3 May 2021

God's Dilemma - Part 2

Continued from Part 1 ...

It was a very strange and difficult process to unlearn all I had learned in the Dutch Reformed Church. It got so bad that I ultimately realised that all I learned was wrong and I became used to doing and believing all the opposite things  which that Church taught me, knowing that it would be right. There are, of course, righteous people in that Church as well who serve God with all their might, but it did not work for a rebel like me.
I wanted God as a friend, not as a God, although I did not know at that stage that God also wanted me as a friend. Having God as a Supervisor or Policeman shouting at my every act, omission and transgression, was too much like hostel life to me. I had had enough of that for a lifetime. My inner being felt that God might just be a God who could understand a human being and be friends with one - as my grandmother had taught me.
And that happened quite a few years later.
I was serving God in a strictly Pentecostal Church, where I learned a lot about God and His Holy Spirit, how the Holy Spirit worked, how I could discern Him, and how I could practise the gifts of the Holy Spirit. It was a learning school I had never thought existed, but it was excellent and insightful and I blossomed.
And then one day I had a conversation with God.
Three of us, including the atheist, flew, with my aircraft, to the Bazaruto Archipelago in Mozambique for business and then we came upon Paradise Island unexpectedly. It was the most beautiful Island I had ever seen and the sand and the aquatic life was phenomenal. We met a local fishing canoe with very poor indigenous people on board who asked us for cigarettes and matches. One of us had the necessary goods and in return they gave us one of their freshly caught crayfish.
The crayfish you get in that sea is very large and beautiful - about two metres long and it has the most beautiful green, blue and beige colours. So we chucked it into one corner of our boat.
After about half an hour of snorkelling I got tired, not being able to draw enough breath from the restricted orifice of my snorkel, and I lied down on a bunk of the boat to dry out, inadvertently with my head turned towards the crayfish. As I stared at the crayfish, I started to talk to God and told Him how smart and ingenious and beautiful and pristine he made the earth, the universe and all the living creatures. And then, suddenly, God started to speak to me; how, I still cannot fathom. He said that I am right, what he created was beautiful, but the most wonderful thing for Him was to go down to Paradise (and Paradise Island - my own thought) every evening to talk to Adam and Eve.
Suddenly, I came to my full senses again, not knowing that I was in a sort of  reverie for some time. I looked at my watch and saw that I have been in this reverie for thirty minutes which seemed to me like three minutes. I also noticed that it was just past ten o'clock on a Sunday morning - the exact time God usually spoke through His Holy Spirit to us in Church. That is no coincidence - come what may.
I suddenly realised that God wanted to be my friend - an almost blasphemous thought according to the conventional wisdom of my old Church, but I knew that I needed to pursue it - much like Samuel went to Eli to ask whether he called.
In engineering and scientific terms, I knew exactly how to deal with this. I would start from first principles and axioms and then work my way up by way of already proven theorems and physical laws to arrive at a final solution, and so I set off on a similar route, a process I have used many times before successfully. I first map the problem to a practical, scientific or technical basis or even a practical real life situation, and then apply the same type of solutions to this spiritual domain. Mine was not a step of faith - it was an intellectual journey as I said previously.

 I started off with my children as a practical example to guide me on how I should go about becoming a friend of God.

When my children left high school, I thought that they were at a stage where they could actually understand what friendship means and entails. I then decided that I would like to become their friend rather than their father, and I fortunately also realised that I cannot be both. I needed to choose between these two. 
If I remained being both, I could and I would misuse my authority as father to influence some outcome of our friendship or misuse our friendship to consolidate my father role, which, by this time, has already become marginal due to my children who thought they were very clever. They say the only person more clever than a second year student is a first year student.
This would be detrimental to both my roles. In the end I realised that if I wanted to be their friend, I had to give up all my authority, meaning that they could blame me, fight with me, deride me, criticise me, reject me, misuse me and so on - everything a friend usually does or may do ... and I was prepared for that. I fully realised that my authority over them would be gone forever.
And that was the correct thing to do.

Continued in Part 3 ...

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