Maybe God is a Little More Human than We Think
by Mike Baughman
Old Testament Reading: Micah 6:1-8
For Sunday, January 30, 2011: Year A – Epiphany 4
“I don’t know, Mike,” Kellie confided to me on the phone, “I just feel like he doesn’t care about me. I mean, he says that he loves me but he doesn’t really do the stuff he says he’s going to do for me and he just doesn’t treat me all that well.” Before I can say anything, she asks the question I knew was coming:
“What am I doing wrong?”
Of course, she wasn’t doing anything wrong. She was like so many other teenagers and parents of teens with whom I’ve had nearly the exact same conversation. She reminded herself of all the good things she’s done for her boyfriend only to see a negative result.
She was insecure—which naturally happens when someone we adore mistreats us (whether it’s a boy/girlfriend, spouse, child or friend). Because he treated her poorly, she assumed it was her fault. It couldn’t be his fault…he’s amazing! That’s why she loves him!
Our Adolescent God
I don’t want to say that God is just like an insecure teenager or an awkward parent, lacking self-confidence –but I’m going to. In this week’s scripture, God comes across like an insecure teenager or an awkward parent, lacking self-confidence. “O my people,” wails God, “what have I done to you?”
I think we tend to assume that God has the strong voice, but what if something deeper is happening? What if God’s words aren’t meant to convict the people and are instead meant to reveal the depth of God’s pain?
What if God’s words in Micah 6:3 reflect an honest plea for answers? What if God is pleading with creation like a parent desperate for the affection of a heroin-addicted child? Like a good parent, God can’t help but see good memories in the child’s eyes—no matter how narrowed the pupils have become.
All parents see their children with rose-colored glasses most of the time. We see the best because that’s what good parents do. I wonder if God is like that. God remembers what it was like when things we’re good—night time strolls, star-gazing with Abraham, wrestling with Jacob, the sound of Miriam’s song, the roar of pride from the Israelites in the time of the judges, the joy of David as he danced. The good memories of our kids are the strongest. When all we see is the best in someone, it is easy assume that we’re the ones doing something wrong when the one we love treats us poorly.
The Hardest Question
What if God doubts the divine self and actually believes that God could have done a better job drawing love out of creation? What if God get desperate for affection and longs for love? What if we have the power to hurt God’s feelings? What if the imago dei can be seen in our insecurities as well as our confidence?
What if God is a little more human than we think?
The Rev. Mike Baughman is a United Methodist pastor, pastor’s husband, blogger, writer, dad, fencing coach and Duke Basketball fan. He serves as Associate Pastor for Young Adults at Custer Road United Methodist Church in Plano, TX. He wishes he was an avid golfer so that he’d come across as a bit more self-critical in this THQ. He has plenty of frivolous hobbies that don’t require him to wear funny pants or spikey shoes. His blog can be found at www.ireverant.wordpress.com and can be followed on Twitter @ireverant. [THQEditorial Note: Check out Mike's funny pants at http://www.facebook.com/thehardestquestion. We couldn't resist.]