There seems to be a trend these days to create a God that fits our image of what we think he should be. If he seems too harsh, then we must have misunderstood a certain passage of scripture. If he seems too loving then we must have forgotten to read whole sections of the Old Testament. Whatever the case may be, we seem to be more and more comfortable imagining a God who we would be happy to meet us for a drink at Starbucks who would want to talk about everything that is of interest to us. Really?
As I was looking at some incredibly beautiful flowers recently, I was struck by the reality of their fleeting time here on earth. Each year, we enjoy the arrival of the cherry blossoms on the trees on our campus and watch the daffodils peek out of the undergrowth. It is such a miracle that you can know that this will happen every spring no matter what has happened in the months before. Despite their beauty, it is also a little bitter sweet that the blossoms fall off and the flowers of the daffodils will disappear just as miraculously as they arrived.
While I am often envious of my friends who live in the ever temperate climate of central and southern California, I am coming to have a new appreciation for the four seasons we experience here in Pennsylvania. I even wonder if the incredible beauty of the spring and fall would be so meaningful if it were not for the winter and summer that precede these two seasons? What I do know is that it takes a pretty creative God to display His very nature in the leaves and flowers that I so love. He is the creator of all things and the sustainer of life itself.
It seems that in this ever increasing desire to create a God in our own image, we really want a God that would make our lives a little bit more like Eden or at least like Santa Barbara. Life would be so much better if it were sunny and 72 degrees every day. The reality of our world is a little more gritty than that and I think God wants it that way. He allows the rain and the snow in our lives to prepare us for the growth He desires to see in us. His harvest of Godly character in us is only accomplished by our learning to embrace all the seasons.
The truth is that I serve a God who allows leaves to die, flowers to disappear and grass to turn brown. In doing so, he prepares us for the miracle of the first bulb bursting out of the soil, the trees budding again and the grass growing so fast that it seems to need cutting every other day. He is not a God that can be controlled or manipulated to be more like me. In fact, He wants just the opposite. He wants me to be willing to die so that He can breathe new life into my every fiber. What a scary prospect.
He is not a safe God, but He is good. Oh what a beautiful God he is!