A conversation I have had with God: Now I have you where I want you - but where exactly might that be? Under my thumb, so I can squash every idea you have? No. Under my feet, so I can walk all over you? No. Under my interrogating eye, so I can critically scrutinize your every move? No. So, where is it you have me, God? Right here - next to my heart - so you can understand my hopes for you, feel my heartbeat in unison with yours, and draw from my grace whenever you need it.
Now God has us where he wants us, with all the time in this world and the next to shower grace and kindness upon us in Christ Jesus. Saving is all his idea, and all his work. All we do is trust him enough to let him do it. It’s God’s gift from start to finish! (Ephesians 2:8 MSG)
I don't mean to criticize anyone here, but I think we might just have a wrong view of where we 'stand' with God on occasion. There are times we think we are under his thumb - just being held back from every good thing we want to explore. The truth is we probably have no idea what looks so good on the outside doesn't really look all that good once we are into it. I cut open 4 out of 5 red mangoes this week in hopes of enjoying their juiciness, only to realize they had likely been frozen at the grocer. They were brown and without any good taste at all. On the outside, they appeared very much like they should, enticing me to enjoy them. On the inside, they were disgusting. When God "squelches" a plan we might have been concocting, it is likely he knows the plan better than we do and he is protecting us!
At other times, we believe God has his foot on our throats, holding us captive so we can never enjoy freedom again. It could just be the type of 'freedom' we want isn't really freedom at all. While at my grandson's school this week, I noticed a very large aquarium which housed a bearded dragon lizard. There was plenty of rock at the bottom, wood to climb upon and perch for a while, and even plenty of food and water. Yet, that lizard could see a vast world beyond those glass walls - a world it wasn't able to explore - one I wonder if he desired to know. It is quite possible there is more we aren't experiencing in the freedom we desire, but that might not provide us with any greater freedom or protection than we already are enjoying. It is possible the picture of freedom we imagine isn't going to produce a true freedom - it is more of an illusion.
God does see us and he knows our every move - so being under his watchfulness may seem a little 'intrusive' at times. Especially when we feel that conviction that comes from having moved into a place he doesn't really desire for us to explore. I like to explore the original meaning of phrases we have used for years and years, but have no real insight into the real meaning behind them. One such phrase came because mom asked me what it meant. The phrase "naked as a jaybird" made her curious because she knows jaybirds have feathers, so how could one be naked if clothed in feathers? As I looked it up, we found it carried a totally different meaning than we imagined - naked as a J-bird is the real phrase. It stems from the term given a prisoner arriving at the jailhouse, being asked to strip naked, and then showered with strong chemicals so as to remove any 'critters' they may be carrying. Then the prisoner would have to walk to their 'accommodations' naked. Hence, 'naked as a J-bird'. Being naked is a little 'intrusive' to me, but being in prison would be a whole lot more concerning! I think being open to his watchful eye far outweighs the latter!
God's joy doesn't come in being domineering or unjust. It doesn't come in being critical or intrusive. It comes in those moments we experience his tremendous love and enjoy the peace of his presence. Just sayin!