“If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.” C.S. Lewis, British author
It wasn’t a game of stump the teacher. The kid — eight years old and messy haired — looked at me in all sincerity and asked, “Why does God matter?”
Used to years of teaching church kids — who tend to answer any Sunday School question with “Jesus,” even if it’s about Elijah or manna — I was flummoxed. I said something about God as creator and judge. It was theologically correct, but in no way satisfied her curiosity. Nor mine.
That question — why does God matter — has been floating around my brain for the last seven years. It shows up in my speech, my actions, my writing. It, in fact, has changed the way I look at all things church.
Which is a good thing — as there’s not a whole lot of “church” left in this world. There is, instead, a vague spirituality that ranges from blatant hypocrisy at its worst to an open curiosity like that little girl’s at best. That latter spirituality — often found in younger people who grew up completely outside of the church world — is disarming. And charming.
It reminds me of God and Moses, meeting nearly face to face on a mountain. They were already acquainted, but Moses wanted to know more. God responded, in person. And, fascinatingly, He literally walked by Moses, both naming and describing Himself as He passed. “Merciful.” “Gracious.” “Longsuffering.” “Abundant in goodness and truth.”
Why does God matter? I suspect that mountaintop encounter probably holds the answer. We only figure out why God matters — and how much — as we get to know Him. And, we only get to know Him bit by bit — the same way He unfolded facets of Himself on that mountain.
Those descriptor names — merciful, gracious — are critical. As are the many names of Jesus, whom church folks all over the world are celebrating this season. Morning Star, Mighty God, Prince of Peace, Man of Sorrows. It’s true. The who of God the Father and God the Son drive the why.
So, if you are among the curious, you may enjoy visiting my Fresh Mercy blog on Facebook/NoraEdingerBooks (which can also be viewed on this site by scrolling lower on the page) over the next few weeks. Beginning with today’s Bright and Morning Star, bite-sized weekday posts will focus on the who of God.
Stop by. Hear His names. Take in those names. And, don’t be surprised if you suddenly know the answer to that little girl’s question for yourself. Christmas blessings!