I Love This God of Maybe

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Do you have a relationship with God whom you love and God who breaks your heart? I bravely–not stupidly–do. I have bravely followed the beauty of this God of Maybe and in the process have become my own hero story.

I know some people who believe I am stupid for this kind of faith. I can see their faces.

On the flipside I also frustrate many Christians who will give me the platitudes of “Look how God worked that out.” Or “God knew what he was doing all along.” Or “Now you get to experience the great blessing of God.” In the depth of my pain this does not soothe me. In the transitional growing season this does not soothe me either. I don’t want to believe in a God who felt distant in the depths of the pain and then gets credit for it when I’ve grown through that painful time. I believe in a God who is feeling every punch my gut is feeling. And I want my friends to recognize that I hung in there despite feeling like God left me behind.

My faith is gutty and raw and brave. I hung in there through all of the waiting for God to redeem the mess. I don’t know how to “easy button” my pain to God and continue living like the mess didn’t happen. My faith wrestles, hangs in beyond my feelings, and I walk away with a limp as I know God is for me.

The God I have come to know and love is the one who is not defined by a platitude. He (and she) is the one I bravely trust beyond my understanding.

I’m not stupid for believing this.

If this is you too, you are going to dig this book, Everything Happens for a Reason and Other Lies I’ve Loved. The author Kate Bowler wrote this in the introduction:

One moment I was a regular person with regular problems. And the next, I was someone with cancer. Before my mind could apprehend it, it was there—swelling to take up every space my imagination could touch. A new and unwanted reality. There was a before, and now there was an after. Time slowed to a pulse. Am I breathing? I wondered. Do I want to?

Every day I prayed the same prayer: God, save me. Save me. Save me. Oh, God, remember my baby boy. Remember my son and my husband before you return me to ashes. Before they walk this earth alone.

I plead with a God of Maybe, who may or may not let me collect more years. It is a God I love, and a God that breaks my heart.

Anyone who has lived in the aftermath of something like this knows that it signifies the arrival of three questions so simple that they seem, in turn, too shallow and too deep.

Why?
God, are you here?
What does suffering mean? (pp. xiv-xv)

You are teased enough. Find the book.

I love this God of Maybe. Because I know know know that this God of Maybe is still for me. Even as I wrestle with the why of the mess. Even as I have prayed so very often “God, are you here?” (No wonder I love the Psalms so much.) Even as I have worked through many theories trying to figure out what suffering means.

It is in these questions that too many whom I love have walked away from their faith. And have called me stupid for still believing. I can hear their voices.

Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways! Romans 11:33

I used to not like this verse. I didn’t like that it states we don’t get to understand God’s decisions and his ways. This God sounded like he was purposely hiding from me. Or at least hiding his truth from me. In the depths of my pain I have really felt this.

Some Christians are okay that this is how God is. Of placing a blind certainty to God. I am not. A certain faith is less vulnerable. A certain faith is one we create so we feel safe and secure. Maybe even numbed. Sometimes I believe I receive these platitudes because when I’m telling a story the other person doesn’t know what to say to such a real life pain so the platitude is a way to say something and still keep herself numbed to my pain. A certain faith seeks authoritarian personalities so they can know that their faith is certain. Note: Notice how a lot of these platitudes come from the faith movement and then notice how many of those faith teachers are authoritarian.

This is what I loved about Kate Bowler’s story in Everything Happens for a Reason and Other Lies I’ve Believed. She knew these platitudes. She put hope in them. When her world changed she was brave enough to ask for more. To move past the platitudes and live into the hard-to-understand ways of God and fell in love with this God of Maybe.

This God of Maybe sustained her. I know this God. This is the God I’ve followed throughout my brave life.

Last week I mentioned this relationship with God that Moses had. He dared to ask to see the face of God. God told Moses that he couldn’t handle seeing the face of God so instead he got to see the back of God. (Exodus 33:18-23.) God was basically saying that he will never fit within the fixed borders of your comprehension. God will never shrink down to a size which you can intellectually get your mind around the borders and edges. You will see God when he passes by. We learn so much in hindsight, don’t we? I have.

Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How impossible it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways! Romans 11:33

I love this verse now. I understand it. This is all about a God who is for me.

My closing wish:  May the Lord bring you into an ever deeper understanding of the love of God and the endurance that comes from Christ. 2 Thessalonians 3:5

(photo credit:  https://blog.oxforddictionaries.com/2016/02/23/ways-to-say-maybe/)

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