What does God want of us? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
I’m not a prayer warrior. Some of you might think with my being in Christian ministry, I spend a lot of time in prayer and it comes naturally for me. No. It doesn’t. I do have an attitude of it throughout the day asking God about events in my life, but to go somewhere and focus for a long time in prayer is difficult.
After one such time recently, I found myself thinking that so many times, I come to God and I have the list of all the things that I want. What does God want from me when I pray? I don’t know if I had ever thought about that before, but I decided to ponder it.
I have really only come to one conclusion. God wants us to love Him. It might sound simplistic, but there’s a profundity to it I think. It’s easy to come to God when you think about what you want instead of just coming to Him for who He is.
Sometimes skeptics often ask “If God wants me, why doesn’t He just appear to me immediately? Why doesn’t He make Himself known?” He could do that if He wanted to, but maybe that doesn’t give the true results desired. That treats God like He’s just a trivia question instead of the person saying “No. If God exists, I really want to know it. I really want to know Him.”
There are some skeptics who have said that even if they were shown that God existed, they wouldn’t worship Him. With such people, there’s definitely no reason for God to reveal Himself. God does promise though that if someone is genuinely seeking, they will genuinely find.
Sometimes with this kind of thing I think about the Little Mermaid. Remember in that movie Ariel has to without her voice get the man to kiss her? Now in reality, the best way she could do that is to have removed that wrapping she had around herself immediately when she saw him and odds are she would have got a kiss immediately, but it would not have been a kiss of love. It would have been one of lust. Instead, she had to work and spend the time with him to really try to get that kiss.
In the same way, if God shows up in all His glory, you’re really not going to have much of a say in the matter. The ones who will get to see the glory of God are the ones who have put forward the work to relate to Him first and find Him first. Those who are coming to Him only wanting just the benefits, which does include Heaven, are the ones who don’t really want Him. This is one reason I find that when we talk about life in Heaven, God is usually treated like an afterthought.
“Oh yeah! You get to live in a mansion! The streets are gold! You live forever! There’s no pain or sickness or death! All your dead loved ones are there waiting for you! Oh, one more thing. There’s this guy called God there if you care about that.”
We wouldn’t come out and say that, and I’m not saying I believe in a literalistic description of Heaven, but that is the way it usually is treated. Most of us don’t think about God when we think about Heaven. We think about what benefits us. The purpose of getting someone to be a Christian is usually, “Well you want to go to Heaven, don’t you?”
It’s really using God.
So now, when I have come in prayer, I have tried to make statements of love and sometimes, I may not feel them or think I mean them, but I try to say them anyway. What if God wants to be loved for Himself, which is really what we all want?
The Jews have a song sang at Passover called Dayenu where it lists step by step the blessings God brought to His people at the Exodus and for each step it is said “And if you had just done XYZ, dayenu, it would have been enough.” Then they go one step further everytime adding in dayenu.
What God has already done for us, well dayenu. He has done more than enough for us. Everything else is a gift. If we do not come to Him as He is appreciating what we have already, we are guilty of ingratitude to God and using Him. We all have many gifts in life and none of us are debts owed to us. It is all a gift.
Maybe it’s time to express some love back.
(And I affirm the virgin birth)