Has anybody noticed that God really doesn’t do much anymore?
Practical prayer fails most of the time. We ask for healing, but nearly always have to resort to the “guide the hand of the doctor” capitulation. Nothing. Most of the other “answers” to prayer are excruciatingly internal vibe shifts or convenient reinterpretations of stubbornly unchanged facts. Frankly, I think God’s batting average sucks. If God is doing something, it’s decidedly unimpressive as to be laughable. The God of current Western Christendom is lame. We just don’t want to admit it.
But we are the masters of religious spin, protecting Yahweh and his sentimental Son from their own incompetence. We praise him for his power while studiously ignoring his disinclination to actually do anything verifiable. For sure, we credit him with creating the world and saving us, but those are mere abstractions. We can live our nice moral lives without him. Most of us do.
We pretend God answers us. When nothing happens, we defer to his wise timing, which is a nice way to excuse him from actually doing anything now. And if the facts of failure are just too significant to ignore, we blame ourselves for lack of faith or secret sin or suggest that God has a better idea. Yeah, right.
But we have too much invested in the God of our imaginations to let him fail us. He’s the raison d’etre for our self-love, the cosmic sanction for our pursuit of happiness, our license to drive. He’s the reassurance that, ultimately, all will be forgiven and given. He’s the soapbox upon which we can declare our righteousness to the inferior race of heathen, our psychological retribution upon a scoffing world. He’s too valuable an asset to lose, so we prop him up with religious word-shims and wrap him in cellophane gestures.
Because God is a nice idea.
Yet at the edge of our carefully calibrated spiritual perimeter a niggling voice drones: God does nothing. God will do nothing. God is a word. It terrifies us.
And so we spin this impotent, disinterested God faster and faster, keeping him precariously balanced upon the thin sticks of denial. The LORD will do nothing, either good or bad, but we must not admit it lest he fall and, like Dagon, humiliate us with the rubble of his collapse.
. . . . . . .
[I first posted this in 2006, but find its questions again a part of my meditations, questions which have a long, venerable—and Biblical—history. I opted for reposting rather than reiterating. Apologies to the purists.]