The Value of Suffering

The Value of Suffering

Recently, I came across a line which the Apostle Paul wrote in his letter to the church at Philippi: "I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!" (Philippians 3:10 emphasis mine)

What the heck?

Why would Paul say he wants to suffer with Jesus?

I love Jesus. I would prefer to love Jesus without great pain or suffering or loss, if given the choice.

All of this leads me to ask a question: Is there a redemptive value in suffering?

Jesus and the Politics of Gender Identity

Jesus and the Politics of Gender Identity

Recently, the conversation around gender identification and gender fluidity (the concept that a person may identify their gender as male, female, neutrois, or any other non-binary identity, or some combination of identities at any given time) has come into the public spotlight.

As some facilities in our society (specifically bathrooms, locker rooms, etc) are locked into the binary, either-or genders of our physical bodies, a person who does not necessarily identify their gender with their physical body is faced with a question of how to respond to this social construct. Do I go into the women's restroom when I identify as a woman, regardless of my gender?

Now, as a follower of Jesus, what am I to do with this?

Why Was God So Mad In The Old Testament?

Around the New Year, many of us probably jump in on a Bible reading plan. Reading through the Bible in one year is a great goal. Challenging, but not impossible, builds a positive habit, and seems like it will have some good results associate with it. But once the exciting days of Genesis and Exodus are behind you, you find yourself moving into Leviticus, Numbers and Deuteronomy and oh man I don't know if this was such a good idea.

From animal sacrifices to genocide to prophets warning of doom and gloom, you start to wonder if there's any value in reading this content.

How The Church Can Combat Racism

According to recent research, 8 out of 10 churches in America are made up, predominantly, from only one people/racial group. 11am on Sunday, it seems, is still the most segregated hour in America.

Unfortunately, that's not all the research found.

The report also found that two thirds of church communities felt they were 'doing enough' to be ethnically diverse, and over half felt that no further diversity was needed in their congregation.

When is violence the answer?

In the aftermath of the Parisian attacks last month, French President Francois Hollande vowed a "merciless" responseagainst ISIS.Within days, France had bombed an ISIS target in Syria and performed numerous raids within France itself, killing and capturing several terror suspects.

We can all understand this response. Terrorist attacks against civilians are horrifying. In an effort to seek justice for the slaughtered and to prevent future attacks, we turn to violence in our response.

As a Christian, should I have a problem with this?

How Relevant Should Christians Be?

On December 9th, a new reality TV show is premiering on Oprah's TV network, Oxygen.The reality show is about a pastoral couple named Rich and DawnCheré Wilkerson called Rich in Faith. The show has gotten some attention because these are the pastors of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian.

I got a chance to hear Rich speak at the Catalyst Next conference in DC recently and it sparked discussion among our own church staff regarding whether what they are doing is appropriate. While he doesn't necessarily have a presentation style that I prefer, Rich and DawnCheré preached boldly about the greatness of Jesus and how much we are loved by our saviour.

One of the things that Rich discussed in an interview after he preached is the fact that God is giving him influence in circles that most of us would never be able to access.

I loved that.

You need access to gain influence, and that's a good thing because you can't influence people who aren't paying attention to you.

3 Things a Christian Should Consider During Election Season

Sorry to bum you out, but for the next year, you're going to be hearing wall-to-wall political coverage. What the latest poll says, who won the last debate, how each election or caucus turned out, who got an endorsement, attack ads, scandals, etc, etc, etc.

Canada just had their longest election season ever. It lasted 3 months.

Most of the American political candidates announced their campaigns with over 16 months to go.

Since we're going to have to deal with this topic all over our phones and computers and televisions for the next year, it would probably be a good idea to consider how being a follower of Jesus should impact this part of our lives.

Making Faith Practical eBook Now Available!

Beatitudes v3 I have released a new eBook about making faith practical!

You can purchase and download it on Amazon.

In it, I take what Jesus says in Matthew 5:3-10, commonly called The Beatitudes, and explore ways we can incorporate these truths into our daily lives.

I mean, who really prays to be poor or persecuted? So how do we incorporate these ideas into our lives to receive the blessing which Jesus promises will accompany them?

I hope you enjoy it and find it useful in your everyday journey of following Jesus!

“God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him,

   for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.

God blesses those who mourn,

   for they will be comforted.

God blesses those who are humble,

   for they will inherit the whole earth.

