When I see the name “God,” I think: God the Father; not the Son, Jesus, or the Holy Spirit.
And my first reaction: sacred. holy. in charge. judgmental. a bit scary. way impersonal.
(I mean, I don’t think this should be surprising considering I’m a rule-following, list-doing Martha.)
I think of Jesus as the personal part of God: forgiver. friend. super personal.
So imagine my surprise when I read Genesis 6:5-8 this week (prompted by the church Bible study I am in, “Seamless” by Angie Smith): “The Lord saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And the Lord regretted that he made man on the earth, and it grieved him to his heart. So the Lord said, “I will blot out man whom I have created from the face of the land, man and animals and creeping things and birds of the heaven, for I am sorry that I have made them. But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.”
Uh, whoa. Did you read God’s deep regret in ever making us? (Obviously, considering I italicized it.) When I read this, I noticed God’s huge feelings. He was like the ultimate disappointed dad. He was so depressed about the whole thing that he said, “Forget it. I’ll just ‘blot out’ man.” As in, destroy, or wipe out.
But wait! Check out the last sentence of this verses: “But Noah found favor in the eyes of the Lord.” And then you might know the story of the flood and how only Noah’s family survived.
I think we all owe Noah a huge thank you for saving mankind. Seriously, Noah. You the man.
But the Noah conversation led to more deep thoughts among our group on a Tuesday night. And our video guide (Angie Smith) prompted us to consider: Why are we so surprised that God wouldn’t save everyone, and yet not surprised that He would choose to save me?
I think it’s because we feel entitled – surely I’m good enough, or I’m at least better than so-and-so or this group of people. (Truth time: When I think who about I’m “better than,” prisoners always come to mind first. Like because I’m not in a jail cell, I’m somehow more worthy than those who are. Whoa. Talk about getting your superiority complex in check. I am not better than anyone. We are equally loved by God, and all made in His image.) So we focus less on grace and the gift we’ve undeservedly received (salvation), and instead focus on justice. Cue me thinking about news stories of Christians judging others. I cannot even BELIEVE all the tweets from people applauding the killing of the Orland Pulse club – because victims were LGBT (the tweeters are really sick people and if some claim to be a follower of Jesus, they so do not get what it means to be His).
God the Father was the first person to save us; He created the world before He sent His Son to live and die in it. And God felt these deep feelings very early on of creation. I’m going to try to keep this story of God’s deep regret pre-flood in mind when I think of His characteristics. No one has ever seen God – but many saw Jesus. We don’t have any photos, but the most convincing image I believe exists is this one: drawn by a child at age 8, Akiane Kramarik and identified by Colton Burpo (Heaven is for Real kid). I’m looking forward to meeting God the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit one day in heaven. In the meantime, I’ll keep seeking out the personalness of this Trinity.