The Accidental Pharisee

Friday, May 2, 2008

God isn't safe--but he's good

"Then he isn't safe?" said Lucy.

"Safe?" said Mr. Beaver. "Don't you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about being safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the king, I tell you."

~ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe by C.S. Lewis

My husband and I finished watching The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe last night with our seven-year-old daughter. Before she could watch the movie, I read the story out loud to her at dinnertimes. That's a Vogt family rule: Read the book first, then watch the movie. Any book, any movie.

Reading Lewis' book and watching the movie makes me want to shake off my oh-so-safe dealings with God and let him be anything but safe in my life. I want to believe that God is good--and not at all safe. I want to embrace that in a way that says I can trust a God that big, that unfathomable. I want to be safe with a God who isn't safe--but is good.

And then I put the book back on the shelf. And I put the DVD back in its case.

And where does this oh-so-unsafe-but-oh-so-good God go?

I lose sight of him.

To use today's venacular, I downsize God. He's not safe. He's neutralized. He's ineffective. And he's not good. He's just ... okay. He's not a lion. He's a domesticated housecat.

Shame on me.

(And if my friend, Tiffany, is reading this post--bear with me for a moment. I need to feel the weight of this for just a moment. Then I'll take it to God and ask him to lift it off my shoulders.)

I wish I was brave enough to pray that God would show up in large, outlandish, living colors in my life. I wish I would open my arms wide and let God be God. Not who I think he is. Not who I'm comfortable with. Not what others tell me he has to be/must be/should be.

I'd like to experience the paradox of not safe and good.

I think you can only find those two opposites in God.

Thinking Out Loud: We Accidental Pharisees play it safe. We want to be good and we want God to be safe. We're limiting God--and thinking we can be more than we are.

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