God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice,

   for they will be satisfied.

God blesses those who are merciful,

   for they will be shown mercy.

God blesses those whose hearts are pure,

   for they will see God.

God blesses those who work for peace,

   for they will be called the children of God.

God blesses those who are persecuted for doing right,

for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.” (Matthew 5:3-10)

35@35 #3: Religion

church.steeple.cross_-300x199TC’s Guidelines and Principles for Life #3: “There’s a big, big difference between living for God and religiosity.” I am grateful that I have had a wide variety of experiences within Christianity. I was raised in a highly structured religion that was built on dogma and catechism.

I have also attended churches on the exact opposite end of the spectrum. Churches that were opposed to any sort of outside influence and strongly sought to have a unique experience on a week-by-week basis.

The most valuable understanding I gained from these different environments is to have learned that there are people who are genuinely seeking God in both environments, and there are people who are just playing a game in both environments.

While some people view liturgical denominations (Lutheran, Catholic, Episcopalian, etc) as being too focused on rules and repetitious religious services, it’s just as easy to become fixated on the elements you may encounter at a non-denominational, evangelical/charismatic church.

Anytime we get our eyes off God and onto the systems we place in our communities of worship, we have missed the point.

Anytime we reduce God to a set of rules or requirements, we have missed the point.

Anytime we’re more worried about our religion than we are about God, we have missed the point.

I have made numerous mistakes in this area of my life. When I was an adolescent, I wanted to throw off the liturgical faith of my childhood because of how constraining I found it. I made the mistake of lumping God in with that religion.

It took me a little time to realize my mistake and to start learning to engage with God directly rather than through a lens that I didn’t like.

After finding myself in a variety of churches and learning institutions that emphasized relationship with God and personal faith over the next decade+, I discovered that I had created, out of these places, a new personal liturgy, which I had put in place of God in my life.

Because religion is easier to manage than God. I can handle a paper tiger much easier than I can handle a real one.

And religion without God is incredibly dangerous. It convinces you that you are accomplishing all that God wants for your life, while robbing you of the chance to actually discover those things.

I have tried to stop putting God into categories or certain roped off areas of my life.

In the end, whether you are religious or not is not the question. Whether or not you are putting God first and seeking His kingdom come and His will be done in your life and through your life is the question.

You can be Methodist, Baptism, Presbyterian, Catholic, Non-Demonicational, Evangelical, or any other branch of Christianity and love Jesus.

That is the right question.

The Problem with New Life

solang_valley_apple_orchard_bgWhen we choose to follow Jesus, we are offered a new life. No. That's not right.

We are not just offered a new life. We're promised a new life.  We're called to have a new life. A life that God gives us.

"...anyone who belongs to Christ has become a new person. The old life is gone; a new life has begun!" (2 Corinthians 5:17)

This new life is rich and satisfying (John 10:10)

This new life is eternal (John 3:16)

This new life means our sins are washed away (Titus 3:5)

This new life means we are free from any and all enslavement (Romans 7:6)

Wow! What a great thing to have, this new life! Why in the world would anybody NOT want it? Nobody would say no to freedom and redemption and eternal joy. At least nobody who isn't crazy, right?

But there's a problem.

A life already exists in the place where this new life is supposed to exist. I mean, if you are giving me a new life, what does that mean to the life I now live?

There is only one possible solution:

The old life must die.

If I have a grove of orange trees, and I would rather have apple trees in the same place, my only real solution is to get rid of the orange trees.

But my old life wasn’t an orange tree. It was a briar patch.

Pulling up those thorny branches is going to take a long time. And it's going to hurt.

I could just clear a tiny bit of it and plant an apple tree, but it wouldn't take long for the briar to overgrow it and kill it.

No. If I want an apple orchard, I'm going to have to kill all the the briar patch.

Dietrich Bonheoffer said ‘When Christ calls a man, he bids him ‘come and die’.

Jesus told stories about how new wine can’t be placed in old wineskins.

If we want to follow Jesus and receive all the amazing benefits of that life – there’s going to be a great cost.

The cost of dying.

That's why Paul says this:

"My old self has been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me. So I live in this earthly body by trusting in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." (Galatians 2:20)

Nothing can free you from this correlation.

The more your old life stays alive, the less new life you have room for.

This cost ends up being a reason that many people never accept this amazing offer. Giving up what I have is scary, and difficult.

