Wednesday, November 18, 2009

'God Cam'

For Christmas last year, I was given one of those wildlife ‘game cam’s’. The camera is motion-activated and has a built-in flash for taking pictures in the dark.
I finally got around to setting it up near the feeder where I normally hunt and then I went back to check it out a few weeks later. I was amazed to see the 678 photos on the memory card showing all kinds of wildlife being caught unawares.
There were several pictures of the devious raccoon that manipulated his hands through the protective cage to mess up the settings on the feeder to cause all of the corn to be dispensed within the first three days. Lots of pictures of deer, hogs, crows, cows, cows tipping my feeder over, a hunting buddy setting it back up, deer, hogs, a coyote, cows tipping my feeder over again.
I can look at those pictures over and over. It just entertains me to see those oblivious animals going about their day, even though the game cam caught just a moment in time and couldn’t follow what happened to them during the remainder of those days.
That’s kind of the way we often see our relationship with God, isn’t it? The ‘God cam’ gets a nice picture of us in our Sunday finest, Bible tucked under our arm, with a nice, pious smile as we stand in the pews singing hymns at the worship service. But the ‘God cam’ doesn’t follow us out of the sanctuary and down the street and to our homes and to our offices and to the golf course and out to the hunting lease, does it?
Well of course it does.
The ‘God cam’ isn’t intended to ‘catch you’ doing things you shouldn’t be doing. It’s God’s way of experiencing your life with you, of delighting in you. He wants a photo album full of pictures of who you really are, but He wants who you really are to be about glorifying Him, about delighting in Him.
Delight yourself in the LORD
and he will give you the desires of your heart
. (Psalm 37:4)
[T]he LORD’s delight is in those who fear him,
those who put their hope in his unfailing love
. (Psalm 147:11, NLT)
God isn’t a cosmic kill-joy waiting to ‘bust’ us for having too much fun, failing to read our Bible for 27 minutes every day, or forgetting who beget whom in one of those genealogies. God is not up there reviewing the pictures in the ‘God cam’ and slapping a ruler into his hand waiting for us to mess up so He can “smite” us in some way. No one is more on our side than God, no one wants more for us than God, and no one has given more to us than God.
John 10:10 tells us: I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly (NASB); or in another version: I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full (NIV); or in yet another version: My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life (NLT).
Does that sound like God wants us to live like some kind of monks who deny themselves any ‘pleasures’ of life? I don’t think so. But I do think that we seldom understand what the true pleasures, joys, and satisfactions are. He does and He intends them for us.
But we need to delight ourselves in Him.
In the movie Evan Almighty, there were plenty of theological errors, but something that I think the producers got right (probably unintentionally) was in a scene toward the end of the movie. In the final encounter between Evan and God, Evan is celebrating what has happened – what God had accomplished as He said He would. And Morgan Freeman (playing God) does just a fantastic job of showing the kind of delight that I think God takes in us when we delight in Him. He just stood there giggling at how Evan was ‘delighting’ himself in the Lord. It brought tears to my eyes.
That’s what I want to hear as God looks over the pictures in the ‘God cam’. I want Him to see how I am living life abundantly, to the full, in the rich and satisfying way He intended. And I can do that only by delighting myself in Him.

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