But what if my fantasy god is a lie? What if off-and-on for the last few years—and even more so for the last few months—the real יהוה has been trying to get through to me—has been trying to reveal Himself to me? And because I have been so attached to my fantasy god, that I haven’t been letting myself see this REAL יהוה? Am I willing to let go of my fantasy god?—Because that is the god that I can’t trust—that is the god that can’t handle my anger—that is the god that I feel betrayed by. But in reality, it is my own fantasy that let me down. What would happen if I choose to trust this other God? This יהוה who is outside of my comprehension and control?
I wrote a “Dear John” letter to God last night. I was ready to walk away from Him today. But what if who I really need to walk away from is this fantasy god that I have been holding onto?
I envisioned two things: 1) יהוה battling my fantasy god and 2) my fantasy god as a branch that I am holding onto so that I don’t have to let myself drop into the unknown. Because all I have “known” for so long is my fantasy god. I don’t know anything about this יהוה. I have a suspicion if I actually read my Bible—I mean really read it—then I will find something out. I have been depending upon worship songs, contemporary Christian songs on the radio, preachers, pastors, my parents, my grandparents, my professors, my friends….for so long that I have a twisted view of God. Who is יהוה?
A friend of mine prayed this morning that God would reveal Himself to me. Well….first step accomplished: tear down my fantasy god.
Flashback: my therapist on the phone…. “Jaime, you are clinging to your fantasy world. You need to get to the point where you see your fantasy world for what it is. You need to get to the point where you are sick of your fantasy world.”
Am I sick of my fantasy world god? I’m pretty pissed at him.
Can I let myself cling to יהוה? To this unknown being that seems so incomprehensible and unpredictable and dangerous?
Flashback: The character Aslan…."'If there's anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they're either braver than me or else just silly.'
'Then he isn't safe?' asked Lucy.
'Safe?' said Mr. Beaver. 'Don't you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you.'"
I sat by the river today. Our local river isn’t raging by any means, but I still thought about the power behind it. Every time I feel lost, I go to the river’s edge. Why? The river is dangerous. It is uncontrollable; unpredictable. And yet, I must feel it is good. I always go to it.
I’ve been struggling with this forgiveness thing. Mainly because I couldn’t handle the pain. But of course I can’t handle the pain—because my fantasy god was not a good role model for handling pain—he just let me ignore it. And furthermore he probably couldn't have handled it. All day yesterday, I could not forgive because the pain was too much. But today… After realizing I’ve been clinging to a weak, lying god…. I was given the opportunity to get my vengeance: “Let me feel the pain that I caused you yesterday….You deserve to.” In my head I said, “You’re right. I do deserve to, because you did hurt me.” But instead, with tears in my eyes, I refused, and gave a kiss where permission to snap had been given.
Maybe, just maybe, I can do this after all. Because maybe, just maybe, this יהוה is much bigger than the god I created in my head. Maybe, just maybe, יהוה is worthy of my trust.
Exodus 34:5-8 “The Lord descended in the cloud and stood there with him as he called upon the name of the Lord. Then the Lord passed by in front of him and proclaimed, ‘The Lord, the Lord God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and fourth generations.’ Moses made haste to bow low toward the earth and worship.”
1 Kings 19:9-13 “Then he came there to a cave and lodged there; and behold, the word of the Lord came to him, and He said to him, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’ He said, ‘I have been very zealous for the Lord, the God of hosts; for the sons of Israel have forsaken Your covenant, torn down Your altars and killed Your prophets with the sword. And I alone am left; and they seek my life, to take it away.’ So He said, ‘Go forth and stand on the mountain before the Lord.’ And behold, the Lord was passing by! And a great and strong wind was rending the mountains and breaking in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire; and after the fire a sound of gently blowing. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and went out and stood in the entrance of the cave. And behold, a voice came to him and said, ‘What are you doing here, Elijah?’”
Psalm 18:6-19 “In my distress I called upon the Lord, and cried to my God for help; He heard my voice out of His temple, and my cry for help before Him came into His ears. Then the earth shook and quaked; and the foundations of the mountains were trembling and were shaken, because He was angry. Smoke went up out of His nostrils, and fire from His mouth devoured; coals were kindled by it. He bowed the heavens also, and came down with thick darkness under His feet. He rode upon a cherub and flew; and He sped upon the wings of the wind. He made darkness His hiding place, His canopy around Him, darkness of waters, thick clouds of the skies. From the brightness before Him passed His thick clouds, hailstones and coals of fire. He sent out His arrows, and scattered them, and lightning flashes in abundance, and routed them. Then the channels of water appeared, and the foundations of the world were laid bare at Your rebuke, O Lord, at the blast of the breath of Your nostrils. He sent from on high, He took me; He drew me out of many waters. He delivered me from my strong enemy, and from those who hated me, for they were too mighty for me. They confronted me in the day of my calamity, but the Lord was my stay. He brought me forth also into a broad place; He rescued me, because He delighted in me.”
Nahum 1:2-9 “A jealous and avenging God is the Lord; the Lord is avenging and wrathful. The Lord takes vengeance on His adversaries, and He reserves wrath for His enemies. The Lord is slow to anger and great in power, and the Lord will by no means leave the guilty unpunished. In whirlwind and storm is His way, and clouds are the dust beneath His feet. He rebukes the sea and makes it dry; He dries up all the rivers. Bashan and Carmel wither; the blossoms of Lebanon wither. Mountains quake because of Him and the hills dissolve; indeed the earth is upheaved by His presence, the world and all the inhabitants in it. Who can stand before His indignation? Who can endure the burning of His anger? His wrath is poured out like fire and the rocks are broken up by Him. The Lord is good, a stronghold in the day of trouble, and He knows those who take refuge in Him. But with an overflowing flood He will make a complete end of its site, and will pursue His enemies into darkness. Whatever you devise against the Lord, He will make a complete end of it. Distress will not rise up twice.”
Psalm 139:1-18 “O Lord, You have searched me and known me. You know when I sit down and when I rise up; You understand my thought from afar. You scrutinize my path and my lying down, and You are intimately acquainted with all my ways. Even before there is a word on my tongue, behold, O Lord, You know it all. You have enclosed me behind and before, and laid Your hand upon me. Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is too high, I cannot attain to it. Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, if I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, even there Your hand will lead me, and Your right hand will lay hold of me. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, and the light around me will be night,’ even the darkness is not dark to You, and the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You. For You formed my inward parts; You wove me in my mother’s womb. I will give thanks to You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are Your works, and my soul knows if very well. My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the depths of the earth; Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; and in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, when as yet there was not one of them. How precious also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them! If I should count them, they would outnumber the sand. When I awake, I am still with You.”