Category Archives: Becoming real

A Perspective Excerpt from Love’s Playbook 5

I’ve decided to share a couple of pages from the book I’m working on. It’s book five in the series: Exodus and the plagues. This is a break in the story for a new perspective.

“Whether or not Satan can create brings up an interesting question. Does God create destructive elements—in this case flies? Egypt has historically had the dog fly. It is large and venomous with a painful bite. And this one God instructed Moses to tell Pharaoh would not come on the Hebrews because God would make a distinction between Egypt and His special people.

It’s possible the first three hadn’t affected them either, but this is the first time God specifically tells Pharaoh it won’t, to make sure he is aware of it. Does God protect his own people from God? Or from enemies?

Back to the original question. It is true Satan doesn’t have ability to create life from nothing. But we have all seen how he can twist God’s gifts to create aberrations. Look at the suffering and disease he has created from sex. Or just the diseases he creates in us from ignorance and from taste, let alone viruses he creates. Remember in this series how Lucifer was given the chance to study the laws of nature and see what he could create. No doubt, he learned a lot about nature and its laws.

At that time he was still under God’s influence, and getting to fulfil his dream. He had not yet defected and activated the law of sin and death. But imagine what he must have done in the lab after he had activated entropy. He is called “the destroyer” in Exodus 12:23 and also in the book of Hebrews (2:14). He would destroy all of us (or have us destroy each other) if God allowed. It’s who he has become.

This is the first plague where it says the land was corrupted—literally the Hebrew is “the land was destroyed.” Would God have done this? Or would he have allowed the dark side to do their thing? I think it is the latter. I don’t believe God is the creator of evil. I think it is the absence of good as death is the absence of life.

Yes, They allow it to exist for choices, but They are winning the “right” now to banish evil, keeping it only as a personal choice forever, because it brings death. God has allowed Satan to have the power of death as long as he is kept alive. When God stops shielding him, he and all of his will cease to exist. Evil can’t exist in God’s presence. Revelation 20 says death and hell will be thrown into the lake of fire which is simply a metaphor for the dark side rushing into God’s unbridled energy to take his new city. (See Rev. 20:7-10.)

So why haven’t we questioned this before? We didn’t have the perspective. Our collective consciousness thought God does what He wants to because He is God, and thought the fear of God was literal along with other metaphors. Most people served God from fear—not what God wants! Now we know that another translation is more accurate: fear is best translated reverence or respect.

So why did God allow this? Because to protect our freedom there has to be hooks to hang doubt on. God can’t make everything completely plain until someone asks. Some things had to be shrouded in mystery until we started questioning and searching for a better understanding.

I don’t suppose I am the first one to question or understand this, just one who dares to interpret scripture this way, write it down and publish it.”

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Filed under A God perspective, a perspective on evil, Becoming real, Living well, Love ed, Respect and disrespect, Separation, suffering, Uncategorized, What is God like?, When religion gets it wrong...

Sometimes Silliness turns Profound

This will undoubtedly be the silliest example of perspective you’ve ever heard, but for me it is profound because of  the truth that comes from the obvious. My husband bought a new shower squeegee because the old one had never worked well and I’d finally had it with it. I asked him to get a good one. So he did and came back and assured me he had spent the extra money for a good one.

The first time I used it, I was intrigued, it didn’t even work as well as the old one! And he paid a lot more for this? So I thought it must be the angle. I must not be holding it up enough. I was puzzled after a few uses, and then one day in a hurry, grabbed it and used it backwards–so I thought. And it worked perfectly! Now that’s odd, I thought.

The next time I looked at it, I discovered that I was what was odd. The squeegee was designed differently than any I had used so I thought it was backwards, I had only used ones where the handle curved down, but on this one the handle curved up when you held it right, and then it did work much better than any we’d had! It actually made more sense when I thought about it. I’d just never seen one like that before–had no mental map for it–no experience to validate that reality.

This morning God helped me walk through some reality of my own. Reality that wasn’t lovely but necessary. It seems most of my life I have been unnecessarily harsh as a protective mechanism. I didn’t even realize it. I actually think that somehow I had made a virtue of it in my own mind. Something like a “shooting straight from the hip” perspective. It was quite painful, but when I saw that fear was behind it, I was more than glad to embrace it as a means to letting it go. Crazy, but that is how it works. See it, own it, release it.

