I was going to title this post, How I View God, but that sounds concrete and final in a way that I’m not intending.
As an analogy to how I’m thinking about God right now, I have a very dear friend. When I think about her, at times I use different descriptions. Sometimes I think of her as my first deep friend when I moved to this area from a foreign country. Other times I think of her as the friend who is always there when I need to talk (even late at night or early in the morning). Other times I think of her as my hilarious friend (because I’m very serious, and she can be very funny). She is the friend who has spoken up on my behalf on many times when I was being misunderstood, misrepresented and aggressively opposed by different people. She is the friend who feeds me on weekends when I don’t have the energy to make myself eat, let alone think about what to prepare. She is the friend who organizes other people to help me in practical ways in my struggling to make it as a single mom. Ultimately, she is my friend in a very rich, full and complete way, but I think about her and the friendship she gives me from many different specific angles.
The same with God. He is God. That is very big and very profound. As a detail, not so big picture type of person, I find myself relating to him at different times, not from the starting point of what all that means, but from specific, concrete angles of how I’m relating to him at a specific time. When I was going through a drought time (personally, spiritually, relationally), I thought about him as the God who refreshes, who makes green, who gives life and revitalizes me. There was another time when I clung to the truth that he is the God who Sees. The God who Understands. The God who Cares. All of these are true. And so much more.
Lately, I’ve been singing a song over and over, which verbalizes how I see God right now. It is “Lift Every Voice and Sing” and is another wonderful find in the hymnal of the church I’m currently attending. I’m not going to quote the whole song here, mainly because where I’ve seen they lyrics printed on blogs, there seems to follow a lot of controversy and even argument about the politics and theology of this song. For me, it is not political, and I don’t really think about it as a theological treatise. The song feels like an expression of my heart cries and a picture of my walk with the Lord in recent years. I encourage you to look up all the lyrics online. (And feel free to argue about them in some of those places, if you are so disposed 🙂 )
For now, here is the part that portrays God in the way in which I am currently relating to him:
God of our weary years,
God of our silent tears
I’m so grateful that he is God in my weary years and in my silent tears, and tonight, as I have been over the past several weeks, I am lifting my voice and singing to him with gratitude for all that that implies. Some days recently, I have sung this song through not so silent tears and out of deep and painful questions. Sometimes the song is as confident of a proclamation as I can muster in my doubts. I’m singing a “song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,” only it’s the dark present where my faith, right here and right now, is being taught and formed and tried.
The song also talks about “the days when hope unborn has died”. Have you ever been there? How have you experienced God in those times?
And one other part (if I keep going, I’ll end up quoting the whole song anyway, won’t I?) which my heart joins in praying, asks God to
“keep us forever in the path…lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met thee; lest our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget thee…”