We're Like God

February 11, 2013

Excerpt from Psalm 35:11-28

"Don't be silent, Lord; don't keep yourself far away! Rouse yourself…defend me…rise up."

William C. Green

What we ask of God, God asks of us. "Don't be silent, my people; don't keep yourself far away! …rise up." God is not a stoic and does not teach us resignation and acceptance. Both of us can be impatient, anxious, and sometimes contradictory - loving and trusting but also ornery and questioning. Will we really stay faithful or wander away? God worries.

Jack Miles, in God: A Biography, shows how there's symmetry between God's characteristics and ours. We're made in God's image. Just as God gets anxious about us we worry and wonder in turn whether God will really come through for us—or "keep far away."

So the Psalmist cries out, pleading for the Lord to get moving - wake up! He needs help and needs it now! He concludes his plea hopefully but not until he has given full voice to his fear and frustration. The Psalmist - and the Bible - is just like God…and just like us.

How often do we jump to faith and trust without giving our own divine likeness its full due? We're like God not just when we're loving and confident but when we're anxious, even angry. Can that be expressed in our prayers and at church in more than ritual confession and petition? How often are our prayers not at all God-like, urgent pleas but muted, usually polite, requests, not giving away how we actually feel?

God's goodness will prevail - but not at the expense of who either of us is: as vulnerable as the very Son of God, Jesus, who himself cried out, "My God! My God! Why have you forsaken me?" That's not the last word but it's an honest word - and it comes before hope.

Prayer

O God, remind me how much we're alike. Keep me from pretending I don't have the doubts and hard feelings you know so well. Teach me the goodness of your honesty. Amen.

About the Author
William C. Green is Vice-President for Strategy and Development, Moral Courage Project, NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, and the author of 52 Ways to Ignite Your Congregation: Generous Giving.

Order Spring Cleaning: 2013 Lent Devotionals - new from the Stillspeaking Writers' Group and other favorite UCC writers. Lent starts Feb. 13.

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