When God says “No” to something I desperately want, I sometimes mistakenly think I might prefer a genie in a bottle.
Bound to my every wish and compelled to act on my behalf.
Ever felt that way when surrounded by the pressing needs of others (or your own), and God seems a million miles away, or deaf to your heart-rending cries?
My mind begins to race as I contemplate the “one wish per day” scenario. Immediately I think of all the people who would be healed, the marriages restored, the salvations, the miraculous provision.
Or perhaps it would be better to start with plans for entire countries instead and then scale back to individuals? Urgent, impossible choices begin to present themselves while the suspicion dawns that I am not the one to be making these far-reaching decisions. My knowledge is severely limited. I am not God.
And sometimes, God says “no”.
God doesn’t short-circuit the process He has lovingly designed for every child of His because I can’t stand to see them in temporary distress.
In short, He doesn’t answer to me. If I was the one in charge, He would no longer be God. If He was my servant, He would no longer be the Master. Right?
That’s where things begin to get interesting. Picture the uncontainable God contained in human form, with a towel wrapped around His waist, washing the dirty feet of his disciples. Performing a task that only the lowest servant would get stuck with. Walking mile after dusty mile, touching, healing, teaching. Serving. Suffering. Giving His life away. But still very much God. Compelled by relentless love for His people to enter the muck and mire of our very fallen world.
Oh yes, God was compelled. Love does that. And God IS love.
When the piercing awareness of that depth of love permeates our beings, it changes us. It heals the old, festering wounds we thought we would always have to live with. It sweeps out the stagnant pools of the soul with a fresh flow of living water, and it ushers in light and wholesome air into the dank dungeons we pretend don’t exist.
Love sees us at our despicable worst, and just when we have denied Him three times, He looks straight at us with eyes spilling radiant love and goes to the Cross for us.
That kind of love destroys all the barricades and defenses that have been painstakingly constructed over years and layers of hurt. But it’s okay – with this kind of love, no defenses are needed. We are forever transformed, knowing we are THAT loved; THAT accepted and valued. It joyfully bubbles back out of us and compels us to love those around us with His transforming power.
This serving, loving God is far different from the genie my imagination conjured up in a moment of frustration. I may not understand Him, and definitely can’t contain Him, but I AM known and loved by Him, and so are you. We can trust that the same love that compelled Him to freely give His life away is enough for every person who will open their heart to Him, and for every need they have. We can choose to trust that the One who knows all, knows best, even when we don’t understand. No genie in a bottle can hold a candle to that.This uncontainable God who is compelled by love? I so love Him in return, and that is enough. Click To Tweet
With faith, hope, and love,