If you listen to some of the leading atheists such as Richard Dawson, you’ll hear them employ an argument against the existence of a deity in which they claim He hides himself too well. In other words, if there was a god, he’d be a bit more visible. Other people lose their faith because God doesn’t perform upon demand when they beg him to heal their family members or provide a job. People cling to a mistaken notion that prayer consists of asking for presents from the Almighty as if he were Santa Claus. Unfortunately, when they don’t receive what they ask for, they assume that God must not exist or doesn’t love them. Doesn’t that seem a bit overbearing and egotistic, as if God created us so He could be our servant?  It is true that Jesus did come to serve when he was on the Earth, but that servanthood role was only a cameo appearance.

Only the people who figure out that the correct scenario is exactly the reverse will ever truly understand God. There are groups of Christians who believe in the prosperity gospel. Sow into the kingdom and you shall reap a harvest, monetarily. The principle of sowing and reaping is indeed valid, but Jesus said we should be storing up treasure in Heaven. He wasn’t talking about monetary health and wealth. Our financial sowing on Earth does not generate immediate returns on investment. The people who really thrive under the teaching of the prosperity gospel are those receiving the “seed” gifts that people send in to stimulate their own financial windfall. We’ll mention this topic more in depth in a future post.

It’s taken me almost sixty years to figure out that what God really wants is for us to allow Him into our presence. That might sound funny. We have the power to keep the Almighty out of our lives? Crazy thought when we can’t control our lives in most other areas, but yet we can wall ourselves off from our creator.  Unfortunately not many people spend quality time with their Heavenly Father, including me. I’m trying though. One stumbling block to our intimacy with God is how we view Him.  Is he the demanding father who walks softly and carries a big stick? Or is he a loving father who wants us to sit in his lap and tell Him about our owies and our feelings? Or is he in between those two extremes? There are a multitude of songs that extol the virtues and benefits of drawing near to God, meeting Him in a secret place, entering the Holy of Holies, and dwelling in His presence.

I might be wrong, but I think perhaps those who spend time in His presence will be the ones who get lots of presents. Even if that is not the case, the peace of mind and overflowing love are fringe benefits to die for. I have a couple of friends who teach on  the subject of having intimacy with God. You can listen to a radio broadcast dealing with that topic at http://www.exceedingjoy.com/ExceedingJoy/audio/FaithFM/ExceedingJoy/SusanWaters.FaithFM.ExceedingJoy.2009.03.05.mp3

Susan Waters also wrote a book called God the Ogre Syndrome in which she relates how she once viewed God as an ogre. She broke through that impediment and now helps others to seek closeness to their Heavenly Father.  Jeff Reuter has a similar story. After a powerful encounter with the Father, he now travels the world delivering seminars on the Father heart of God. You can check out his Father’s Love series at http://www.prayerlifeministries.com/TapesAndCDs.asp

Regardless of what means you use to draw near to God not just with your lips but with your heart, I can’t recommend it strong enough. I do believe we are entering into the times that try men’s souls. Without a heavy dose of the Father’s love, our chances of survival will not be good.