Penny gave me a wonderful birthday present. She bought me tickets to something called the Fully Charged Live Show. It’s an exhibition all about electric vehicles, sustainable living, alternative energy sources, and the like. It’s something I’m interested in out of curiosity, but also because I believe these issues are vital to our responsibility to steward the creation in the way God intended us to. But that’s a topic for another day.
A feature of the exhibition was a series of panel discussions focused on topics such as, “Low carbon food, and how to create converts”; How much better can batteries become?; “How to drive and charge as efficiently as possible?” All the talks were excellent, except the final one. That’s not because the topic wasn’t interesting, nor that the people on the panel were not experts. If it was because one person on the panel had an agenda, and they were going to get it across, whether anybody liked it or not, or whether it connected with the topic or not. This panellist, who shall remain nameless, twisted every question to fit with his agenda, and berated two of his fellow panellists, demeaning them, insulting them, and behaving basically like a bully. It was a great shame, not only because it spoiled the talk, but because it left a nasty taste in my mouth. Overall, the day was wonderful, but this indisciplined bully annoyed me.
What is my spiritual takeaway? Well, I wonder how often I come to God with my agenda, and how often I am not paying attention to what he’s trying to communicate to me? How does he feel when I stray from what is important? What is his reaction when I talk and talk and do not listen?
“The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.” (Psalm 103:8 NIV11)
What do we learn about God?
It is not in God’s nature to treat us as we deserve. Indeed, it seems he delights in doing the opposite. His nature is merciful, loving and gracious. He is capable of becoming angry, and indeed he should when righteousness is compromised. But he is not impetuous, nor hasty in his anger.
Do you worry that you are not on God’s wavelength? Do you feel guilty about the times you have prayed, but not listened? The very fact that you are concerned about it is a good sign. God understands your weakness, and he delights to hear from you anyway. Bring God your agenda, just do it lightly.
Abraham was not just exercising “blind faith.” He was not saying, “This is crazy, this is murder, but I’m going to do it anyway.” Instead he was saying, “I know God is both holy and gracious. I don’t know how he is going to be both—but I know he will.” Counterfeit Gods, Timothy Keller
When I listened to the person on the panel, I felt my blood pressure rising. I wanted to go and have a stern word with him. In fact, although I didn’t speak to him, I did talk to one of the other panellists and congratulated them on keeping their cool. They seemed grateful for my encouragement. God is listening to all of our communication – healthy or not. He is a loving spiritual parent who delights to hear from his children, even when they are not quite on point.
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“Worship the LORD with gladness; come before him with joyful songs.” (Psalms 100:2 NIV11)
God bless, Malcolm