Hi friends and welcome to the Arise, Beloved blog. We have an amazing team of writers behind this blog and our desire is to speak truth into the lies that cripple us and shine light into the darkness that isolates us because we believe that now, more than ever, the Church desperately needs women to be restored so that the world can be set ablaze. Our hope is that you find comfort, solace, and peace in knowing that you are not alone, you are not too far gone and there is ALWAYS hope to be found.
“That’s not the kind of God I am.”
I was watching a video from the Metanoia series by Fr. Dave Pivonka recently, and that line struck me. He was speaking into the question Jesus asks his apostles: “Who do you say that I am?”
We all have an adjective, an image, an experience, an idea (you name it) that gives us an answer to the empty, blank space. Instead of wrestling with the question, instead of opening up the blank space, instead of silencing the noise and awaiting a response, we settle for our own images and idols and words and let that suffice for the answer. It feels uncomfortable to sit in the empty space of the question Jesus asks us, “Who do you say that I am?” It makes us aware of the fact that we do not actually know who the Lord is, for He is far beyond our human understanding. Yet, how often do we fail to humbly admit to this divine mystery and instead, settle for the idols we have created?
The difficulty of sitting with and wrestling with this question is the fact that, when we answer it, we will undoubtedly have some false images of the Lord. And yet, this is exactly the kind of understanding we need to have if we desire to know the Lord more; an understanding of our own incapability of understanding him. In the video, Fr. Dave says, “If you haven’t felt God tell you, ‘That’s not the kind of God that I am’, then I pray that you will.” These words are startling. Our immediate reaction may be, why would I want to hear those words? Why would I want to be told that I don’t actually know the Lord as well as I think I do?
And the answer, sisters, to this why, is so that we might break open the box and let Him be who He is. In being who He is, we can be free of our misconceptions, our misunderstandings, and we can more freely run into the wide open arms of the Father.
Recently as I was praying, I had an experience of this. In a space of vulnerability and honesty with the Lord, I have felt myself wrestling with His beckoning to deeper abandonment. It is so difficult to lay down my arms and let Him pull me deeper and deeper. It is so painful to enter into new realms of trust. It is so startling to live with open hands. But I had reached a place in my prayer where I recognized that the only way to move from dark to light, from fear to hope, from doubt to trust was to surrender once again, and to do it with dangerously open hands.
So I prayed.
Father, I place my open hands before You.
If You want to give back what You have taken away, then I pray my hands might be open to receive.
If You want to give something new, to pour out something unknown into my hands, I pray my hands will be open to receive.
If You want to give in a way I am not expecting, in a way that might not look like I want, I pray my hands will still be open to receive.
Father, I pray I might not grasp, but might rest with these open hands, ready to receive.
And then I felt another prayer surge up.
But Father, if You want to just take and not give, then I pray my hands will remain open and surrendered to You for You to do as You Will.
This final prayer left me unsettled. It made me anxious. And then I felt it.
“That’s not the kind of God I am.”
I almost burst into tears as a still, small peace entered my heart and removed the anxiety that had welled up. That is not the kind of God He is.
I suppose that in the course of my daily life, in the experience of imperfect human relationships, in the monotony of unfulfilled desire, I have fallen victim to a subconscious understanding that maybe God withholds. I have fallen victim to the lies the serpent has told from the very beginning: that He is not as Good as He says He is. Maybe He doesn’t always really have an abundance to give us. Maybe sometimes He just takes and calls us to suffer with our open, wanting hands.
But it dawned on me: why would I expect my Father, who is Good, to be One who only takes and does not give? That is the role of a thief—someone who takes away. But the Father is Good, and merciful and abundant and generous. He is the One who rescues us from the thief. Certainly, He takes away, but does He not give all the more?
Adam and Eve lose the very life of their soul, yet He clothes them in their stark nakedness.
Job loses everything he has worked for, but is given a depth of faith and is returned twice what he lost.
The apostles lose the One they love, but rejoice in receiving Him back as the Resurrected Lord.
The martyrs lay everything before the Lord, yet receive the crown of purity and glory in the heavenly kingdom.
Why do I, for even a moment, doubt that my Father will give in the abundance that my heart longs for?
Why do I, for even a moment, think that He will not come through for me? That He will not provide this time? That He wants to tease me or see me ache without fulfillment?
He is not that kind of God. He is the most abundant Lover we will ever know. He is the well that never runs dry, the bread that eternally satisfies, the Heart that never stops beating, the breath inside of my lungs. He is my Father, my Good Father. He is the One who restores hope to the nations, the One who frees the captives, the One who offers His only Son just so He can be with me for all eternity.
He is that kind of God. The Lover. The Father. The Provider. The Good Giver. He does not rejoice in suffering, in burnt offering, in holocaust. No, He rejoices in the merciful, steadfast, covenantal Love that He alone is master of.
O you of little faith, why did you doubt?
Place your open hands before Me and be surprised by the abundance that I will fill them with. Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, what I have prepared for you, little one, who loves Me. I will come through—I will not leave you orphaned or desolate. I am the God of Abraham, of Isaac, of Jacob. I am Faithful and Eternal. Take courage, it is I.