This morning in a study I saw an interesting question, posed by someone decidedly ill-informed and yet she holds an opinion many people, even some true believers may harbor. Why is Jesus so nice and God is so mean? She pointed to times of judgement from the Old Testament as examples of God’s meanness. I tried to explain that God is perfectly righteous and always does just what He says, but this seemed to do little to assuage the misconception. Then this afternoon I saw a really good illustration lived out in real life.
I opened the garage door with the electric opener with intent of getting in my van which was parked outside. Of course, as usual, I had my hands full. Out of the corner of my eye, I noticed movement along the floor against the wall. I looked over just in time to see the most beautiful Leopard Frog had hopped into the garage. Now I know the weather is getting colder and with very little options for water and no food to speak of, I knew the little guy would be dead by the next time I came back. I tried to chase him out the door, but his fear made him double back into the garage. Now even though I am dressed for church, I am in full on frog catching mode. I lunged for the frog who preceded to empty his bladder on my hand and evaded my reach. Finally I caught him (more urine I guess a frog’s bladder holds more than I thought), and put him outside.
What does this frog story have to do with God? I’ll tell you. My efforts were 100% benevolent. I only wanted the best for this frog. Staying where he wanted to be would have meant eminent death, but he could not have understood that. To him, I was a giant threat. I was mean, to be feared, etc. Now he is free and able to do the things that will allow him to survive the winter. I wasn’t trying to harm him, I was trying to save Him and so it is with God. Did God pronounce judgment? Yes. Did God allow people to perish? Yes because of the choices they made. Did God do anything unrighteousness? NO, He did everything He did from the beginning of time and He did it for the sole purpose of rescuing humanity from themselves. Idolatry is disastrous because it allows us to place our faith join things that can do nothing to rescue us or save us. They might give pleasure for a little while as we walk through the world with a false sense of security, but eventually we will be lost forever. God is ultimately benevolent. He gave us Jesus to prove it. He only looks mean when we don’t understand what He is doing.
God’s not mean, He’s coming to the rescue.