As I looked at it squarely, no excuses or quick switching to someone else’s responsibility, I saw how long God had been trying to get my attention on this–20 years? Maybe longer. It had to get in my face to see the pattern and ramifications of it.

The good news is, now I can expect to be different. Healing is like that. So why are we so afraid to look at our ugly places? It’s because we don’t want to have them. Don’t want to admit we are ugly.

I’ve written before about how crazy it is that we would rather be in denial when most everyone else already knows what we don’t. But we hate to be seen as bad, wrong, or broken. It is painful to admit.

Yesterday we had a whole broken, distant day because it was painful for my husband to admit he had made a spot on the carpet and made it worse by trying to clean it. We both already knew it, but when I referenced that I would clean it because he had already tried, he got defensive. Why was that painful? You’d rather ruin a day over it?

Yet we ruin our lives rather than look at ourselves honestly. Maybe it’s because we don’t think we can do anything about it. We feel hopeless to change. I do understand that! That is scary. It isn’t really that we don’t want to change; we think we can’t. We desperately feel the need to be loved just the way we are.

The best news is that we are loved just the way we are, and that Love makes it possible for us to discard the things we hate so badly that we can’t even look at them. Yes, we have to be willing to look, it’s a little painful–always is to look at yourself without your blinders firmly in place. But you can be free. And God is kind when it hurts. It’s good to come into the light. Everybody else already knows and celebrates! We’re usually last to see it.

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Filed under Becoming real, Living well, Mental Health, suffering, Uncategorized, What is God like?

Only a Big Man can Admit He’s Been Wrong

I have to give kudos to my new son-in-law. I am so proud of him for being open to Spirit and being teachable. He has been drinking green juice that I would have a hard time drinking and I’ve been at this health thing almost 40 years. A few months ago all he liked was meat, white pasta and white breads, and that’s pretty much all he ate, besides desserts. But his pastor went on a Daniel Fast (Daniel 1 and 9) and he was impressed to do the same.

My daughter was astonished–what would he eat? But he was resolute. She is amazing with food–like a magician almost; and she was so grateful that she decided to make it as easy on him as she could. He ate things he had no idea he was eating. They did it for 60 days, and she said he began to look different after even one week.

We visited not long after their fast was over, and I asked him if he had felt a difference?

“Oh yeah!” was his immediate response.

I resisted any desire to comment further. That was enough. 🙂 I was so proud of him for even that. Because he had always given me such a hard time about being vegan. He had called me “the veggie prophet,” which I assumed meant I was calling for eating vegetables? (I had never asked for explanation.)

But I was thrilled that three little boys heard it–we were all sitting at the dinner table, and they don’t miss a thing–especially when he speaks. They had heard the teasing, so I was glad they could hear the admission.

It takes a big man to admit he’s been wrong. He is a big man, but he just grew in my eyes, and I think in the eyes of three little men.

This morning Richard and I read Psalm 23-25, and in  25:9 was, “The meek (teachable) will He guide in judgment (discernment), and the meek will He teach His way.” God’s ways make us happy (and healthy). And He is happy to teach us because when you feel better, life looks better, it improves your perspective by 100%. Verse 12 is a companion saying, “What man fears (reverences) the Lord? him shall He teach in the way that He shall choose.” The way of God’s choosing or ours? It is also translated “He shall teach him in the way he should choose.” (guidance) The NIV says, “…in the way chosen for him.”

I couldn’t find a translation to support this but I think it is true, that even in the way of our own choosing God will teach us if we reverence Him and realize that He knows better than we do–and really that is what being teachable is. Who doesn’t believe that the Creator of a universe 15 billion light years across might know more than me? That isn’t really the issue, is it? It’s whether I believe God created me, loves me personally, has my best interests at heart. Does He care? Can I know Him? Can I trust Him?

This makes a dilemma for Memorial Day. It’s a day to be grateful for so many men who died and underwent horrible trauma for our freedom.

I hate war.  I have seven grandsons. Need I say more? But we live with it, and it scares me to think what they might have to go through. So I ask God to make them strong men who always have a relationship with Him and a heart to listen to Him. Men who can admit when they are wrong, men who will ask for guidance, men He can teach His ways.

Have to add this–the message in church was from Leviticus 25–God’s ways bring rest and space and trust and plenty into our lives. We need that rest–Shabbat rest–even the land rested. You can rest because you trust. You can trust because you know Him.

