The Nature of God – Part 3
[If you are just now stumbling onto this post without having read the various parts in this series from the beginning, I strongly urge you to go back to the start and continue on from there through each successive post. None of these individual entries stand on their own, and you may wind up with little but confusion and unanswered questions by starting here. That is easily done by entering “The Nature of God” in the search box on the home page, which will list links to all available parts.]
I’ve always tended to go along on my merry way, oblivious to what’s going on around me. Just call me One-Track Charlie. I made it to high school without any more incursions into the ethereal realm. On the whole, I didn’t really like high school much. It had its good points here and there, but with my people skills ranking in the single digits, a lot of it was confusing and frustrating. It was disturbingly similar to church. All I was trying to do was to get through it. That is, until one day. I didn’t think about it as some kind of encounter revealing the basic nature of the Supreme Being, but did learn a valuable lesson that stuck with me.
I can’t recall the details of why I was so upset one particular day, but I do remember that I was very resentful of some teacher whom I felt was arbitrary and unfair. Naturally, I was powerless to do anything about it, and as I angrily obsessed about it on the way home, I took a precious moment to mentally call down whatever powers there might be to rain down accursed calamities on this usurper of justice and right. Since God existed and was powerful, some kind of unseen spiritual realm existed, and it could do this kind of thing, no? I’d seen TV shows and movies. There were other, darker powers too, according to those, but I knew God existed for sure. I’d never read the Bible, but suspected that this kind of thing could be right up his alley, and I let fly. I appealed to the God of Vengeance I’d heard about.
From that point on, my angry curse took full effect, and one thing after another began to go seriously wrong… for me! I was surprised, and the barrage of calamity was so weirdly consistent and intense that it didn’t take me very long at all to realize something in alarm. Backfire! All I knew was that God existed, and God apparently did not want me to call down punishment on people and wish them ill. He had steered my curse right around and back at me before it ever got anywhere. There was no collateral damage, either. The sensation that I felt was that I was intruding into his authority – yet somehow a space contrary to Him. The destructive force of hatred was not just off limits, but was not of Him. It was to be foreign to me. He would have no part of it, and for some reason singled me out as not being able to have any part of it, either. Shaken, I gracefully acquiesced, apologizing and taking back that curse, pronto. End of calamities, similar to turning off a faucet. Totally weird, and sobering.
As I say, I didn’t analyze this at the time and consciously assign it to a description of God’s character. All I knew was that it was not for me, because it seemed to be not of Him, either. Maybe others could get away with it, but not me. I didn’t know why not, but that seemed like a moot point. This is about where I started capitalizing the “H” in “He” and “Him”. I began to get just an inkling of His power and authority, as well as His unexpected values. It’s a respect thing. All I wanted was justice, but something about my desire for it was horribly askew. What I got was justice, but not as I’d envisioned it.
It’s probably a handy detail that I still hadn’t read the Bible, and wouldn’t until many years later. After all, the Old Testament might have appeared to contradict what I’d just experienced, wouldn’t it? I knew of a few of the salient parts – after all, I had seen the Hollywood movie The Ten Commandments – which had motivated my own little pronouncement of fire and brimstone. All that anger and annihilation and mayhem was pretty confusing in terms of who I thought was choosing to interact with me here, and I was far too immature to sort that kind of thing out. All I knew was what I knew so far, with one addition: God exists, can hear us, can take action – and is distinctly unlike us in our human foibles and ways of thinking. If nothing else, it made me wonder – who is this God?