What Others Say

We use your column in our Saturday Spiritual Life section, so I always read it. The new one about Rafael is just totally cool. Again, great column. It touched me enough to email you.
- Greg Jaklewicz - Editorial Page Editor, Abilene News Reporter

Monday, June 13, 2011

What Is God Like?

What is God like? It is an important question. Our answer determines our worldview, how we see ourselves, how we see others and how we measure what is important.

If God doesn’t exist, as some assert, we can only view the world as a collision of random accidents. We live accidental lives on an accidental planet in an accidental solar system moving through accidental galaxies. Ultimately our lives have no reason or purpose. We simply are, for a few short years, and when we die, we are no more.

Others see God as the “prime mover.” He designed the physical laws of the universe and set it in motion like a wind up clock or toy. But, He is not involved in His creation. It is simply unwinding itself, spinning along according to its primal design. We each live our lives as infinitely insignificant cogs in the master machine.

Some view God as an “all seeing eye” watching us. He is personally cognizant of our lives and our actions and He is watching everything we say and do. We each live our lives like Truman Burbank, Jim Carrey’s character in “The Truman Show.”

Still others envision God as a god of vengeance. He delights in taking note of our sins and punishing us. Our journey on this earth is little more than a process of being beaten into submission by a god who punishes us for every sin we commit. Entire religions have been built around methods of sacrifice and penance to appease this angry god.

Jesus had a different answer. If you want to know what God is like, Jesus said, think of your father. Of course not all fathers are good. There are some deadbeat dads out there who spoil the image. But the vast majority of fathers love their children and would do anything for them. That is why we honor them on Father’s Day. I was one of the fortunate ones to have a good father. He was, and is, my hero. He was neither famous nor rich. He had no lasting achievements. He died when he was 53. But he was a good man, the best man I ever knew. He corrected me when I was little and did wrong things. He taught me a better way and set a better example that has served me for a lifetime. If I needed anything, he was there to help. That is why Jesus said, “Don’t worry. Your Father who is in heaven knows what you need.”

Now that I am a father with children and grandchildren of my own I better understand what Jesus meant when he said, “If you being evil know how to give good things to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give what is good to you!” This helps me enormously. If God is like that it changes how I see myself, how I see others and how I see the world. Happy Father’s Day!

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