Our image of God drastically affects our lives. The Holy Trinity, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit will never fit neatly into the human mind, but God has revealed to us His most important attributes: love and mercy. If we don’t understand or haven’t embraced these for ourselves, then the fullness of life and love within us contorts and dwarfs, under the influence of a false God.
The first chapter in the Gospel of John, chapter 3, verse 16, often waved across the United States on pieces of cardboard at football games, is trying to get our attention: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him might not perish but might have eternal life.” Jesus, speaking in our times, even found a “personal secretary,” St. Faustina Kowalska, to remind us of Who He is: “Tell the world about My mercy and My love. Tell that I am Love and Mercy itself (The Diary of St. Faustina, #1074).”
A common barrier, standing in the way of our image of God, is a parental figure. One or both of our parents, or our caregivers, can loom large in front of our loving God, blocking out His light, and casting shadow onto our awareness. If we had a father who was kind and loving, that is, until we did something he disapproved of, or if we had a mother who was self-absorbed or fault-finding, or if either of our parental figures left home,—etc., etc., we can easily do a psychological projection of our parents’ or guardians’ imperfect attributes onto the very nature of the Father, the Son, or the Holy Spirit, or all three, (and sometimes onto the Blessed Mother, as well.)
We unconsciously project these earthly relationships onto God, unaware that the god we’re afraid of, or upset with, isn’t the real God at all. We can be assured that we’re not communicating with the real God, if we cannot cuddle up with Him, like a toddler pulling herself onto her parent’s lap. If we cannot rest ourselves in God’s lap or find refuge in His heart, either we’ve attached ourselves to sin to such a degree that we’ve turned our back on Love, or we don’t yet know who God really is.
If God’s true Self has been eclipsed in our view, then our trust in Him naturally erodes. If our god is out to get us, to find fault with us, to take us down a path that will hurt our souls, or if he simply doesn’t care about us, then we can be fooled into thinking God is like Satan.
The word, Satan, in Hebrew, means “Accuser.” If we have a relentless, self-accusatory voice in our head, for instance, which plunges us into shame or despair, and we think that voice is of God, we’ve been communicating with the wrong “person.” God will try to make us aware of our faults and sins, but never in a condemning way. Yes, God is also justice. His voice and influence can be stern, but NEVER, EVER, without love, NEVER without concern for us. God ALWAYS has our best interests in mind, and He NEVER throws up His hands in disgust or weariness, saying, “I’ve had it with you! Forget it!” As it says in Lamentations 3:22-23: “The favors of the Lord are not exhausted, his mercies are not spent; They are renewed each morning, so great is his faithfulness.”
Sometimes we’re frustrated with God, because we’re actually frustrated with God’s enemy. Satan likes to egg us on to sin, and then once we do what he wants, he accuses us for ever having done it. He also enjoys accusing us for the good things we’ve done, to get us to lament or discontinue them. And to add to his bitterly annoying tactics, he consistently tells us that all the destructive and malicious things he’s doing and saying are coming from God. That way, he can twist our consciousness to make us extremely angry, distrusting, blaming, or at worst rejecting, towards God, so that we’ll fall precipitously into his hands. Nothing grieves God’s heart more than this. When the people of Jerusalem rejected Our Lord, Jesus’ response revealed the painful desires of His heart.
“Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how many times I yearned to gather your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, but you were unwilling!”
If God is somehow unsafe, we won’t feel comfortable turning to Him for encouragement, reassurance, tenderness, and what we need most—LOVE!—and we will wander this earth seeking the comfort of the world, which will at best lead to nothing, and at worst, swallow us in its malice, leaving our souls desolate.
So let us pay attention! Let us pray away any false images of God, so we can rest in the true sanctuary of solace for our souls!
God loves us! God is crazy about us! God is poised and ready to shower us with His mercy. May we soak in the gaze of His love, and sigh in the comfort of His arms, and like John, the apostle, say, “We have come to know and to believe in the love God has for us. God is love, and whoever remains in love remains in God and God in him.” (1 John: 4:16)
Copyright 2011 Christine Watkins