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Vulnerability is Strength

Nobody likes being needy. I wrote last week about vulnerability–was going to title it Vulnerability is a Good Thing–but my husband said it was a terrible title–he wouldn’t read anything with that title. I guess guys especially don’t like being vulnerable, but why? Why do we think there is a clash between vulnerability and strength? I think only those who are truly strong can be vulnerable. They are the only ones who aren’t afraid.

I suppose men see the vulnerable as those who can’t protect themselves physically, those who are over-powered by brute strength. The old “might makes right” idea. Men are built with protective instinct, and that’s a good thing. The worst abuse, called sanctuary betrayal, is when those who are supposed to protect us are the ones hurting us. So I’m glad they are programmed that way. God did it, so He wanted protectors in society, just in case something went wrong, which it did, and we were physically vulnerable. (Remember He created it perfect–no evil.)

But there is another kind of vulnerability that is good. Emotional vulnerability. The willingness to be vulnerable–to make yourself open–transparent–nothing to hide. Most of us can’t quite get there–not with everyone and not all the time. Life has given us experiences we are afraid to share for fear of judgment, some of it warranted, but everyone’s experience is different, so it’s good to really know the person you are telling before you share all. God is the only one brave enough and good enough to be totally vulnerable, and even He has taken time, and considered who, when, and how he shares.

A great example of this happened this morning with my husband. We were both tired this week, and hit a high point of crabbiness yesterday. I was sure I must be hormonal, but this morning he was sitting in the sun on the patio, and he got vulnerable (!) and motioned for me to sit in his lap. Then he said, “No matter what we might do or say to each other, know that I love you.” This is rare sharing for him, and it brings reciprocation (almost always for anyone).

Later we were in the car and I shared that I had thought my irritability had been from hormones, but maybe, since he had felt the same, it was our week long empty-carb binge beginning with some decadent pancakes we had on Mothers’ Day. He had blamed me that he didn’t feel good and we had been distant for days. We had also had pizza three times, instead of our usual “clean eating.” (For some reason he was in search of the perfect frozen pizza. And since he cooks three nights a week, I just try to be grateful.) So we talked about getting back to our nutrient-rich diet, and I told him, “I’m so glad you shared how you felt and we talked about this. It was very helpful to me.”

Vulnerability is scary, I know, but it is what makes therapy work. It’s also what makes relationships work.

And it is the way God has chosen to secure His universe in freedom forever! He has made all of His actions transparent, full disclosure for the whole watching universe! He wasn’t afraid of being hurt or misunderstood. Now that is vulnerability! And don’t miss that it is also coming from tremendous strength.

 

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Don’t Pursue a Distancer

My husband has gotten into the ten-second rule, and I like it.

I read my blogs to him to see if he approves before I post them, and it’s very helpful because he’s a voracious reader. So for the past three days, whenever one of us gets negative or critical, he’s been saying, “Ok you’ve got three seconds,” or he starts counting seconds. When I realized what he was doing, I got into it, and it has been good–even fun. It’s a great boundary, and incorporates another relationship strategy of working on the same issue consciously at the same time. That is how you shorten the constant of distance between you.

That just means that everyone gets together at an emotional distance that is tolerable for them, and that becomes a constant in the relationship. If something causes one of you to distance, the other one will pursue to keep the constant distance, otherwise you both get uncomfortable. Status quo is powerful and causes you to do this back and forth distance-pursuer dance. But if one of you crashes and burns in an affair or addiction, the other needs to step back, even if it means leaving, until the burnt one recognizes the distance shift and cares enough to choose help. Then the partner can come back, otherwise they are enabling.

To change the constant distance, you both have to recognize that you want to, and you want to be closer. So you have to do the same thing at the same time (pursue) in order to lessen the distance. It’s a great thing to learn. The axiom goes, “Don’t ever pursue a Distancer. And don’t give a Pursuer an inch of slack.” Or in other words–if your partner distances, distance. If your partner pursues, pursue. Mirror them (unless they are crashing and burning.) That is the way to become closer.

 

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Got Love? If you are alone today…

Valentines Day–the day we celebrate love–happens to fall on the same day I celebrate God, but then I’m growing into doing that every day.

