What Kind of God is Your God?

Today’s Readings for the Daily Office

Psalm 107:33-43, 108:1-6(7-13) (Morning)
Psalm 33 (Evening)
2 Kings 19:21-36
1 Cor. 10:1-13
Matt. 8:18-27

What Kind of God is Your God?

In this morning’s Psalm, we are told that God changes rivers into a wilderness, springs of water into a thirsty ground, and a fruitful land into a salt waste. All this happens, we are told, because of the wickedness of the people who dwell there. In 1 Corinthians, Paul warns that church members should avoid evil and not act immorally, or we will befall the fate of our “fathers” where twenty-three thousand fell in one day, and others were destroyed by serpents.

As I watch the news of floods and hurricanes and fires and devastation, I am horrified and heartsick at the loss of life and property. The people in these cities and mountains and on these islands are not wicked and immoral, and God is not punishing them. I’ve always been taught that Jesus came to teach us about a loving God rather than a punishing God, and this is the God I believe in. We read of those in the news that seem to believe in a different God who is judgmental, wrathful and cruel. It is their hateful words that are judgmental, wrathful and cruel, and they do not seem to have a relationship with the God of love and compassion.

In Matthew’s gospel, Jesus sleeps through a great storm until his disciples awake him and he calms the winds and the sea. How can we be more like this loving and compassionate God? What winds and seas can we help calm in our own lives and in today’s world?

Written by Judi Neal

Judi Neal is the founding director of the Tyson Center for Faith and Spirituality in the Workplace at the University of Arkansas (retired). She has focused her career on workplace spirituality and is teaching a course at St. Paul’s called Noble Purpose. In her spare time she writes and plays music with her husband Ellis Ralph.

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