Our pastor posed a question the other day in his sermon that I’ve been chewing on. He said, “It comes down to this: Do you believe God is a Giver or a Taker?”
How you pray, give, work, live, believe, dream, etc. will depend on your answer to that question.
Can I be honest for a bit… when I really sit and ask myself that question, I have seen God as a Taker. How in the world can I say that when my life CLEARLY shows that He is a Giver… that He is Faithful… and so Good? Because I am messed up. That’s why. My “Taker” mentality is not present in all situations… but when I believe and act on the thought that God is a Taker, it results in FEAR, crazy assumptions, and misunderstanding of who God is.
When I say I’m going to be honest… I’m going to be brutally honest. This is how my brain has worked at times and a fear I have been plagued with. BIOLOGICAL CHILDREN. Having biological children is a lot scarier for me that adopting. Strange, right? I guess I have more perceived control over adoption because I am great at filling out paperwork, getting tasks checked off my to-do list, and emailing social workers ‘to keep them on their toes’ until I’m blue in the face. But bio kids… pregnancy… FREAKS ME OUT! Why? Because I think that God is a Taker.
Here’s my crazy thoughts – I have done things in the past that have not honored God with my body… so He has probably taken away the ability for me to even get pregnant. IF I did get pregnant, I could possibly lose the baby because God tends to teach us things through tragedy and loss. So either I can’t get pregnant in the first place or I will have a miscarriage. It’s just going to be a disappointment…
Or when someone asks me to pray for them because of a loved one getting sick or a horrible situation they are facing… I have these thoughts – well, I’ll pray for you/them/it, but God probably won’t give healing/restoration/answers/whatever because how you really KNOW Him is through suffering.
My theology is whack!
My thoughts are based on me-driven faith and not grace-given redemption. I have seen God as a record-keeper, manipulator, and someone to be feared (not honored… but threatened by). How wrong. Throughout God’s Word, He tries to teach us that He is a Giver and He loves us.
When Jesus is teaching on prayer, He says 11 “Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? 12 Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? 13 If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” (Luke 11:11-13). He’s not out to trick us or blackmail us. He is a GOOD DAD! When his children have a need and ask for His mercy… He isn’t going to give us something evil.
He is a Good Daddy. I certainly wouldn’t give Eric a scorpion if he asked for food. But… I would do what’s best for him even if he pouts the whole way through it.
Believing God is a Giver is not the prosperity Gospel, name-it-claim-it, or having all your prayers answered how you wish. BUT believing God is a Taker means that the motives and plans of God are jaded and cruel.
It’s true… I may not be able to get pregnant (time will tell).
It’s true… God may not heal someone every time they are prayed for.
It’s true… You do come to truly KNOW God through suffering.
Yes… It’s possible that if I were to get pregnant… I could have a miscarriage.
Yes… It’s possible that the extremely tough situations are not always resolved painlessly.
I think those statements… and ones similar… scare us/me to our core. Those things are hard to swallow, hard to explain, and hard to trudge through. BUT those things do not make our God a Taker. I don’t claim to have the answers, because I surely don’t, but I’m not afraid to ask the questions. I’m not afraid to figure out what those things mean about my God, my faith, and who I am meant to be in Him. It’s not easy… actually it sucks. But I do know this and I hold onto this –
Through suffering, excitement, joy, waiting, miracles, new, old, good, bad, and everything else…
God is faithful.
God is good. He is a Good Daddy.
He is love. He is merciful.
He never changes.
His grace is new everyday.
He still performs miracles.
His goodness, joy, and delight comes when he can bless His children and do miracles in and through them.
We have to keep praying, keep dreaming, and keep trusting… regardless of what our emotions tell us.
He is a Giver… even when we perceive Him as taking.