Someone said today, “God is still God, even in bad times.”
I’ve heard it many times before but this time it got me thinking.
Is time ‘bad’ sometimes and ‘good’ other times?
Or is time neutral?
Does time have feelings? a personal agenda?
Time is not a person, … is it?
Our nursery rhymes speak of “Father Time.”
I may be wrong, but I struggle to personify time. Do you?
Time can seem ‘bad’ or ‘good’ to us. We all go through these periods. I know I do.
But what is the basis for this perception in us?
At times time can seem to cut across what we believe to be actually warranted.
‘Good’ times can come when we are not so ‘good’ ourselves, and ‘bad’ times can come when we really have been ‘good.’
Even after having done all we could do under the circumstances.
I think time is neutral, it will just go on regardless, even if we know and understand it or not.
The statement “God is God” tries to assure us that God is constant, never changing.
We believe this and the scriptural texts declare this.
This is intended to bring us security, but what of the times when we feel that things are not going so well?
What is God then?
Perhaps on another level it comforts us to believe that God is constant.
Perhaps we need to have this as a reality? Perhaps we need it for our sanity.
If God isn’t constant we’d be in all types of trouble.
Like gravity which can seem to really suck sometimes, but if it changed every so often we’d all be in deep trouble.
So we eagerly tend to believe God is totally constant. It’s reasonable to think this (perhaps unreasonably so?)
And what of when God appears inconsistent – at least according to us in any given situation?
Can this indirectly point a finger our way suggesting that if God is always constant, always ‘good’ and then at the same time things are not going ‘good’ for us … that maybe it’s us who are going bad?
Now that’s not what we want to hear is it?
We have a belief in God.
Does God have a belief in us?
In our religious culture no one likes to be seen as not having faith.
After all, we call ourselves ‘believers.’
It’s usually most unacceptable to admit that we don’t believe.
It’s almost as if this acknowledgement will send irreparable waves of rippling destruction throughout our universe.
But is it reasonable to think like this?
Jesus was not rejecting of the plea of one person who said to him, “I believe, help me in my unbelief.”
We don’t (even can’t perhaps) know all the details cognitively, but we can still know.
Can we also not believe all things but still believe? Don’t we do that anyway?
Perhaps, like someone we really love – we can never know everything about them but we can know that we love them.
Perhaps the same can be said about God, our relationship to him and his relationship to us?
So, what about God?
It seems clear from the texts and even a fairly general understanding of things pertaining to God that God has offered us grace, love, acceptance, peace, etc. But do we really even understand what these are?
Do we have much idea about the ‘seasons’ of God, the ‘timing’ of God? the ‘workings’ of God?
For many of us God can appear “bad” to us at times.
Could this be seen in the same way as the way time has been described above?
When God seems ‘against’ us, is he? is he then “bad”?
Or as the statement said, is he simply himself, Mr Consistency – not restricted or trapped into any box. Not eventhe box of our own personal or collective human understanding of him (our ‘theology’).
God’s clearly not like us.
We seem to change all the time – ‘hot’ one day and ‘cold’ the next? …
Perhaps God is also “neutral” – not unfeeling nor intentionally distant … not intentionally ‘for’ nor ‘against’ anyone?
Even the ancient texts declare that God is spirit, not a man that he should lie, etc.
Maybe God is not even a person at all?
In some ways we are like God but is God at all like we are?
Maybe we find ourselves in ‘bad’ times when we are not ‘flowing’ with time properly?
Maybe things start rubbing the wrong way when we are not seeing or fully understanding what’s really happening?
Maybe we cannot see events from the past converging in on the future and disrupting our present?
Could our feelings and understanding about God be similar?
What do you think?