Wednesday, January 11, 2012

God Isn't Enough

I've heard several preachers say, "God is enough." I know what they mean but I'm not sure if God agrees. Let me explain.  Yes, fulfillment and peace come from a genuine and intimate relationship with the Father, but getting there requires other people.  Your relationship with God is not an individual pursuit.  It is a team effort.

Take David before he was King David.  In the second half of I Samuel David is running for his life.  His success on the battlefield, his growing fan-base, and his dose of the Lord's favor had stirred up King Saul's competitive spirit.  So Saul plans to protect his throne by putting David on the top of his army's hit list.  Shepherd boy makes Israel's Most Wanted and so David goes Bear Grylls.  He kicks into survival mode: lying to priests, eating holy bread, pulling a Hamlet by pretending to be insane (drool and all), and hiding in deserts - whatever it takes to stay alive.

During this time, David's charisma and leadership rallies a small army of screw-ups 600 strong and King Saul has had enough.  To make sure his servants know he means business Saul kills 85 priests!  (No, these were not televangelists but Israel's priests). He then turns up the heat in his pursuit of David.  While David hides out in Kelilah he hears rumors of Saul's plans to "storm the castle," and so he inquires of God to determine if the rumor is true.  Here is the exchange between God and David (I Samuel 23):

11 Will the citizens of Keilah surrender me to him? Will Saul come down, as your servant has heard? LORD, God of Israel, tell your servant.”
   And the LORD said, “He will.”
 12 Again David asked, “Will the citizens of Keilah surrender me and my men to Saul?”
   And the LORD said, “They will.”

Not sure how God spoke to David, but the text suggests the message was clear. Clear enough for David to pack up and "Get out of Dodge.  Yes, David is on the run. Yes, he is having to be a desert nomad for awhile, but God is on his side.  God is his alarm, his adviser (I wish God spoke to me in that way).  That should be enough.  But it wasn't (I Sam. 23:16):

16 And Saul’s son Jonathan went to David at Horesh and helped him find strength in God

It was not enough that David heard from God; he needed Jonathan to help him make sense of God in his current situation.  Perhaps if Jonathan had not come to David's aid at this critical and challenging moment he might have stepped away from God instead of closer to him.  Our relationship with God is not a straight line connecting you to God. It is a triangle connecting you to others to God.

Your relationship with God is not up to "you."  It is up to "us." Unfortunately, at times church is the least likely place to admit that your relationship with God is struggling, that perhaps you and God are even separated.  "Everyone at church seems deeply in love with God; I could not tell them of my difficulties.  After all, it is up to me."  But it is not, the church is there to help you find strength in God.

Do not be afraid to seek help in your relationship with God.  Lean on others' understanding, experience, struggles, confessions, stories, suffering, joys, etc. Be courageous and grow in your relationship with God by approaching and engaging others.

I want to offer my wife's and my help.  If you feel your faith community is unsafe or if you do not have a faith community, our ears are available.  We don't have a lot of answers and, compared to many, not a lot of life experiences, but what we can offer is a non-judgemental, honest, and safe place to wrestle with, celebrate, or question your relationship with God.  Drop us a message on Facebook and we will make sure and get in touch with you.

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