December 4, 2014

Amateur Gods

Gary Thomas — 

Amateur Gods

One of the most difficult things I ever heard from God came when I was praying for someone I love deeply. I was willing to do almost anything to be the answer to the prayer I was praying: “What should I do?” “What can I say?” “How can I fix this?” And then I sensed God telling me, “I’ve heard your prayer and it will be answered, but not through you.”

To step back and let God have His way when we want to fix something we think we know how to fix (or even what to fix) is very difficult to do. In short, we want to tell God how to do His job.

Playing with professional golfers has given me a realistic view of the difference between amateurs and professionals. If you play a round of 18 with a professional golfer, you might, on occasion hit a better shot. But in my case, 99 out of 100 shots will be significantly worse (a pro won’t even hit a hundred shots). That’s because I’m an amateur.

I got lucky on a chip shot once; it was beautiful, left the ball right by the hole, closer than either of the pros’ shots ended up. But I didn’t think to myself, “Well, look at that. Maybe I should join the tour.” The fact that I was lying six while they were lying two was enough to tell me that if you do anything long enough, odds are you’re going to get lucky now and then.

With God, this is times infinity. When we try to play “amateur god,” fixing things we think need to be fixed and even telling God how they’re supposed to be fixed, we’re making some horrendous assumptions: “God, you don’t care as much as I do.” “God, I think you’re missing the most important angle here.” “God, I know this person better than you do.”

Let God be God in your life. Even more difficult, let God be God in your loved ones’ lives. Pray without ceasing, yes. Offer yourself as an instrument of God’s will, of course. But don’t assume you’re the only answer to your prayer or that He is unaware of what’s going on. Don’t try to be an amateur god. Be a believer who always points people to the real God and who displays true faith, not foolish insult.

I just don’t want you to ever let someone else’s challenges pull you away from God or cause you to doubt God. Our friends and family members need our faith more than they need our opinions.

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4 responses to Amateur Gods

  1. That’s the God I know. He is so in charge and knows how to deliver His message to His kids. I loved your story at the beginning. I love your work! We need it right now amongst all this fluff called Christian periodicals. Thank you and your family who supports you!

  2. Thanks I needed to hear this.

  3. So true, Gary. Seeing our family members remain unsaved can bring much heartache to us but I’ve come to realize that our heavenly Father wants our hearts to break for EACH person that is unsaved, not just the unsaved ones we so dearly love. We meet people every single day that do not know Jesus. We need to make the most of every opportunity to reflect the love of Christ…to our loved ones and to strangers as well. I’m not always certain how to do that but I do know that sometimes just a smile or a courteous gesture is all that is needed. And…..we can always pray that God will put someone in their lives to point them toward Christ. There are others who may have more influence than what we have. God has it all figured out and we just need to trust and obey.
    Thanks,Gary, for the encouragement you consistently send our way each week!
    Blessings to you and yours.

  4. Nathan L Simons December 4, 2014 at 6:24 am

    Thank you for this.