Lately, I feel tossed by the waves of “who God is” as told by everyone around me. This question came to a head on Easter. I have felt that God took me aside this year to talk about who He is, over and over again He reassured me that He is love, though that love does not always look like comfort. On Easter, He sent me to a concert that would present me with two choices.
Do I believe that God is a fearsome God of justice, the God I fear, and run from, or Do I believe He is the God of all Hope, who created me to be who I am, and therefore loves who I really am?
The stakes are terrifyingly high on either side. If God is the fearsome God of justice, and I don’t repent in the right way for my sins, or do the right works, then I am choosing against Him and He will leave me. If He is a God of never ending hope, then He will love me always, and He will see how hard I’m trying even when I mess up, not that He won’t want me to do better, but He only wants that for my good, not His. He’s not a teacher waiting with a ruler to tell me i messed up.
Choosing the second, though it is what I want to be true, is difficult for me, because I was taught so many things you had to do to get God to love you. I spent half of my life trying to avoid Hell, instead of being who God called me to be. The irony is, if you live a life trying to avoid Hell, you are no longer living according to God, but according to Fear.
In the weeks since Easter, I have wrestled with this decision put in front of me. “How do I live as if the battle is already won? How? How?” I asked it so many times that the voices of my past rose in revolt and said that “I can’t, it’s just talk. They just don’t understand the truth.” Except for maybe they do.
Maybe God does love me no matter what, maybe if I’m doing my best to follow Him, then He will save me, maybe if I lay myself down at His feet He will hold me, and not condemn me as I have been condemned before. Maybe He sees what’s in my heart, and knows I love Him.
Note: The point of this post is not to say that God doesn’t care about what we do, but to compare perceptions of who He is as a person, particularly a divide I have struggled with my whole life.