Jesus never pretends it will be easy. But he makes it pretty clear that it will be worth it.

Choose new life. Choose to remove what was there so that God can place new life in those spaces.

Anything less is not what God wants for us.

A Christian View of Tragedy

BostonToday, America again experienced an attack of mass violence. The detonations near the finish line of the Boston Marathon killed 3 people, maimed many more, and injured more than a hundred.

One of the two victims, it has been confirmed, was 8 years old. My oldest daughter is 8 years old, so this information was particularly impacting to me. I’m not sure how it would feel to lose any of my kids, and I certainly hope I never have to find out.

This comes after the terrible events late late year in Newtown, Connecticut where 26 children and adults lost their lives in another mass attack.

In the recent past, we have seen attacks in movie theaters, malls, schools and colleges.

I am of the opinion that these types of events, for the foreseeable future, will continue. (Until the depression, mental illness, anger, frustration, etc that cause these events has been dealt with, I don’t assume peoples’ actions will suddenly go in a different direction.)

Columbine, a decade ago shocked us to our core. If that event happened again today, we would shake our head and lament it as the latest event in a series of others. The 13 deaths in that event (Or 15, if you include the shooters who took their own lives) may be viewed as thankfully lower than Virginia Tech, Newtown or Norway.

How are the believers in an all-powerful and all-loving God supposed to view these events?

Are they part of God’s mysterious plan?

That would leave us in the place where we must bury our questions and our feelings of deep sadness - for to do otherwise would be to doubt God. I reject that stance completely.

I think God is just as saddened as we are by these events. I mentioned the pain I would feel if my daughter was killed.

Well, each person is a son or a daughter to God. Their loss is great to him. And also painful is the fact that one of his children committed the terrible act.

Jesus, after all, wept at the grave of his dear friend Lazarus - and he knew that he was about to resurrect Lazarus!

Jesus understands the pain of personal loss. The idea of a need to be stoic - that is, essentially emotionless - in the face of such event is foreign to the Jesus I see in the scriptures.

In fact, Jesus specifically addressed two events of mass violence and tragedy that were on the mind of people who were listening to his message.

In Luke 13, Jesus is informed that Pilate (the same one who would eventually sentence Jesus to death) had just executed some people as they were offering sacrifices at God’s temple.

You can be sure that this news hit the ears of those in Israel as hard as the news of Newtown hit mine and yours.

In response, Jesus reminds his followers of another recent tragedy, where a building fell on and killed 18 people.

And Jesus tells them this: That these people were no better or worse than anybody else.

They didn’t die because they were bad or evil. They died because Pilate was cruel. Or they died because a building was poorly constructed.

Jesus doesn’t go into a long explanation about mankind having free-will, and therefore at fault. He doesn’t  start talking about how God works in mysterious ways, or that it was ‘just these people’s time’.

He says “Unless you turn to God, you, too will die.” (Luke 13:1-5 The Message)

In other words, the only thing you can control is whether or not you are ready to stand before God.

Jesus says as plain as day that we will have to deal with tragedy and pain in this world. (John 16:33) There is no way around it. Following Jesus isn’t insurance against pain.

But here is what he guarantees: That he’ll never leave us. He’ll never forsake us. (Hebrews 13:5) He also guarantees that he’ll make something beautiful out of the mess (Romans 8:28)

C.S. Lewis said that God “whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains.”

You don’t need to believe that God causes pain, but I encourage you to believe him when he says that his kindgom is overtaking us, and that he brings with himself the healing and peace that we all long for.

I don’t know when or where the next act of mass violence will occur in our nation. And I can’t tell you that it’s part of God’s plan.

But I can tell you that it won’t derail God’s plan.

And I can tell you that he invites all of us to be a part of his plan to restore this world.

In the second to last chapter of the Bible, God says he is making all things new.

We’re not there yet, but I assure you that God fulfills his promises.


800px-Concrete_wallWalls are built for a purpose. That purpose is either to a. keep something in or b. to keep something out.

An example of keeping something in would be the Berlin Wall. It was erected to prevent people in Eastern Berlin from emigrating out. The leadership there had created an oppressive government and had to resort to building a wall (along with mines and guard towers) to keep the citizens from leaving.

