A Curious Father
My father observed the things around him and he wondered about them.
“Look at that bird. How long do you reckon he’s going to stay? I haven’t seen one like him around here.”
“Why do you suppose that woman has such a long neck? No one else in her family does.”
“Look at how alive Lawrence Welk looks on the tv. How do they do that? You know Lawrence is dead.”
When he would ask these questions, I usually said, with some degree of frustration, “Daddy, I don’t know!”
He would just chuckle and say, “Why don’t you know? Don’t you have any curiosity?”
I didn’t realize it then, but Daddy was giving me a Gift. He was giving me the Gift of Curiosity … the gift of questioning things, seeing beyond the surface, looking at life from a different angle.
Daddy also gave me the gift of a great relationship with him. I felt I could ask him anything. He freely admitted he didn’t know everything. When he didn’t have an instant answer, he would say, “Let’s think about that together and see if we can figure it out.” Our “not knowing” was not a wall. It was a bridge and we walked it together.
Most often, he would say, “I don’t think we are ever going to figure that one out. Let’s ask God.” And we would pray together, wherever we were. I remember riding in his wheelbarrow full of leaves, praying about why those beautiful leaves of all colors had turned brown and fallen off the tree. Daddy got the answer first. He smiled.
“It’s God’s Way. We all turn loose when it is time.”
Daddy gave me the gift that would keep giving long after he was promoted to heaven. He let me know that it was ok to ask God anything, and He would not mind my questions.
If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God,
who gives generously to all without finding fault,
and it will be given to you.
Too Many Answers
The more I grew, the more questions I had. I asked God. He didn’t seem mad. But often I looked to other people to answer for Him. If I asked Him and did not detect an instant answer, I came to the conclusion that God would answer through a minister, a good book or on the internet. I never waited very long to see if God would speak directly to me.
I found plenty of people who believed they knew the True Way. They had searched and found and it was settled in their minds. They often did not welcome questions that introduced any doubt. They didn’t have time for questions. They were busy defending what they thought they already knew!
Lying Down, Not in Green Pastures, but on Green Sheets
In the midst of my search for Truth, I developed a major eye problem. After surgery, I had to lie in bed, with my face down for a week. No tv. No visitors. Nothing distracting. Just rest and more rest and endless hours of studying the sheets. I prayed a lot. I had endless questions about why this had happened to me.
Finally I ran out of questions. I had no answers. In the quiet, I felt God’s Presence. However, the experience was very Job like. I had come at God over and over again with my questions, most of which were focused on me. God allowed me to put them all out there. But then He had some questions for me.
If you want the full flavor of what it is like when God speaks, read His Response to Job in Job, Chapters 38-42. God does let us question Him. But it is a two way street. He then gets to question us.
After Job heard God’s Questions, he realized how small he was in comparison to the Great God he had questioned. Job repented and said in humility,
My ears had heard of you
but now my eyes have seen you …
I had nothing to offer God to “pay” for healing. It turned out He did not want “payment.” He wanted me to know Who He was.
I repented. I told God everything about my past and my present and my fears about the future.
I heard just two words from Him. They were not Words of condemnation. They were Words of Assurance.
How did He know? He had been there! He was with me at that time. He would be with me in the future.
When I got up from my bed, I did so with a new knowledge that He was indeed with me always. I also now knew He was willing to talk directly to me.
The Day The Earth Shook!
God knew and He shared a lot with me. But I never reached the point where I felt I knew all there was to know about God. He allowed me to feel confident “swimming in the shallow water,” so to speak. But then He allowed the wondering to start again. He always called me to the “deeper waters.”
The big questions started for me during one Easter season. I realized I was avoiding the Easter pageants. I was tired of the drama. I hated the parts about the crucifixion. It pained me to think of people treating The Lord I loved in such brutal ways.
In the midst of a particular gory Easter play, I looked away and realized with horror that the drama had seemed to bring out a kind of sadomasochism in some of those watching. They seemed thrilled at the acting out of the torture of the crucifixion, either enjoying vicariously cracking the whip or somehow feeling vindicated in being the one whipped. In contrast, they seemed bored with the resurrection.
I began to be disturbed that God was being portrayed as an abusive, angry parent, Who sent His Only Son to do a very dirty job and then turned His Back on Him while He was doing it. Not only that, but the way the story was being told, it appeared that what happened to Jesus was exactly what God would do to us because of our sinful ways.
If God would do something like that to His Own Son, Who was sinless, how much more would He do to us, who were sinful? I shuttered. People talked of how grateful they were that Jesus “took a beating” from God for them and then died in their place. I realized that guilt, shame, and fear were at the center of their beliefs about salvation. Where was The Love of God?
For The Love of God!
I realized I had stopped listening to the Easter Story long ago. All the pieces and parts of the “old, old story” were there. So I zoned out and accepted the comfort of tradition. Jesus addressed that pitfall.
Thus you nullify the Word of God by your tradition,
that you have handed down.
And you do many things like that.
After being shaken by the very graphic crucifixion scene, I said to God, “This can’t be right. If you are the God of Love …” He stopped me with two words.
I finished my sentence, “then they’ve got the story all wrong.” Again, I heard just two words, the same two words I had heard before.
Ask A Christian!
