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Some of my stories are published in:
A Cup of Comfort Devotional for Mothers and Daughters (Adams Media, 2009)
Chicken Soup: What I Learned from the Dog (2009)
Love is a Flame (Bethany House, 2010)
Extraordinary answers to Prayer (Guideposts, 2010)
Love is a Verb (Bethany House, 2011)
Big Dreams from Small Spaces (Group Publishing, 2012)

Monday, February 1, 2010

I Am The Potter; God Is The Clay?

Genesis 1:26 says "Then God said, let Us make man in Our own image, in Our likeness."

When I was a little girl I won a painting (actually a photo of the painting) of Jesus for learning a set amount of Bible verses in Sunday School.
I hung the idealized illustration above my bed and gazed at it often. In this picture, Jesus is handsome, with kind brown eyes and a beard that's neither too Van Dyke, nor too Charles Manson.
That picture and my sporadic Sunday School lessons - mostly about Jesus and the little children and Zaccheus climbing the sycamore tree - formed my view of Jesus. Jesus loved little children and short men in trees.
The kindness of Jesus and the compassion of Jesus was enough to draw me to Him in faith a few years later. Kindness and compassion were the qualities I deemed necessary to forgive me of my sins and allow me to enter heaven when I die.

Forty years later, through study, through fellowship, through worship and prayer, through experiences in which God has revealed His character, I find that there are no human words to describe the indescribable. I worship Him, hoping to gain further glimpses into His nature. No box, no cubby-hole, no sanctuary, no pastor, or poet or theologian, no character trait, as conceived in our mortal minds, captures His essence.
But we try, nevertheless.
We say:
"My God is a loving God; He'd never (insert what we perceive as an unloving action). . . "
"Well, the God that I worship is (insert descriptive, defining word(s)).
"I could never believe that my God would say. . . (blah, blah, blah).
Note the focus on the "I" and the "my."

Slavery is God ordained.
Woman was created inferior.
Only organ music is acceptable for worship.
Organ music is old-fashioned.

With these beliefs have I made God according to my image in order to have no barrier to what I desire for myself?
So dangerous to try to define God. When we do so, it rains down on our human relationships.

Do I deceive myself, imagining that God is pleased because :
I wear a dress to church,
I don't wear a dress to church,
I march at anti-war rallies,
I march at rallies clamoring for more troops,
I sing only hymns in church,
I sing fresh, guitar-whaling, drum-pounding contemporary songs?

Do I surround myself with only those who are like me and who agree with my theology? Dangerous.
It's likely I'm making God according to my image.

Am I, today, seeking to know God's mind and heart?
Am I seeking to know God as He is, not merely the comfortable God I've always known, or simply as I wish Him to be?
Prayer: Dear Lord Jesus, help me to set aside any cherished ideas about you that do not come from You. Help me to seek You and love You with all my heart, soul, mind and strength. So be it.


  1. Good thought provoking post, Dena.
    I think much of the appeal of "The Shack," for example, was that it challenged our preconceived notions of God. (And it also got much criticism, too.)

  2. Learning who God really is is a painful process. He usually shakes our misconceptions loose with frustrations, challenges, and even loss. But there IS a real Him to know and understand. Good thoughts, Dena.

  3. Dena, Your title is so right on. Many Christians do try to form God into the image that they are comfortable with. One they can understand. We can know Him, His word shows us who He is, but He is God, and there are times when understanding Him is beyond our finite mind. That is okay with me, even though I may at times ask the Why question. When I don't get an answer it is okay because I know He knows where I am at and what is going on in my life.

  4. Thanks, Susan. "the Shack" was indeed a great challenge. I was surprised at how much flack it took, especially for portraying God as a woman, and black at that! Denise, so well said: it is painful but sweet letting go of our idol gods. Diane,so wonderful that God understands how finite we are. I suspect that even if He were to answer some of our questions we wouldn't even comprehend the explanation.