An example of a wall being built to keep something out would be the Great Wall of China. Built (originally) by a Chinese emperor circa 200 BC, it was rebuilt by the Ming Dynasty largely for the purpose of keeping Mongols out of China.

We (humanity) naturally want to build walls. We like to carve out our own place and protect it.

Those of us who have chosen to become members of the Body of Christ must resist this temptation.

We have often succumbed to the temptation to keep ourselves safe from the elements of the world that are less than savory. Elements that we can’t imagine could ever be sanctified. More specifically, to keep out the “wrong kind” of people.

And in doing so, the walls we built to keep ourselves safe and sanctified have become the walls of our own tombs.

Walls, as I have pointed out, are designed to keep people in and/or keep people out. The church should be in the habit of neither of these efforts.

Show me where Jesus built walls around his ministry. He had infinite grace to be among these “disreputable sinners” and “scum” (Mark 2:15-16 NLT). The only people who found themselves on the outside looking in were the very people who had built walls in the name of God: the religious leaders. The people who filled God’s temple with con artists.

Even then, Jesus did not lock them out. They repeatedly came to him, and had access. It was their own choice to ostracize Jesus. To build walls attempting to keep him out.

You should note something in common with the famous examples of walls I listed at the beginning of this article: they both failed. The Berlin Wall fell. The Great Wall failed multiple times at preventing invasion.

Our churches must not become stale and stagnant like water in a bottle. They must remain free and alive like a river.

By accepting everyone and empowering members to go out into the community, we build ties with the community. We become integrated, and we have the opportunity to make an impact. Just like a guy I read about: wait...what was his name? Oh, right. “Jesus”.

Our purpose is not to carve out a safe, secure, comfortable area in this world. It’s to expand the borders of God’s kingdom. A kingdom of grace, peace, acceptance, justice, forgiveness and healing.

Look at Revelation 21:25 - at the end of this age, when the New Jerusalem comes upon the earth, it’s gates never close.

If ‘keeping people out’ isn’t a priority in God’s eternal kingdom, is that something we should practice in our churches here and now?

I, for one, don’t think so.

Salvation and Works

I believe that we are not saved through works, but we are saved to work. I feel that ‘getting saved’ is like getting your diploma or degree.

It’s a great development, and to be celebrated, but it’s not the end point. You’re supposed to do something with it!

Who would get a degree in veterinarian school, then go live on an island where there are no animals? No, you go somewhere that you can start helping animals.

God did not pay a great cost to redeem us, just so we could sit around and be redeemed.

I believe his purpose is to redeem and restore the entire world (I get this idea from the book of Revelation). Once we have accepted his amazing, gracious gift, we’re supposed to continue and cooperate with his will: the expansion of his kingdom on earth as it is in heaven.

We can’t earn God’s love. When I support a charity or feed a homeless person or visit a prisoner or share the gospel, I don’t earn an extra crown in heaven. What I’m doing, rather, is the same thing Jesus said in John 5:19: ”I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.”

I’m just doing what I see God doing. Caring for the downtrodden. Giving hope to the hopeless. Offering a hand to those who have fallen.

Because there is a great deal of work to be done in this world, and God himself has chosen to do it with and through us.

We are God’s plan A, and there is no plan B. This doesn’t point to how great we are, but rather how incredible God is. The epitome of perfection, willing to work through fallen, flawed and frail humanity because he values us.

Working for God and his purposes is not an obligation, it’s an honor. One that we’d have to be blind to refuse.

Spiritual Superstars

When I was in little league baseball as a child, there were certain kids who were far and away the best players in the league. Usually, they were bigger, stronger and faster than the vast majority of the rest of us. It was easy to look up to these players, and to envy their prowess. But something funny happened. By the time I was Captain of the Varsity team in High School, playing American Legion ball (a step up from Varsity) and being recruited by colleges, none of those guys were around anymore. Many of them didn’t play, and those that did were simply ordinary.

What happened was that, while they had physically developed a little faster and gained an edge, the rest of us caught up. They didn’t have to work hard to succeed as kids, it came naturally because of their advantage. The rest of us had to work hard to find ways to compete with them. By the time we caught up physically, we now had more tools in our repertoire to go along with the physical abilities. They didn’t develop those tricks and tactics, so they no longer held any advantage.

I read a book called Seal Team Six a while back that talked about this issue. The guy who wrote the book mentions the fact that many of the All American football players who enter training drop out the fastest. They’re not used to having a situation where their superior physical talent can’t get them through. But the guys who are used to having to scrap and fight to keep up have what it really takes: a never say die attitude.