So, of course you’ve got love today, but do you know it? Are you living in it? Letting it lift you? Letting it nourish you? Celebrating it?

God’s love is as available to you as air! Truly! There is only one requirement, you have to want it.

And it is the sweetest, most affirming, most knowing love you have ever had or could have. God loves you wildly. More than you love your children. More than your parents love you. More than your greatest infatuation.

How do I know this? Because I am experiencing it, and it is truly amazing. I thought I grew up loved, and yet I have such incredible love deficits that sometimes I think I don’t know how to give or receive love at all. But I am learning. I am discovering how to accept, how to receive love, how to let myself be loved.

Sounds easy, doesn’t it? I find that it’s not. God has been teaching me to be still and know Him.

We all long for love, but we are not good at it.

We aren’t even good at loving ourselves. Many of us grew up believing it wasn’t right, even. Yet Jesus said God’s law was summed up in “love God with your whole being and your neighbor as yourself.” Don’t love yourself? Can’t love your neighbor.

This past week I said to a client, “When you are loving yourself, who are you working with? God? or His enemies?”

It was a new thought to her. It often is. God loves you, so naturally wants you to love you too. It makes His work easier.

Our problem is getting confused. We think negativity about us is a good thing. We also think loving us is a soft thing. Not true. While kindness is very important, sometimes hard love is the best love you can give yourself. Hard love as in discipline–not eating that extra piece of cake, getting up to exercise because your mind and body work better. Stopping long enough to imagine the situation from your children’s eyes. Fasting 40 days from chocolate, or at least sugar.

But the most important thing is the hardest: Sitting still long enough to let God love you. Sitting still, purposely, just to be in His presence. Even ten minutes to start is good. Breathe and count 7 seconds in and 7 seconds out. Listen to your breathing. Invite God to be with you, to speak to you, to tune you to His voice. But don’t worry if you don’t hear Him, just be with Him. Know that He wants to be with you 1000 times more than you want to be with Him!

And His love is not just like the best Father or Mother you can imagine. It is a lover’s love as well. So whatever kind of love you need, He has it all for you. All you have to do is ask. You do have to want it. He waits for your invitation. Just ask Him to meet you.

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Why are You Afraid of God?

One thing really came home to me last weekend. Nothing that God is involved in can be bad, whether it is death or anything else. It might seem or feel bad, but His presence (Love) is such pure energy, even sad, hard things are filled with joy–such sweet bonding and connections came from the weekend of Rocky’s funeral. It was a celebration of her life: beautiful, inspiring and uplifting. I felt honored to be related.

How did we get so afraid of God?

Was it, as I have heard in therapy, that God didn’t answer childhood prayers the way we thought He should? One teenage girl prayed for her family as a child, and it came apart anyway, so she had no use for Him after that. She didn’t understand freedom.

Maybe, even as adults, we (like her) don’t understand that God doesn’t take away other people’s freedom to hurt us. Freedom is much more scary than God! But even that is tempered by His keeping power if you ask to be kept. He isn’t willing for anyone to lose his or her true self, even though you might suffer.

I wonder how many of us have been scared away from God by church teaching. The church has been very effective with marketing guilt, and a harsh, exacting picture of God. They haven’t done a good job of interpreting scripture. Not that there isn’t some support for fear there.

God has had to leave hooks for doubt in scripture so we are free to choose. People wrote what God communicated but often it was mixed with there own perspective, mixed with their own fear, guilt, anger–and not a clear understanding of God. Sometimes they were very close to God and knew Him well, but we bring our own fear etc. to their words, and misread.

For this reason I’ve decided to continue with Love’s Playbook II going through the Bible writing it as God’s love story. Making Him look as He really is–all good–a God of love. I’m about four chapters in and loving it. I can’t think too far ahead or I get overwhelmed.

But one thing I’ve realized is that early on I will have to deal with God’s wrath. I think our main problem with God (besides just wanting to do our own thing) is not understanding his wrath or anger. It’s a lot different from ours. And if we can get the very scariest part of God nailed down, you can’t help but see where we went off track, and why understanding wrath is so important.

This might surprise you, but according to the major Old Testament prophets, God’s wrath is letting go. Letting you do what you want when what you want is destructive to yourself and others. . .when God steps back the dark side steps in and it gets really scary. Not always right at the beginning, because they don’t want to scare you back to God, but they hate us and their self-control isn’t good.

