobedience.
The trouble is God’s pure, stable, love energy causes death to unstable atoms like ours. They had to figure out a way to be with us and not consume (kill) us. So They gave directions, also called commands or laws, but if people didn’t follow them, they sometimes died. It was hard for people to understand that Adonai didn’t kill Nadab and Abihu, for example. It surely looked like He did!
I am so blessed that someone came to my mother selling The Desire of Ages. She recognized it as a book she had loved as a child but was forbidden to read. I am blessed that she loved Ellen White’s books, and that I was drawn to The Story of Patriarchs and Prophets. Her books made Jesus real and opened up to me more and more about the cosmic conflict we were born into. For years I thought if people just understood this. But it wasn’t long before I realized no one would take the time to read their long difficult sentences now.
So I wrote Jesus life as a blog that runs on-line from Easter to Easter. Then came the idea of writing the Bible as God’s story from female, family-systems perspective. Make it fun and easy to read filling in the backstory as Ruach gave me the ideas. Love’s Playbook is the result. I can tell you I didn’t feel able or worthy. I had to think about it for a year or two. And if I hadn’t remembered two or three prophecies spoken over me 30 years earlier, I probably wouldn’t have thought I could do it. Who did I think I was to rewrite the Bible?
Just God’s beloved.
And so are you. Do the good ideas They give you to do.