I’ve been noticing something about my relationship with God lately that has me seeing God somewhat differently. I realized some weeks ago that my main concept of God is as this wonderful Guide and Friend. He’s this great Guy, He’s got this plan for me, He’s available for guidance and direction, and I see Him working in my life in very concrete ways. He’s a helping Presence, a safe place to turn to.
Lately, however, it dawned on me that this concept leaves out some really major things. First, it leaves out God as my Creator, as the One Who actually brought me into being, Who caused me to exist and Who fixed my nature. It also leaves out God as the true Power in reality, the One with the final say about everything, the big Authority. Finally, it leaves out God as the One I abandoned in order to make and enter into this world. It leaves out the fact that my whole existence here is one big avoidance of the One I love above all else, yet also fear and avoid above all else.
In short, my main stance pretty much leaves out God as God. As I pondered this, I realize that as much as God means to me and as much as I rely on Him and feel cared for by Him, I must also fear Him. Why else would I systematically avoid the things I recounted above, things that speak of His Godhood, of His nature as the ultimate Authority?
In relating to God as Guide and Friend, I feel a bit like Arjuna in the Bhagavad Gita, who related to Krishna as a charioteer with wise and helpful advice, until at some point Krishna reveals his identity as the Supreme Being Himself, giving Arjuna an awe-inspiring vision of his infinite reality.
Since I realized this, I’ve been trying to think of God in these terms: as my Creator, as the ultimate Power and Authority, as the One I left, and as the One I’m avoiding by living in this world. As a result, I’m actually feeling some of that fear. It feels much safer to relate to God as Guide and Friend, a helpful player (albeit a major one) in a much larger picture. To relate to Him as God, as the Summit of everything, the One it’s all about—that feels a bit ominous and threatening.
This is not much of a surprise, of course. We all feel a certain amount of fear around authorities. I was doing a thought experiment the other day in which I imagined first having a meeting with my congressman, who then says I need to talk to my senator, who then ushers me into a meeting with the president, who then says I need to talk to the (hypothetical) president of the solar system, and then I go to the president of the galaxy, and so on, each time going up a level of authority. As expected, my anxiety level rose as I went up each level of authority.
It is striking me that the only real solution to this dilemma is to consciously unite the notion of ultimate authority and the notion of pure love and kindness. I am learning that God is pure love and kindness. Now I need to realize that He is also God. I need to see that at the summit of reality is totally safe authority. Imagine that, the ultimate Authority and the ultimate Safety as one and the same thing. If I can get that concept to sink in, I feel that can change not only how I relate to God, but how I relate to everything.