If God Were a Genie
What if God were a genie? Every morning we could pop on our slippers, stroll down to the kitchen, rub our teacup and make wishes over our bowl of cereal. Imagine setting yourself up for an excellent day, where everything goes your way, every single day.
If God had answered all the wishes I’ve ever wished (disguised as prayers), I’d be married to my 11th grade crush (instead of my wonderful soul mate Brad), and my life would have looked something like this:
• Perfect body and fashion style with an endless wardrobe of the latest clothing
• Perfect family, which would mean no pesky sister, embarrassing brother or old-fashioned parents who enforce unreasonable rules or offer unsolicited advice
• Perfect test scores without studying would have meant I could’ve socialized all the time instead of hitting the books
• I would be popular, with everyone vying for the right to hang out with me; there would be no back stabbing, betrayals or gossip, just 100% chillaxing
• I’d live in a mansion with a view to die for and never have to clean up my room
• I’d have downloaded every song in the world and have the world’s best music playlist on the world’s best iPod
• There would be no disease or illness, no poverty, no homelessness, no one would need a donation, a band aid or require me to share my lunch with them
Hmm . . . it seems that if God were a genie I, and probably everyone else, would become totally focused on self. If God were a genie would we bother to develop a character or simply develop our appearance and status? If we got everything we wanted, every time, would we feel the need for a relationship with God? If God were a genie, would we love Him, serve Him and want to do right by His laws of love, or would we be guilty of using Him to get what we want? Would we bow in awe of God and worship Him, or would we start to believe we were in total control?
The Bible mentions that wanting to be like God was Satan’s down fall. ‘You said in your heart, “I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High” (Isaiah 14:13,14).
The bottom line is, when we view God as a genie we are a danger to ourselves. When we view God as a genie at our beck and call, we leave no room to see Him as our Savior.
I want to be the first to acknowledge that God does not always answer my prayers the way I want Him to, and I feel disappointed, sometimes even angry, about that. Uncertainty and silence from God can be an agonizingly difficult place to inhabit. God does not remove the consequences of my poor decisions, neither does He force His will on me. I yearn for clear, fiery answers emblazoned across the sky, yet would settle for a few quiet paragraphs whispered in my ear by God. We crave divine leading: should I take a gap year or work? Are there any answers to my health problems? What shall I study? What are my spiritual gifts? Is this guy the one? Should I be baptized? Should I move out? What about purity? The Sabbath? Church attendance? Alcohol and drugs? Dating non-Christian guys? Should I watch that movie? Is God even there?
Taking questions to God is more than OK; it is, at the very least, acknowledging that God is there, and at the most surrendering one’s own life to a Higher Power one question at a time. We are admitting “I don’t understand and I am looking for answers. I am willing to entertain the thought that there is a Sovereign God out there who wants to guide me with the big picture in mind.”
Wrestling with God may not conjure up a very lady like picture, but nonetheless I believe there are times when we need to kick off our high heels and tiaras, roll up our sleeves and wrestle with God. Christian author Jon Acuff talks about wrestling with God this way: “Most people think wrestling with God is a sin, they think it’s failure, but it’s not. Wrestling with God is a sign of intimacy, because you can’t wrestle with someone who is far away. You can only wrestle with someone who is up close and next to you.”
If you are currently wrestling with God asking who, what, when, where or why, hold on, keep going, endure. Jacob did not stop wrestling with God until he had received a blessing. Note that Jacob received a blessing, but not his own way. You’ll know when to stop wrestling; peace always comes when it’s time to step out of the ring and put the tiara back on.
If you need to begin a wrestling match with God, start now, no excuses, no exceptions, give it everything you’ve got and wrestle boldly. God will never leave you or forsake you. God is not puny, too busy or too small to hear all your problems. God says, ‘Throw all your cares on me. Give me your crises and your stuff ups. Give me your problems and your pain, because I care for you’ (1 Peter 5:7).
God is seated on the throne and is ultimately in control; He is always, always, always working toward good in our lives. Although we may have many questions for God while here on earth and our circumstances are difficult, everything on this earth is also temporary. Evil and darkness will eventually be destroyed forever. The signs that this ancient world is teetering on the brink of extinction are everywhere. There is a time coming in which there will be no more tears or pain because all things will be made new (Revelation 21:5). Picture this: Jesus sits on the edge of His throne, eagerly anticipating the moment He can leap up and dash to earth’s broken realm with the angelic choir shouting “It is finished!” Jesus is coming with nail scarred hands to banish all traces of trouble forever, including yours.
Dear God, I am in agony in the silence. I am wrestling, but I am tired. I am struggling to hold on while everything is overwhelmingly quiet; doubts keep crowding in. God, I don’t want to doubt, I so want to believe; there is a tiny part of me that believes, please help my unbelief. God if there is anything that is standing between you and I, anything that is contributing to the silence from my end, please bring it to my mind and remove it completely; help me to surrender totally to you. I so want to hear from you and feel your presence now. I invite you to break through this silence, Lord please be loud. If in your infinite, sacred wisdom you remain silent, I still choose you as my Savior every day of my life. You are God and I give you this silent, desert experience as an act of worship. Amen.