“And the angel said to them, ‘Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.'” Luke 2:10
When I was a boy, I had an image in my mind of God that was built around the ideas of his power and his greatness. He was a distant person who was busy tending the mechanics of the universe or the trajectory of nations. He was big. I was small. He was loving, but in a miffed kind of way, because we, as people, had really screwed up his plans for the perfect and beautiful world that took him six whole days to build. If anything, he was reluctant with his attention: when I would seek his help, I was an interruption. He wasn’t smiling.
Though the Scripture taught otherwise, I carried this image into my adulthood, where it started to cause problems. I prayed less, because I thought that God didn’t really want to hear from me. I read the bible less, because I was tired of being reminded how disappointing I was to my creator. I began to strive to get his approval by working to be perfect. “If I could just get it right, God will care.” Combine that with the idea that God expects more than I could deliver, and I had a great recipe for a fearful and unhappy faith: a lot of really bad news.
But God, the true God, not the one I painted in my childhood, broke through that nonsense and showed me the Good News-a new and happy truth: He is FOR me. His desire is to be WITH me, to encourage, guide and teach me. His never-ending life redeems me. The work to make me enough for Him is all His, and He has done it. I stand today perfect in His sight. His happiness and fulfillment in life are great and abundant gifts. He is hilariously happy for me to enjoy these as soon as possible. He is a joyful, happy, welcoming and ever-present Father. Really, really good news.
Some days, because I lived with it for so long, I read and believe the familiar, bad news that God is mad at me. It is a regular challenge to read and believe the Good News, that God is for me, and I am learning the daily discipline of holding before my mind the reminders of the way life truly works.
What news are you trusting in today?
“For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.” John 3:17