Make Peace with a Dangerous God
- Whitney Hopler Live It Editor
- 2006 9 May
God is easy to love when He’s as gentle as a kitten. But sometimes His purr turns into a roar, and you’re shocked to encounter a God more powerful than the mightiest lion. This God answers your prayers in unexpected ways and asks you to give your whole life up to Him. His glory is so bright that it shows you the darkness you’re in and makes you tremble. When you don’t understand Him, you feel the urge to run away.
But He always pursues you. And even though He pulls you out of your comfort zone, He pulls you into something greater – His love.
Here’s how you can make peace with a dangerous God:
* Expect the unexpected. Stop trying to contain God within the box of what you can understand. Don’t assume that you can predict how He will act. Accept that His ways are sometimes mysterious.
* Seek true peace. Rather than looking for peaceful circumstances that are temporary at best, seek the only peace that lasts – the peace Christ gives. Remember that God doesn’t promise to change challenging situations, but He does promise to always be with you as you go through them. Rely on His peace to sustain you in the midst of any type of circumstances.
* Ask God for perspective. Acknowledge that your view of whatever you’re currently going through is limited, but God can see it clearly and completely. Pray for God to give you a wiser perspective on your circumstances.
* Be willing to take risks. Understand that never taking risks means never knowing God the way He wants you to know Him. Instead of searching for safety, which makes you self-centered, be willing to risk whatever it takes to focus more on God. Ask Him to give you the courage you need to follow where He leads so you can grow closer to Him.
* Stop trying to prove yourself to God. Don’t waste time or energy trying to earn God’s love. Realize that nothing you can do will ever cause Him to love you any more or less. Accept and embrace the wonder of His deep unconditional love for you.
* Remember your first love for Christ. Think back to when you first began a relationship with Christ. Consider the thrill of the encounter and the joy you felt. Ask God to renew your passion for Him so you’ll continue to be excited about where He’ll lead you next.
* Pay the cost of a gift that’s priceless. Know that, while grace is a gift to you, it cost God dearly to provide through His Son’s death on the cross. Understand that cheap grace isn’t grace at all. Instead, grace is worth everything – and, out of gratitude, you should be willing to give up anything that hinders your relationship with God.
* Approach God with confidence. Remember that God doesn’t judge based on outward appearances, as people often do. Instead, He’s concerned with what’s inside your heart. Don’t worry about what you look like or what kind of background you have when approaching God. Know that God doesn’t operate a club; He’s in the business of welcoming anyone who’s sincere. Understand that, because of Christ’s sacrifice, you can stand before a dangerous God without any fear of condemnation.
* Acknowledge the reality of evil – and your need for God. Realize that trying to overcome evil by yourself is futile. Rely on God’s power to defend and protect you when you put your faith in Him.
* Be alert to God’s presence anywhere at any time. Know that God transcends any particular place or specific time; He’s bigger than space and time and is always present with you. Don’t put your faith in chapels or relics or icons or anything other sacred object. Realize that those are just tools you can use to encounter the living God Himself. Look for signs of God at work: in nature, in the news, in the love people share with one another, and more. Expect God to continually reveal Himself – often in surprising ways.
* Let science deepen your quest for God. Rather than viewing science as a force in opposition to faith, recognize that scientific discoveries can increase your awareness of how God is working in the world. Be amazed at how masterfully God has created the universe and all that’s in it. Let science lead you to worship Him.
* Be persistent in prayer. Realize that God always has a good purpose for being silent; even when that silence frustrates you. Never give up praying about what’s important to you until the answers come in God’s timing.
* Plug into a church. Know that church can be a valuable source of support and encouragement in your spiritual journey. Don’t isolate yourself. Find a good church and become actively involved to build the kinds of meaningful relationships that will help you grow. Remember that you’re spiritually connected to all people who love Christ – those alive on Earth, as well as those who have gone on to heaven. Expect God to reveal Himself through your relationships with others.
* Reach out to the world. Remember that all people have been created in God’s image. Share God’s love with those who are hurting – the sick, the disabled, the homeless, the poor, the prisoners, and others. Expect to encounter God as you interact with them.
* Don’t demand healing, but don’t be surprised if it comes. Understand that God doesn’t guarantee healing, nor does He owe you anything. But don’t be afraid to pray for healing when you or someone you know needs it, and fully expect that God may choose to act on your prayers if it’s His will to do so.
* Keep asking questions. Don’t suppress your fears and doubts. Instead, recognize them as the valuable tools they are to motivate you to keep asking questions on your spiritual journey. Never stop seeking God, because there’s never any end to what you can learn about Him.
Adapted from Making Peace with a Dangerous God: Wrestling with What We Don’t Understand, copyright 2006 by Linda Clare and Kristen Johnson Ingram. Published by Fleming H. Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, Mich., www.revellbooks.com.
Linda Clare is a poet and award-winning author of three nonfiction books, including her most recent book, Revealed, which she co-wrote with Kristen Johnson Ingram. Linda writes and lives in Eugene, Or.
Kristen Johnson Ingram is an award-winning author of 22 books, both fiction and nonfiction, and a frequent contributor to Weavings. She also works as a national writing coach, editorial consultant, and retreat leader from her home in Springfield, Or.