The following guest post is from SilverRain, a frequent M* commenter. SilverRain blogs at rainscamedown.blogspot.com.
There is something in each of us that wants things to be neat and tidy. If we are righteous, we will get blessings. If we are wicked, we will be punished. Therefore, if good things happen, it’s because we were righteous. If bad things happen, we must have been wicked.
As humans, we continually recreate God in our own image. If we don’t believe in polygamy, or male-centric priesthood, we don’t believe that God supports those things, either. If we feel that modesty doesn’t have to mean covering the shoulders, we believe God doesn’t care whether or not we cover our shoulders. If we feel that our tithing money would be better spent with a local charity, we have a tendency to believe that God wants us to spend it where it can make the most difference.
By doing this, either we focus so much on the details that we miss the principle, or we fancy that if we understand the principle, the details are unnecessary.
If you were to take any principle of the gospel in scripture, say something relatively uncontested like tithing, you would see a blessing attached. If you pay your tithing, the windows of heaven will open and pour you out an ample blessing. And when we teach this principle, we testify of jobs not lost, of unexpected windfalls, of financial security. But this becomes a problem when we look around us and see that not ALL who pay tithing are safe from financial hardship, not all who are faithful avoid life-changing destruction, not all who believe and follow the law obtain the blessing.
Our God is not a tame God.
And, seeing that God is not tame, that we can’t expect to get a predictable result for our efforts, we often give up altogether. Why bother with a God who does not perform according to expectation?
Not long ago, I was caught in a definite level of despair. I have certain specific promises from God of which I have proved myself unworthy. Faced with my failure, I struggled with my faith—not that His promises were good—but that I could ever be someone worthy to receive them. I didn’t want to be hopeless, but I was struggling on a daily basis, trying to cope with the darkness in which I found myself, and with my fault in being there. And the only answer I kept getting from the Lord was to “be still.”
One particular night not long ago, I simply broke down and cried on His shoulder. I laid all of my feelings out for Him, how I didn’t want to lose hope, but that I felt it was too late for me, that the black marks against me which I could not change made me unable to receive His blessings.
Not long after this prayer, something happened which let me see that the possibility of receiving His blessings were real, even for me. He clearly and emphatically did not grant me the realization of the blessings. But He was kind enough to show me that it was possible.
God is not a tame God. He does not perform according to expectations. But I know even more deeply now that He loves us, and will bless us at a time and in a way that is ultimately best for us. When we follow the guidelines which have been set out for us by our Church leadership, when we gain our own personal conviction of their purpose, we attempt to recreate ourselves in the image of God. It is not about following rules to get blessings. It is about following rules to gain understanding of the principles behind them. Specific blessings may not be attached to faithfulness, but general blessings of increased knowledge of our Heavenly Father and His Plan, of a deeper and more meaningful relationship with Him, always come.
Having had a tiny glimpse of Him, I find myself finally at peace. I don’t need a tame God, only a wise and loving one.