When I was in my early teens, I graduated to the teen boys Sunday School class. We met at the back right hand corner of the sanctuary with the adult Bible class at the front middle. Our teacher was a great guy who was willing to show up every week to teach this group of teen ages boys, some of whom were only there because they were forced to be there by parents.
Needless to say, that class wasn’t the most attentive and focused. The teacher was patient and loving and everything that the teacher of a class like that should be. I was a relatively new Christian at that point and while I wasn’t yet aware of God’s call, I was beginning to realize that my faith was calling for more of me that I had originally thought.
So, one hot, sunny Sunday morning, a couple of the students in the class were really disruptive and difficult. They talked all through class, had a fight during the prayer, laughed when the teacher asked them to calm down and were generally typical teen aged boys cooped up in a stuffy sanctuary on a beautiful day. The teacher worked hard that day, trying to teach us a lesson and keep these two on line.
In my mind, I was planning on helping him. These two were being totally disruptive and even more, being disrespectful to the God I was just beginning to understand and follow. It appeared to me that both the teacher and God needed my help on this one. So, as the teacher struggled to teach the lesson, I was making plans to take care of things. Some of the plans included getting the two of them alone and physically making sure they knew not to mess with the teacher or God anymore.
Fortunately, I never carried out the plans. Unfortunately, I still am prone to the thought that God needs my help to straighten situations and people out. I see things that aren’t right and begin to think that God needs a little bit of help–or a lot of help–on this one. And as I look around, I realize that I am not alone on that. Lots of people in lots of situations think and act as if God needs some help to accomplish his will.
The help we think God needs can be anything from a severe tongue lashing of the offender to excommunication to actual physical violence. We feel that somehow, we need to defend God and protect him and the faith that he calls us to. Protecting God is really doing God’s will, isn’t it?
The truth, I have discovered, is somewhat different. In the end, a God who needs my protection isn’t much of a God. A God I have to defend probably isn’t worth the effort of defending. A God who can’t accomplish his purpose unless I take independent action really doesn’t have much going for him.
My desire to protect, defend and help God out comes from my desire to have God become an extension of me. The God I feel the need to protect, defend and help is a god who wants what I want, does what I think should be done and does it in the way I think it should be done.
But I am not God, which is fortunate for me, God and the rest of the world. Rather than needing me to defend him, God calls me to become like him. Rather than me protecting God, he wants me to learn how to surrender to him and follow him. God doesn’t need me to defend him–he wants to show me his love and grace and wants me to be with him.
God is in control and doesn’t need my help. He does invite me to take an active role in doing his will and work, not because he needs me but because he loves me and wants me to have the blessing of being involved. Being God, he is capable of doing all that he wants and needs done on his own but chooses to allow me and the rest of us the privilege of being part of his process. But it is his process and his direction and his way.
I have discovered that when I stop trying to defend God, I have an easier time being with God and taking part in his real work.
May the peace of God be with you.