I like to run adventure races like the Tough Mudder. The only way you finish a race like that is to have the attitude of “Screw this race, I’m gonna finish if it kills me.” I know they’re going to throw really tough obstacles at me over and over and over again. My approach is to get by each one when I come to it, no matter what.

I do these races to find my limits, and then push beyond them. To become something greater than I am.

When you see people who are your same age that seem to have it all together while you’re struggling not to fall apart, don’t get down on yourself. Realize that you’re getting stronger. You’re learning how to handle adversity. You’re gaining wisdom and perspective that will help you in future situations.

There’s no need to be angry at people who seem to have it easy. God knows what is coming toward each of us in this life, and he knows when and how to prepare each of us.

The goal God has given us isn’t to look better than everybody else, to look like we have it all together. The goal is to fight the good fight, to run the good race. To keep the faith, and receive the reward that he will give us when all has been said and done.

Don’t try to be a Spiritual Superstar. Be a Spiritual Tough Mudder.

Getting People To Buy Into Lies

If you want people to believe a lie, make it something that they want to believe. Something that makes their life easier. Here’s some good examples:

  • You can lose weight by taking a pill.
  • You can get rich quick on the internet by only working a few hours per week.
  • You just have to go to church to make God happy.
  • Evangelism is just warning people that they’re going to hell.

People want results without having to invest the time, energy, and discipline it actually takes. So if you just promise to give results without work, people will flock to it!

If there was a pill that actually kept you think and gave you ripped abs, don’t you think everybody would take it? Of course! So the fact that not everybody is thin and has ripped abs tells you there is no such pill, right? And yet if you watch TV for an hour, you’ll probably see at least 3 commercials advertising products that make getting in shape seem simple, quick and effortless.

When people want results without investment, they are willing to ignore the reality all around them that shouts the truth. They buy into the lie because it’s more attractive.

Losing weight is going to mean eating differently, eating less and working out more.

Getting rich (if that’s even a good thing) will require time, energy, effort and taking risks.

Jesus didn’t say anything about ‘going to church’ making up the Christian faith. He did mention something about ‘take up your cross and follow me’ (Luke 9:23)

Evangelism requires you to live a life that bears witness to God, not just spout words that do.

But all these things are tough. They can’t be easily checked off a checklist and forgotten about.

So write a book about how living for God will make everyday like the weekend. Or how if you pray a certain prayer from the Old Testament, God doesn’t have any choice but to give you what you want. They love that kind of stuff.

None of that will help foment a Christianity that actually makes a difference in this world; that works to restore this world to the perfection it had when God created it, but hey - we can’t have easy and get results. But we can keep telling people they can!

How Important is Theology?

There are some people who believe that bad theology is the greatest evil that exists in this world. I used to be like that. Recently, I had somebody re-post several blog items of mine and tear them to shreds. Not in a constructive conversation, but simply saying how wrong I was.

I realized that, while I would not have gone about it in the same way, I probably would thought the same way as that person a couple years ago. The old me would have rejected the new way I’ve begun to look at God and his purposes in this world. And I would have known that I was 100% right. I would have pitied the new me for being so mistaken and tried to set him straight if I could, for his own good.

I viewed ‘Theological Police’ as being one of the most important jobs a real Christian has.

But as I’ve become more familiar with the Jesus that actually comes across the pages of the Gospels (as opposed to the Jesus I had pictured in my head), I’ve had to face the fact that Jesus ‘the real person’ wasn’t really caught up in policing theology.

Most of his speeches, while having deep theological implications, are practical spiritual advice for everday living.

The times that he gets into deep theological debates? It’s usually because the religious leaders (Pharisees, Sadducees, Scribes, etc) are challenging him.

In Mark 12:27, in response to one of these challenges, Jesus tells the Sadducees that their theology is “badly mistaken.” He then tells them the truth to answer the scenario they posed to him.

But by and large, Jesus doesn’t spend his ministry going to the religious institutions and correcting the teachings of the Rabbis and leaders. Clearly, promoting ‘accurate theology’ is secondary in his ministry. Should it not also be in ours?

I’m not saying heresy is a good thing. But should we in the church ever have gotten to the point where we were burning heretics at the stake? Of course not.

