We’re all guilty of doing it.
It’s easy to reduce God to a magic eight ball.
As we approach crossroads in life, we remember, “Oh yeah, I’ve got God.” So we ask our question, shake really hard, and optimistically turn our magic 8 ball over.
Don’t reduce God to a computational machine.
But you may say, “What about knowing God’s will for me? What about knowing what I’m supposed to do? What school to go to? Who to marry?” These are all legitimate concerns no doubt. But they are not all there is to God.
I’m afraid that for many God has become the divine, cosmic version of Google? Or just a more polished and sophisticated Siri?
Early in our Christian life it’s quite natural to be like this. And since God is gracious and cares for us, we receive answers.
But the problem is we become preoccupied with knowing. We become preoccupied with doing. We want to know someTHING more than know the someONE living inside us. This becomes an issue to God, because He is preoccupied with dispensing Himself into us, mingling with us, and being expressed through us, not just answering all queries, erasing all ambiguities, or solving all problems.
This comes back to God’s purpose. God’s will for God’s life. Missio Dei.
God is out to get something for Himself, not just be the all-powerful, all-knowing, benevolent, personal assistant.
God has anointed Christ to accomplish His eternal purpose. I think it would be understatement even to say this is a monumental task. The title Christ means “the anointed One.” Christ then is the anointing One to us because we become joined to Him and share in His anointing (2 Corinthians 1:21, Hebrews 1:9). Thus we share in the commission to accomplish God’s economy- missiones ecclesiae. Ultimately, Christ as the Spirit within us becomes the anointing itself.
And as for you, the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you have no need that anyone teach you; but as His anointing teaches you concerning all things and is true and is not a lie, and even as it has taught you, abide in Him.
-1 John 2:27
This brings us full circle. The anointing teaches us. Say we want to know something practical about what we should do, where we should go, how our life fits in with the grand design of God’s will. No one in this boat right?
Well, sometimes God temporarily doesn’t respond to our requests for information (aka prayers) because He wants to have an opportunity to “paint” us with the anointing. God teaches us most often not by “saying” green but by “painting” green within us. This requires us to spend time with the Painter so that He can paint His thought, feeling, and intent into us. The more time we spend with Him under the anointing, the more we will be clear about “all things.”
Otherwise, why didn’t God give all the answers in the Bible? Number 1) it would produce an unwieldy Bible that no one would lug around. Number 2) He withholds information so that we would spend time with Him to experience the anointing.
In the end, the primary concern God has is not whether or not we make mistakes or misinterpret inner feelings concerning the practical side of God’s will in our life. He is concerned about how much paint, aka God, we have received.
The test of everything with us will be: How much of God really came in by our having been here? …How much of it results in more of God- not more of knowledge, not more of mental apprehension, but how much more of God.
We shouldn’t view our life as a Choose Your Own Adventure book where the goal is just to endlessly flip to the correct page. And we shouldn’t view God as the all knowing answer orb. God’s purpose is to become one with man, not just in an abstract theological way, but actually, in real situations.
So sometimes God leaves the problem, predicament, or perplexity just so we need Him and He has an opportunity to paint us a little more with God.