Monday, May 08, 2006

Our Image of God?

Had some great discussion at church last night about how we understand/deal with God when our prayers aren't answered, when stuff in our life goes totally wrong and when God hasn't seemed to have come through for us.

So what kind of image/understanding of God do we need to help people discover, so that when life and faith seems to be totally up the duff, that their faith can survive. I'd like to be able to tell people about a God that will answer all their prayers the way they want, will give them the life they've always wanted, improve their life boundlessly in all areas and protect them from danger for the rest of their days, but first of all, that's not the God I believe in, and second, what will happen to that God when those things don't work out as planned?

How do we encourage people to form more healthy understandings of God that will not be torn down when life doesn't work out as planned?

16 comments:

mase said...

so digs,
who is the God that you believe in?
peace.

waynemus said...

Digs,

Well how can one expect a God to answer our prayers (at least in observable means of our expectations) when God is unchangeable. Hence God does not respond to our prayers, but rather has fulfillment of His eternally ordained plan for the individual.

Personally I believe that prayer is not petitionary requests which we pray for God to realise, but rather a spiritual discipline that God uses to humble His followers to have faith and dependence on Him, and to discipline them to realise His will for humanity.

So if we believe God has abandoned us, it is not because He has fogotten us, but that we are not praying according to His will (1 John 5:13-14), and that we fail to recognise the Lord's provision for us, as we have tunnel vision which is imposed on us by our false expectations.

Pax vibiscum adelphos,

Kimando said...

Hey Digger,

Our last youth service was on images of God.
If you want to check it out there's a copy of the sermon online at: www.pilgrimuca.org.au/Sermons.htm

It looked at different images and how some can be helpful and how some are not. It also mentioned how spending time with God can help us find the image of God that works for us.

As for an image of God "that will not be torn down when life doesn't work out as planned". I'm not sure.

For me, I think it's an understanding that answering my prayers is not neccessarily the best thing for me. That God knows more than I do, he will see the greater good and respond accordingly.

You've given me some more to think about in the whole "images of God" genre.

Anonymous said...

In response to Servant of God's post: does that mean that our prayers do not alter Gods action/ interaction with the world? Is it only in us that prayer has action. Does God's unchangeability mean that our prayers do not sway him at all?

Digger said...

Ok, first off Mase, thats a massive question, and one I'm honestly not sure how well I can articulate in words, much less written words. i remember somebody once saying that the moment that we think we understand and know Gow everything about God is the moment in which we are furthest from Him. interesting thought...

But having said that, in response to this particular issue I'd say I believe in a God that is both an exterier, mysterious spiritual being, and an interior, guiding force, which in some ways doesn't really mean much but also means a hell of a lot.

Don't know if they make sense to others though?

How's about yourself?

Digger said...

Interesting points SoG. Couple of things I'd like to pick up on though.

I actually think our understanding of unchangeable is perhaps not what it should be. I see God as unchangeable in terms of His/Her nature, but not necesarily in terms of what God does and how He/She interacts in the world.

I think the type of prayer you're talking about is indeed really spot on, and perhaps something we don't focus on enough, but I don't think that is the only way of understanding prayer.

Stuff from the Gospels like Jesus telling us to ask seek knock, and we will receive, and stories about how we ask God for stuff in prayer would seem to indicate to me that its bigger than just tuning ourselves into God.

Understand what I mean?

Digger said...

Yeah I think the point about realising that God will not always answer our prayers as we want is an important start Kim, will check out your link to.

Cheers

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