God’s worst, worst wrath is when He comes into your presence with you unprepared because pure energy combusts disordered atoms. This doesn’t happen often because His self-control is very good. It did happen a few times with warning, but one day He will come here and whatever is out of harmony will go poof in flame and disappear for ever, but it won’t burn forever–big difference.

Everyone will have had the chance to choose being loved by God or doing your own thing. He won’t force you to love, and He will give you your way, but your way is fantasy, because you have no power against evil or the dark side. If you don’t choose love, they will take over. You live in a war zone.

That is scary, but God isn’t.

 

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Perspective on Death

My niece Rocky died peacefully in her sleep this morning at 5:00.(Monday) And since I process mostly through writing, and I will be gone when this posts this weekend, I wanted to at least start it today.

I have fluctuated between emptiness and praise today. The emptiness is wondering why I didn’t take more advantage of the time I could have spent talking with her, and getting together with her…

The praise is knowing her suffering is over, and because she went so sweetly, she got her healing–she didn’t even know she died. Her next conscious thought will be in total wonderful health and seeing her beloved Jesus. She’s as good as there.

Right up until the day before she died she told her Mom she needed less company so she could pray and meditate. She didn’t want anything to come between her and Jesus so he could heal her. Sweet.

I had an interesting thought after that. It must have been hard for Jesus to raise Lazarus from the dead knowing he would have to suffer living here and die again!

I’m sure he was glad he could do it for the sisters! But I think God must be happy when His children are safe, secure out of harms way, asleep, as Jesus said, waiting for Him to wake them.

Would I want to bring Rocky back? Yes, for myself. But for her to go through all this again? No!

Death isn’t the same to God as to us. It seems He works harder to keep people alive who haven’t yet had a chance to see Him as the love He really is–to make a choice based on good information.

When my little brother died, God gave me the scripture: “Precious in the eyes of the Lord is the death of His children…” That was when I began to understand God’s perspective. And I don’t even believe we go straight to heaven.

I have no problem with people comforting themselves with the belief that their loved ones are in heaven. It seems like a sweet doctrine. I just can’t support it from scripture. There are two, maybe three passages that seem to support it, if you tweak them that way.

My resistance to believing it is simple, and based on two things:

1) There is a preponderance of scripture for believing we are “asleep” until Jesus wakes us: from Genesis to Revelation, including Jesus’ own words, the words of his disciples, and the whole doctrine of the resurrection.*

2) I know how the dark side loves to deceive, Satan is a master at deception, and who would disagree with someone they love “coming back from the dead? They could tell them anything–any lies, and they would believe them. It happened in scripture, and it happens today. It’s a perfect stage for the enemy’s lies. Grieving people are targets for it, and they have no protection if they want it and believe in it.

I think that is scary, and I see us getting set up for a huge deception, just because we want to believe something sweet that isn’t true.

You might say, “But everyone believes it!” as someone said to me a couple of days ago.

I know! The enemy has been working hard on this one for a long time–since Eden. It must be very important to his final strategy.** He’s been very successful with it becoming a doctrine, getting the church to promote it! That ought to give us pause, to make us question it.

So there it is. Now it’s up to you. God doesn’t want you deceived.

 

*Genesis 3:4, 19, Luke 8, John 11, *Thessalonians 4:15-18 are just a sample of them

**2Thessalonians 2:5-12

 

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A Perspective on Perspective

I promised to answer questions I raised about suffering with the last blog, so for those who are interested: here are my answers. And my disclaimer is don’t take my word, search it out for yourself. This represents 50+ years of Bible study, but you need to know for yourself, asking God’s Spirit to teach you.

Perspective is a very flexible, subjective thing. Beauty and wisdom are in the eyes of the beholder. We don’t have to come to consensus, but you might think if we have the same teacher, we would.

If we could see all the variables God sees, we would be amazed and overwhelmed. But this has helped me understand a sliver of why my brother wasn’t healed in answer to his sisters’ prayers.

If he had been healed, just to watch his baby girl (now 44) die from cancer, it would have been over-the-top pain. She was the one who sat by his bed the last week of his life.

But why not heal her? My religion shows and teaches Jesus healing everyone who asked. Even now Jesus heals those who ask, but not always in their time frame.

