84. some questions

So I’m reading Donald Miller’s new book (which is actually a reprint of his first book) and I come across this paragraph:

“I just feel like God put us here to enjoy Him, and He gave us free will so it is tough sometimes, because people use their free will selfishly, but I think also He created us to enjoy Him, that He is love, you know…”

Donald Miller is on a road trip with this guy named Paul and this is Paul speaking.

Anyway, it doesn’t really follow from that text but somehow it got me thinking and asking questions. And the first question I asked felt like a kick in the head, the way it surprised me. And the question was this:

“Do you like me, God?”

I know God loves me (for the Bible tells me so), but does he like me? I mean, we all have people whom we love but don’t necessarily like right? And so I started to wonder, does God like me or just love me?

And then I got to thinking about other things. Like the Pharaoh from the Old Testament. I think it’s pretty clear from the text that he was slated to die from the beginning of Exodus, and he deserved it…or did he? I mean the Bible makes it pretty clear that it was God who hardened Pharaoh’s heart (Exodus 9:12, 10:1, 10:20, and on and on). Did God like the Pharaoh? Did he love him?

And then there’s Judas in the New Testament. It’s my understanding that Judas’s betrayal was part of the prophesies about the death of Jesus. In that case, doesn’t it mean that despite free will, that Judas had to betray Jesus, that he had no choice in the matter? And what does that say about God’s love? Did God love Judas? Maybe God loved Judas but didn’t like him.

I don’t know, I’m confused. See here’s the thing. Lately, I’ve been trying to figure out how to experience God – his love, his presence, his guidance. I’ve tried the things that seem to work for most people – reading the Bible, praying – but I’ve always been a kind of spiritual numbskull, that is, I’ve never been very sensitive or cognizant of spiritual matters. But I’m pretty that God wants to have a part of my life or at least wants me to experience him on more than an intellectual level. And I know that if I’m going to glorify God with my life, if I’m going to want to share him with others, then I’m going to have to have something more than arguments from apologetics.

I don’t know. God is God and can do whatever he wants. That’s his right, that’s why he’s God. If he wanted me to experience him in a way that I understood, he’d know how to do that. If he wants to be a bit more hands-off with me, well he can do that too. I have no say in the matter and no right to judge God either way.

That’s a pretty bleak out look, but here’s what I really think is going on. God just wants me to figure out for myself how to find him. I don’t know why, but maybe it’s because there are more people like myself out there for whom a relationship with God does not come easily. Maybe I’m supposed to kind of work through this not-hearing-from-God thing so that when I do figure out how to find God, that I can share it with these other people who have the same frustrations.

1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV)
And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

I’ve kind of got the faith thing down. It’s hope and love that I’m working on now.

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