In our attempts to understand or explain God, we naturally tend to re-create Him into something familiar. He becomes like us.
A God like me? I don’t know about you, but that prospect doesn’t appeal to me at all. A God created in my image is only semi-competent in some things, and highly incompetent in many other things. A-God-like-me will have changing moods; some days He might be loving and kind, but on other days…not so much.
In my soon to be released book, God in His Own Image, I share about the false image of God I feared and dreaded as a youth. I describe Him as the Cosmic Cop. Being a PK (pastor’s kid) in a very strict church, I heard lots of sermons about God’s severe wrath. God was both the Law-giver and the chief Law-enforcer. I knew about Law Enforcement Officers, since Dad was bi-vocational: he wore a police badge at night and a preacher’s tie on Sundays.
As a result, every police officer in Cheyenne County knew me. If I burnt rubber in my Dad’s 60-Ford Starliner while dragging Main Street, it seemed like every cop on the force would see it, and tell my father the next morning. On the plus side, I never received a traffic violation or warning. They must have figured my dad would set me straight. (Perhaps there was an advantage to being the son of a cop.)
My relationship with my Cosmic Cop, if you could call it a relationship, was a love/hate affair. When I was in danger, perhaps facing the final exam in Algebra, I wanted Him close enough to provide the correct answers. I also wanted Him to hear my Sunday prayers, especially when I recited the same list of sins each week.
But when I wanted to prove I was just a normal teen-ager and not a PK, I didn’t want the Cosmic Cop messing with my plans. In my book, I share a humorous story about the first time I took my date to a drive-in-theater. Movies were forbidden fruit in those days, and I couldn’t wait to taste the apple. But sure enough, the Cosmic Cop caught me red-handed. He always did. Lying in bed at night I often had my own personal (Protestant) confessional booth. Just in case Jesus might return before sunrise, I wanted to be certain I wouldn’t be left behind, so I apologized for everything I might have done wrong that day. It was tough—no, make that impossible—to keep the record straight.
My perverted view of the Cosmic-Cop-kind-of-God prevented me from knowing and enjoying the true and living God. I would try to manipulate Him, but I could never experience His grace and mercy. I could read about God loving the world in John 3:16, even inserting my name in place of “whosoever believes,” but somehow, I never felt that love. Since my God was a cop, I wanted Him to come on the run when I dialed His number, but I kept Him at arms-length the rest of the time.
My story may be yours. Perhaps at one time, even today, you struggle with loving or feeling loved by God. Perhaps your “God” is that cop who seems to be bent on denying you any pleasure.
Perhaps you struggle even believing there is a God.
Whatever it be, anything and anyone less than the God who has revealed Himself in Scripture, will never satisfy our hunger.
Today, I have experienced and worship the God who has revealed Himself as both holy and severe as well as kind, loving and full of grace. Over and over again, even when facing some very difficult challenges, I have felt God’s presence and seen Him provide in inexplicable, clearly-supernatural ways. A few of these incidents are shared in the book to be released May 7th.
I have tasted and discovered God is good. He alone can satisfy the hunger in my soul.
He can do the same for you.
If you have struggled with a similar corrupted view of God, why not reply by sharing your experience?
I am still reading The Storm Tossed Family.