When the devil tried to tempt Jesus, he used good theology to defeat him. But when he encountered broken, hurting people, he never used theology as a weapon against them. The adulterous woman didn’t get a lecture on the seventh commandment. She got mercy, compassion, and a call to live a better life.

Jesus didn’t side with the people who had the correct theology (the crowd of people who wanted to stone her). He sided with the one who was about to be killed by that theology.

There’s a saying I like: “First things first.”

Clearly, good theology was important to Jesus. But bringing light to the darkness was more important.

Socrates and The Oracle of Delphi

There’s a story about Socrates that I love. Let me quote what says: After his service in the war, Socrates devoted himself to his favorite pastime: the pursuit of truth.

His reputation as a philosopher, literally meaning ‘a lover of wisdom’, soon spread all over Athens and beyond. When told that the Oracle of Delphi had revealed to one of his friends that Socrates was the wisest man in Athens, he responded not by boasting or celebrating, but by trying to prove the Oracle wrong.

So Socrates decided he would try and find out if anyone knew what was truly worthwhile in life, because anyone who knew that would surely be wiser than him. He set about questioning everyone he could find, but no one could give him a satisfactory answer. Instead they all pretended to know something they clearly did not.

Finally he realized the Oracle might be right after all. He was the wisest man in Athens because he alone was prepared to admit his own ignorance rather than pretend to know something he did not.

Socrates thought that he couldn’t be the wisest man in Athens because he was conscious of how much he didn’t know. But it was that self awareness; the fact that he knew how much he didn’t know that actually made him wiser than the rest.

A couple years ago, I thought my knowledge of scriptures and the nature of God was vast and commanding. I had great confidence in my conclusions. As I worked through the program of my Master’s Degree, I began to discover that I was gaining more questions than answers.

I began to realize how much I didn’t understand, couldn’t explain, didn’t comprehend about God.

And I believe I have become much wiser than I once was. You’ll get a lot fewer definitive answers out of me these days. If you start a discussion about the nature of God, you’ll probably hear me asking lots of questions.

I’ve stopped pretending that I hold answers to the secrets of the universe, but I’d like to think I’ve started asking some of the right questions.

The Incomplete God

I believe in an incomplete God. I pray to an incomplete God, sing praises to an incomplete God and read the scriptures of an incomplete God. It’s not that God is incomplete, mind you. It’s that my understanding of God is incomplete. So I am left believing in a God who I only partially comprehend. I worship the tip of the iceberg, knowing that there is so much more which is beyond my perception.

I can’t tell you why one person dies of cancer while another recovers against all medical odds.

I can’t explain why one person wins the lottery while another struggles to feed their children.

I don’t know why some of my prayers yield amazing results while others seem to go unnoticed.

But the thing is, I’m a super analytical person.  I don’t like unsolved mysteries. I want a God that I can understand and explain. That way, everything makes sense. I don’t have to be confused or surprised in any situation.

So I fill in the blanks.

I take the God who in judgment destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah and the God who in mercy spared Nineveh and I draw connections to explain the differences.

I take the God who stuck Annanias and Sapphira dead and the God who forgave the adulterous woman and I color the spaces in between.

I take the God who killed almost everything on earth in the time of Noah and the God who came as a man and bore the guilt of the entire human race and I figure out a way to explain it simply and easily.

And I end up with something that isn’t God. Or rather, it’s a God created in my own image.

Because, despite vaguely understanding how feeble my mind is in comparison to the greatness of God’s existence, I prove over and over that I’d rather have a complete but false God than an incomplete/incomprehensible real God.

Only when things in my life occur which can’t be explained by my false God do I have to wake up to what I’ve done. And those are the times where I must do violence to the God I’ve created. Instead of having the ability to understand and explain what’s going on, I simply have to echo Ezekiel who, when asked something beyond his comprehension, answered “O Sovereign LORD, you alone know.” (Ezekiel 37:3)

I have to face the fact that most of the time, I don’t know why God does whatGod does when God does it.

It’s when I start trying to improve God in my own eyes that I get myself into this trouble. When I try to make better sense of him in my own understanding.

So I do my best to worship the God who I can’t fully see or understand, leaving the blank spaces free from my own conjecture and speculation. The places where he has clothed himself with shadows, I cannot force him to be revealed.

He is, for me, the incomplete God who is greater than I could ever imagine.