“If you project human failings onto God, you end up with ‘God in the Hands of Angry People.’ It’s not God’s fault, unless you blame Him for giving us free will.”- Mark Batterson, Double Blessing
“May the LORD smile on you and be gracious to you. May the LORD show you his favor and give you his peace.”- Numbers 6:25-26 (NLT)
Because my Lutheran grade school downsized me as a teacher at the age of fifty-five, I surmised that my calling came to a screeching halt. Consequently, I opted to construct a wall around my heart. That action, I thought, effectively excluded my teaching identity as an integral part of my soul. But every school bus I saw nudged those suppressed stirrings a little closer.
Seven years after losing my teaching position, God, in His love and mercy, graciously chipped the first cracks in my self-imposed wall. I started guest teaching for Teachers on Call, a company that provides substitutes to various area school districts. Yet, for the first few years, I rarely returned to the same school on a regular basis. Or taught the same class in that school.
All that changed in the 2018- 2019 school year, when I worked sixty-three days at Country Dale School. My reliability and frequent presence forged a collegial relationship with the faculty and staff. Plus, I loved to greet students by name as they arrived each day. Country Dale collapsed my wall like Jericho!
Often, there’s little or no compassion evident in the downsizing process. Writing in his latest book, Double Blessing, Mark Batterson notes what happens when you project human feelings onto God. Flipping a famous sermon title of Jonathan Edwards, Pastor Batterson cautions that you end up placing ‘God in the Hands of Angry People.’ Or, as A. W. Tozer stressed in The Knowledge of the Holy: “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.”
As a result, the key to a healthy and holy identity consists in the belief that you are who God says you are. Believing anything else, Mark counsels, does no one any favors – including you. So, Pastor Batterson asks, What comes to your mind when you think about God? Does God wear an angry expression on His face? Or do you detect smile lines around His eyes?
Above all, Mark observes, many people who reject God really reject a misrepresentation of who God is. Therefore, they don’t reject God for who He is. Rather, they reject God for who He isn’t. Hence, Mark advises, go ahead and do that. But, don’t stop there! Instead, begin a quest to discover God’s true identity.
Finally, Pastor Batterson exhorts, it’s crucial to discern God’s heart toward you so He fails to find a place in the hands of angry people:
“Yet, God gets angry. But He’s not an angry God. And there’s a big difference! Simply put, ‘God is love.’ Yes, His love mandated anger toward those things that are outside of His good, pleasing, and perfect will. But there is nothing that can separate us from the love of God. In fact, nothing you do can make Him love you any less? Why? Because the love of God is not reactive. The love of God is the most proactive, most powerful force on earth.”
Remember, Mark encourages, that since God is with you, you can get through anything. Also, knowing God is for you enables you to overcome every obstacle in your way. And, nothing stops you when you know God’s in you.