The “I Can’t Believe in a God Who _________ Syndrome”

The “I Can’t Believe in a God Who _________ Syndrome” June 25, 2017

Moses and the Burning BushJesus Christ is the most amazing mystery in the world!

As we were reminded of yesterday, Jesus Christ is I AM, God Almighty Himself.  Just in case you missed it, He says it most clearly in 8:58.  The Jews still don’t understand Who HE IS, and so one last time (in this particular encounter) He says, “Most assuredly, I say to you, before Abraham was, I AM.”  This time, our English translations get it right.

Jesus Christ is I AM.

But the one who is I AM astounds us because He is also the Son and has come to us in the form of a man.  The One who is I AM and is worthy of all glory forever and ever comes to say that He doesn’t seek His own glory.  The One who is I AM comes to keep the word of the Father.  The One who is I AM comes, not to be put to death by stoning but to be put to death on the Cross.

This is the challenge and offense of Christ and Christianity, and it is twofold.  First, there is the offense to the mind of man.  A God who is omnipotent and squeezes into the form of a man?  A God who is worthy of all honor and glory and power and submits Himself to have to obey?

There is a syndrome I’ve diagnosed which I call “I Can’t Believe in a God Who _________ Syndrome.”  It’s a syndrome rather than a disease because like Chronic Fatigue Syndrome or Alzheimer’s, it’s really a collection of related afflictions.  There’s the I Can’t Believe in a God Who Condemn People to Hell disease; I Can’t Believe in a God Who Would Call ________ a Sin epidemic; the I Can’t Believe in a God Who Would Allow Suffering pestilence; and many others.

One of the more understandable ones is the “I Can’t Believe in a God Who Would Humble Himself plague.”  It’s more understandable because even those of us who have faith have a hard time comprehending such a wonderful and strange God who does not act like we would.  But it is still a sin to reject God as He reveals Himself to us.  The point is that I AM did come as a man and did come to die on the Cross for us.

This leads to the second way in which I AM is an offense to us.  If I AM comes to us this way, then in what way are we obligated to come to Him?  If I AM humbled Himself to become a mere human, then in what ways should we humans humble ourselves before Him?  If I AM humbled Himself to obey the will of the Father, then how much more should we obey the will of the Father?

I therefore experience a double humility before I AM today.  First, every time I come into His presence i am humbled precisely because He is I AM.  Whatever else you hear or sing about Jesus Christ and His immanental nature and the fact that He calls us brothers, don’t ever forget that He is also I AM.

Second, i am humbled because I AM would bother to become like me and that He would bother to learn obedience as a son.  Even the very fact that I exist and have faculties to be able to say that i am teaches me that there must be an I AM who created and loves me.  In one way, He didn’t have to do this: it was gratuitous, and it was for me.  On the other hand, because I AM is LOVE and the Giver of Every Good and Perfect Gift, I suppose that He really couldn’t help himself.  It’s like the way that I really can’t help myself when my little 2 year-old Gloria (or “Glorilei” or “Glola” as she calls herself) needs my help.  i am compelled by who i am and my love for her to serve her.

I suppose that is exactly the wonder of it all: that the God Who Is I AM is also LOVE, which is humility and service.  If I AM is Jesus Christ the Son who came to keep the Word of the Father, then my obligation is clear.  i am required to be like I AM.  I, too, am required to obey Him in love.  And in humbling myself before Him, in loving Him, and in obeying, i am made one with I AM.

Prayer:  I give thanks to You, O Lord, the great I AM, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost, for the redemption of the world by the death and passion of our Savior Christ, both God and man; who humbled himself, even to the death upon the Cross, for us, miserable sinners, who lay in darkness and the shadow of death; that He might make us the children of God, and exalt us to everlasting life.  To Jesus Christ, therefore, with the Father and the Holy Ghost, I will give continual thanks; submitting myself wholly to His holy will and pleasure, and studying to serve Him in true holiness and righteousness all the days of my life. Amen. 

Points for Meditation:

  1. Take some time to express your wonder and thanks to I AM who humbled Himself for you.
  2. What does the humility of Jesus Christ teach you about your own humility and obedience?

Resolve:  I resolve to humble myself before I AM today and to ask of Him what is the one thing He most wants me to do today. 


Moses and the Burning Bush – U.S. Public Domain

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