We, as Christians, can be incredibly trite.
I don’t think we mean to be. It’s not our intention. We want God to seem…accessible, understandable…yeah, that’s it…Understandable to people today. I think it’s just easy to get caught up in a catchy phrase or slogan and forget the meaning behind it. Take John 3:16 for example. John 3:16 is not a bumper sticker. It’s not the only verse in the Bible. It, however, has become an entire marketing ploy, gracing T-shirts, bumper stickers, key chains, and everything else in the hope placing it everywhere will reach people. A highly powerful verse of Scripture (which makes a whole lot more sense to onlookers if they read verse 17 along with it) is reduced to an eye-catching phrase hoping to engage an onlooker. Most people don’t even give a second thought to the passage anymore or its meaning because it has been overused and, in a certain sense, downgraded by commercialism. In this same vain, sometimes we hear phrases, titles, names, and other terms frequently embraced by Churchanity over and over again, they lose a sense of meaning to each one of us.
I recently noticed a post on FB where someone posted “God is” and then multiple comments thereafter were people’s responses to that post. Many of them were catchphrases used over and over again in today’s church. It made me stop and wonder if the people who posted those things really understood what they meant or they were just saying them because it was the currently appropriate way to fill in the God-blank. Do we mean things we say – or do we just say them because they sound good?
In this vain, I stepped back and sought God. This is what He revealed to me. Please note: all the circumstances raised below are based on real incidents that either have happened or are happening to real people that I know…
Go ask the man who was told by doctors three years ago he would be dead from stomach cancer within a year – who is still alive today – what it means when he says, “God is my healer.”
Go ask the woman – days away from foreclosure who had an old friend come through with a loan at the last minute – what it means when she says, “God is my provider.”
Go ask the woman who ever gave up any hope of having a baby – who is now pregnant without medical intervention – what it means when she says, “With God, all things are possible.”
Go ask the woman, diagnosed with stage four breast cancer – violently ill from chemotherapy treatments – what it means when she says, “God is my hope.”
Go ask the man who came up out of the waters of baptism – unrecognizable to his own family – what it means when he says he is a “new creature in Christ.”
Go ask the woman who was homeless and disregarded by her own family – but taken in and loved by friends and strangers – what it means when she says she has “brothers and sisters in Christ.”
Go ask the woman who, after being rejected and scorned by her own leader – went on to overcome and triumph in ministry – what it means when she says she’s received “beauty for ashes.”
Go ask the woman who, after being emotionally beaten and abused by her husbands – and yet still praises God – what it means when she says “the Lord is my praise.”
Go ask the woman, who was diagnosed with full-blown AIDS – and told she would only be able to live using an oxygen tank and unable to walk for the rest of her life – who now travels all over the US preaching the Gospel – what it means when she says, “the Lord’s been good to me.”
Go ask the woman, who almost lost her job three times due to false accusations – but still has her job – what it means when she says, “the Lord is strong and mighty in battle.”
Go ask the woman, whose ex-husband tried to kill her – and she lives to tell about it – what it means when she says, “the Lord is my refuge.”
Go ask the man, who lived in an African refugee tent with five other people sick with Malaria – and never once got sick – what it means when he says, “the Lord is my protector.”
Go ask the woman, abandoned by her family and friends – due to the anointing on her life – what it means when she says, “God is my friend.”
Go ask the woman, who was facing 45 years in federal prison – and freed after only a few years by God’s grace – what it means when she says, “in Christ I have been set free.”
Go ask the woman, who grew up without her father – and now seeks to help fathers recognize how important they are in the lives of their children – what it means when she cries, “Abba! Father!”
Go ask the man, who lived a life of drug abuse and sin – and lived with guilt every day of that life – what it means when he says, “the Lord is my sanctifier.”
Go ask the man, who left the Lord’s presence for sin and destruction – only to hear the Lord’s call to return – what it means when he says, “the Lord is my shepherd.”
Go ask the woman, who was troubled and disturbed with anxiety and panic disorders for years – now able to confront the fears and live her life – what it means when she says, “the Lord is my peace.”
Every one of us has a testimony. God has done something great and amazing for every one of us. Instead of reciting things that may be popular or the things everyone seems to be saying, let us speak of the great things God has done for us. God is not a slogan, a commercial, or a catchy jingle. His Word is not a billboard for marketing enterprising. No, God is none of those things. For those of us who have been transformed by His grace, He is our All in All.
(C) 2011 Lee Ann B. Marino. All rights reserved.