My God Doesn't Always Look Pretty

It is hard to paint a picture for someone about who God is and what His character is like. You can travel from one church to another, and doctrine will always provide a different picture, or a different angle. For me, learning who God is involved pain. I'm not claiming God inflicted the pain. But it was in that darkness that I caught a glimpse of who He is.

This is what I have learned...

From the beginning, even before Eve ever accepted the fruit from the serpent, God has been in a battle with Satan. Think on that: A Battle. God is not a King that sits idle on a throne, reigning over all creation. Yes, He is a King...and, yes, He reigns (make no mistake of that). But God is so much more. God is the Commander of the Angel Armies. God is a fighter, a warrior, a commander of fierce troops, seasoned and ready to go to battle.

No matter how wonderful it would be to look to God and see nothing but pretty colors and perfect, cheerful hymns, God is something much more powerful--and frightening--than that. His voice calms raging seas. That is a voice to be reckoned with! His orders move mountains; His hands hold the entire world in their palm; His breath brings life; there is nowhere you can hide from Him; He crushes His enemies; He is quick to love and forgive.

I know that God loves me and wants good things for me. But more than that, He wants me to learn to fight for Him/with Him. He needs me to learn to stand up in a battle that I cannot see with my eyes. God yearns for me to grow and mature through the dark moments in my life--for they are my training days. I understand that when I come out of the valley, I am going to be broken, battered and bruised. Life is really going to stink (it already does)...and bones might even be broken. I might feel that there is no way I can take one more step...that my strength is gone. But He LOVES me enough to allow me to walk through those dark times, simply because He SEES my value and worth. He KNOWS what I will be when I come out. He KNOWS how strong, how tough, how capable I will be.

God wants a warrior out of me, and a warrior needs trained--they cannot go into battle without it. A warrior that can lead is usually one that has already gone through one dark battle after the other--unafraid no longer. They know what their blood taste like. They know what the pain feels like. And they've learned to go without comforts.

So, here I am. Everything has been stripped away. My capabilities are nothing I can rely on. My life is out of my hands. Troubles fall heavy on my shoulders. I stand in my Father's shadows...I feel His jealousy for me...and I tremble in the fierce strength of His love. I will not set my eyes on the pretty things of the world--the comfort of abundance. I will not settle. I will not be distracted. Instead, I am going to lift my eyes to him, hold out my arms, and say, "Let it be."

Don't get distracted. Don't shy away from the darkness. Run towards it when it comes your way, for there is no avoiding pain in life anyway. Hold to the truth that this was never the world you were created for from the start. Remember that God is still there, ready to help you when you need Him. But do not be distracted by the safe path. Become a warrior who learns that His grace is sufficient. Bend like a tree in a hurricane under the strength of His love; for His love refines. His love even hurts, at times. His love is not always comfortable.

And that is what God looks like to me. Mel Gibson in the Patriot. He fights fiercely for His children...but His children also end up fighting right along side him. That's my God. He trusts me, He wants me, to fight by His side. :) And together, we're a sweaty, dirty pair fighting with all the passion we've got.


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