Even though I had been a Christian all my life, the questions I was considering now were so large, I felt as if I did not know anything. I decided to start all over again, as if I were brand new to Christianity. Tradition had been exposed as fragile. I now wanted to know the real Truth.
I began by asking myself the questions that were overflowing from my mind. What did I believe? I then questioned my husband over and over again to find out what he really believed. I asked family and friends what they believed. If our beliefs were valid, then we should be able to firmly stand on them.
But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord.
Always be prepared to give an answer
to everyone who asks you
to give the reason for the hope that you have.
But do this with gentleness and respect.
1 Peter 3:15
I wanted to understand the phrases I had heard all my life. If they were good, solid descriptors of the “hope we have,” then I wanted answers that would explain those phrases.
What exactly was sin? Were some sins worse than others? What about the “unforgivable sin?” What did Jesus mean when He said if we do not forgive others, we won’t be forgiven?
What did it mean to be “saved?” Saved from what? Was being saved a one time event or an ongoing one? Did “saved” just refer to being saved from hell in the future or did it mean being saved from something on earth?
Shouldn’t we be concerned about everyone in the world being saved instead of thinking of ways to take them off the earth before they are saved?
Where was this place called heaven? Most people described it as “up there,” gesturing toward the clouds.
Did everyone go there? I was told Christians went there. Others did not. Yet it seemed that no matter who died, everyone said they were in heaven. I never heard of any funeral, where the dearly departed was described as being in hell.
What about hell? Was it real? Did anyone ever get a second chance to get out? Was God there or was it under the rule of satan?
What about the cross? Why would God choose such a horrible way of giving a message? Was the cross really a picture of what God wanted to do to us for our sinful ways? Did He really forsake Jesus, after sending Him on the mission?
And then there was that business of Who was where when? I couldn’t keep up with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Even when I tried to talk about them, I would catch myself saying, “God said” when it was really “Jesus said.” And the Holy Spirit was in that puzzle too. People claimed to be led by the Holy Spirit to do things, and yet what they were led to do didn’t seem to line up with Jesus or God at all.
The phrase “born again” has been used for years to describe Christians. What did it really mean? Did God have a message that went further than just getting a fresh start in life? Did it have something to do with how we are born the first time?
Ask The One Who Knows!
As I continued to search, my earthly father’s wisdom of “Ask God” connected with my heavenly Father’s Words of “I AM” and “I KNOW.” I can relate to ET, that little movie extraterrestrial, who very excitedly got the message, “Phone Home!!!”
I told my husband I really thought I was on to something. The “old, old story” the way I had always understood it might be wrong. I told him I wanted to know The Truth. I was both excited and nervous.
What if I found that the Truth was different from what most other people believed? What then? Would I end up as a very unpopular missionary among my own people? Would they believe I was bound for hell because I questioned?
My husband said quietly, “We will pray. Write what you hear from God. Don’t depend upon any literary skill or opinions from others. Quote God’s Word and just let The Word speak for Himself.”
I sat down at the computer. I waited. I said to God, “I want to know The Truth.” I heard two words.
And So It Began …
For the past six months, both my husband and I immersed ourselves in prayer and study of God’s Word. Sometimes God spoke right out of the stories of the Bible, as I had always heard them. He verified that Truths I had learned from my childhood were solid.
Other times He showed me that I had misunderstood His Message. I had read His Word, but I had misunderstood what He meant by it. Just as my father had done long ago, God prompted me to look again and let Him show me a different view.
Sometimes God indulged my love of story writing by giving me new stories, fresh from HIm. He allowed me to explore what could have happened. I think He smiled as I said, “Perhaps it could have happened this way.” He reassured me that what was important was His Message.
What Was The Message?
The One, indeed, is Ultimate Love and Light. There is no darkness in Him at all. He created us and put One Very Important Design Feature in each of us … His Plan to bring Heaven to Earth!
God, Jesus and The Holy Spirit are One, together from the beginning, now and ever shall be. They are One in us and through every one of God’s Creations.
God, Jesus and The Holy Spirit speak throughout the Bible with the same Unified Message, never contradicting each other. They speak across time with no barriers. Truth revealed to one generation is Truth for every generation.
Different writers of the Bible wrote at different times and yet their message was the same. You can put the writings of David the Psalmist next to the writings of Paul and find passages that are almost identical.
We are never alone. The One is with us always, by His Design and by His Desire to be connected with us.
If you would like to join us in seeing the world from a new fantastic view, I invite you to read the book,
If You Only Knew … Who I AM!
It is the Gift God gave my husband and me on our journey of discovery.
You will find some of your beliefs confirmed. Some of your beliefs may be challenged. If you find yourself saying, “Did God really mean that?”, I will be delighted. My hope is that my words simply point you to God’s Words. You can talk directly with Him. Listen! He will talk back by entering your thoughts.
The book is now available in Ebook format through Apple IBooks, Kindle and Nook. It is available in paperback from Xulon Press. It will be available through bookstores in a few weeks.
You can also order directly from me. Ordering information will be available through a web page soon.
God’s Interesting Wink!
I chose a cover of two children, who are looking into the stars in the heavens and find one star with a message. I didn’t discover another message until the book went to press, but now it will always be a special treasure to me.
The little boy who is pointing to the star is blond. The little girl is a brunette. My father was blond. I am a brunette. Thanks to both of my fathers (Daddy and God) for the Life and for the creative hello!