He’s promised to heal, He’s promised to answer, but not necessarily now. And not at our demand. Because like a loving and faithful parent, he sometimes says “Wait a while,” and other times He says “No” because His wisdom sees ahead.

However, He has supplied some examples of changing His “no” to yes with disastrous results because someone cried and asked Him to.

The story of Hezekiah* is one of these. He became very ill, and God sent Isaiah to tell him that he would not recover. Now Hezekiah was one of the best kings Israel ever had. He brought tremendous reforms, and did wonderful things, and God honored him–even defeating Sennacherib and the whole Assyrian army when they threatened Israel.

Because he had been so faithful to God, he cried to God and used his record of faithfulness as reason God should heal him. And so God did. He even gave him a sign that he would recover that got the attention of the secular nations around.

But when ambassadors came asking about it, Hezekiah’s faith failed him. He didn’t talk about God or his healing. He showed them what he knew they could relate to–treasure. And they did–they came back and got it.

But that isn’t the worst. During the extra 15 years given to Hezekiah, his son Manasseh was born–one of the worst kings, if not the worst, Israel ever had. He took Israel away from God for 40 years, and undid all the work of his father. It was the beginning of the end that led to being conquered. So what do you think? Was that just so we could read about it and learn to trust His “no”?

If we can get to the place of trusting God–just believing He is all good, and knows what is best, we would be happier. We would be a lot less confused and more relaxed. We don’t know what He sees, what He knows, so knowing Him becomes the only thing we can depend on. He is the loving, all-wise parent.

I’ve been trying to understand what life is all about for 55 years, and in the last ten, two things have become very clear: God is all good and He’s not afraid to suffer and die, and even though He hates suffering and death, He’s not afraid to let us suffer and die. He sees death very differently than we do.

But that’s for next time.

Chronicles 29-32

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The Hard and Soft Side of Love

I have a friend who is struggling with his son constantly pushing the limits, always testing, needing someone who cares enough to set and hold limits.

My friend’s fear? That he will ruin his kid–who will grow up hating his father if he disciplines too much. He loved his dad who disciplined him–it’s not coming from there. His wife is overly soft–she may have gotten to him.

I repeatedly assure him that limits are where security comes from–knowing that someone cares enough to fight with you because you are worth it. Also knowing that someone bigger and trustworthy is in charge.

I’ve written about this so-necessary side of love before;  it is something parents really struggle with today.

This morning, sitting with God, it occurred to me that my insecurity comes from the same place.

I desperately want to know I can relax and be the carefree child growing up in an atmosphere of complete trust. Knowing One greater than me is in control overseeing like a loving parent, careful to filter out all truly bad things, but allowing those I need for my own development.

My own parents were permissive. And unfortunately I, too, passed it on.

So I know where it came from, but why is this so hard for me to get? I mean really “get.” I know it intellectually. But to have it in my cells–every one of them–so I can trust this God I call Father. The one I get up to sit with just because I want to be in His Presence, because I want to soak in His love and feel it, because I want it to heal me so I can relax and be me–no thought, no effort, just be.

I want to live loving everything, confident that whatever is allowed in my life has been filtered by the gentlest hand and I can accept it with confidence and grace, knowing I am loved.

I saw Exodus over the holidays, and I didn’t like their picture of God any more than the one in Noah. Ugh, they were both portrayed as distant, uncaring, vengeful. I suppose they want to make Him look strong. But can’t God be strong and not vengeful? Can’t He be pictured as involved and not codependent?

I think so. I’m not too far from parents today who want there kids to have all good things. But I KNOW that isn’t going to make them happy. Happiness comes from inside. From making choices, sometimes hard ones, from knowing you’ve done the right thing even when it isn’t easy. I know we all need our pain, and we are hard-wired for struggle, but truth be told, I want a God who is all sweetness and light.

Or do I?

I want a God who is strong enough to deal with evil. One who is strong enough to protect me and those I love. One who is wise enough to guide me through the things I need to learn to grow up.

I want a God strong enough to deal with evil–to eradicate suffering and pain. I want a God good enough to know my true heart, as well as the hearts of those I love. I want a God much, much bigger than me, who is totally trustworthy.

I want a God who is all good, but strong enough to do the hard stuff that needs to be done.

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Filed under A God perspective, a perspective on evil, Becoming real, Love ed, Loved, Parenting, suffering, Uncategorized, What is God like?