I was discussing God with my dad, and he accused me of not knowing who God is. Snort.
So I figured I’d write an essay about God. (Just let me mention in advance that I could be wrong about this, and this isn’t researched. Rather, it’s based on what I’ve learned, whether correctly or incorrectly, over the course of my life.)
God is one aspect of the trinity, being the Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost. God is the Father. Jesus is the Son, so that one’s easy. The Holy Ghost is the omnipresence of God in our daily lives. All three have some overlap. For example, if we feel Jesus with us during a hardship, that overlaps with the Holy Ghost. I think the trinity was outlined as a way to delineate the divine, but the divine doesn’t necessarily need to be delineated for any reason other than comprehension.
God is unimaginable, but in a broad sense, God is love. The first and most important thing to know about God is that He loves you. Full stop. No what-ifs. He loves you. Because He is love. He is the pulse of our heartbeats and the rhythm of our lives. He is the ups and downs and in-betweens. He is the everything you ever see a light shining within. He’s everywhere.
God represents the pinnacle of every loving virtue all rolled into one. God is loving, kind, patient, understanding, forgiving, and gentle. We who haven’t gotten that far yet in our own development can understand this intellectually–understand what God is–but it can be hard to visualize.
And so He gave us His Son to show us what God’s all about. Jesus is the one person who’s worthy of true emulation. Although of course it’s great to emulate others, but just in separate ways, like to emulate one person’s compassion and another’s leadership abilities. I’m just saying that only Jesus can be emulated all across the board. Because everyone else you ever try to emulate could disillusion you. (Remember how many people used to look up to Bill Cosby? I rest my case.)
I’m not trying to say we shouldn’t emulate people. Just keep one eye open. That’s all.
With Jesus, there is never and will never be any disillusionment. It wasn’t that He was perfect or always did the perfect thing. That’s not the point. For one thing, He threw a hissy fit full of (righteous) anger when people were using God’s temple as a shopping mall. Someone more perfect might have been more in control of His anger.
But He loved people enough to perform miracles using the strength of His love. His miracles didn’t come from trickery or showmanship. They came from His abiding love and desire to advance mankind. And He proved that love by sacrificing His life when a lesser person would’ve fled.
God is the force who sent Jesus here to let us know how loved we are. God saw us all struggling and wanted there to be a way for us to know we aren’t alone. That’s why the Bible says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son.”
I’ve heard people wondering how God could allow the coronavirus to overtake our society. That question’s easy: free will. God didn’t create the coronavirus. He had nothing to do with it. He gave us this Earth as our learning ground, and whoever was responsible for releasing the virus really screwed up. But that’s not on God, nor should it be.
God is the virtue, the highest point of being we can ever hope to achieve.
As a child of eight years old, I’d pray to God often every night. “Dear God,” I’d pray. “Please protect this house from fire. And please protect my friends’ and relatives’ houses from fire, too. And please protect me from bad dreams about fires. Amen.” Every single time I’d remember to say that prayer, I’d be spared the nightmares. On the other hand, when I’d awaken from one such horrific nightmare, my first thought would be, “Oh, rats. I forgot the prayer, didn’t I?”
Psychological as that all could be, God has always been looking out for me. When I was in college, I had a music teacher who was a narcissist and a bully. His name was Dr. A.T. Simpson from Bellarmine University. He still teaches there. As a freshman, I played in the handbell choir. Dr. Simpson was a poor communicator, and he did it on purpose because he got off on confusing others. I missed a handbell performance which he’d never told me about. Afterward, I had my hearing tested and discovered from family records and anecdotes never made known to me that I’d had hearing loss since birth. Dr. Simpson was always lowering his voice, because he enjoyed getting an ego boost from making people lean in to hear him. Massive overblown ego on the loose at Bellarmine. And do you know why he’s still there? Someone was stupid enough to give him tenure. But I digress.
Anyway, he soundly told me off for missing the performance (which I actually showed up late to, when someone tipped me off), and I hated myself. I went home and wanted to kill myself. But it was late, so I decided to just go to bed and deal with feeling suicidal in the morning. My bedroom here was in the basement at the time in a small room with a tiny ground-level window.
Let me preface this by saying I didn’t take any psych meds in college, nor did I ever do street drugs or alcohol. I’m schizophrenic (but wasn’t diagnosed for many years after), but still. This story is mind-blowing. I still can’t believe it happened.
As I lay in bed, I became aware of a presence in my room. It was a black blob of ugliness resting against a wall. It laughed at me. It mocked me. I got angry at it and got out of bed to confront it. I picked it up and hurled it against a far wall. It hit the wall with a squish and sank to the floor. Then, it picked me up and threw me against a wall. I too hit the wall and then hit the floor. In turn, I picked it up and threw it.
As we were engaged in this throwing-each-other showdown, I put my all into it. I was really mad at the squishy black demon blob. But I slowly became aware that we were engaged in a battle with consequences. If I won, I’d wake up the next morning as if none of this ever happened. If I lost, I’d have to face death.
Somehow, the pressure got to me, and I started throwing the demon with less and less force. My fight gave out, and thus, I lost the battle. I knew it, and a split second later, I was in a pitch-black dark cosmos with nothing underneath my feet. I was hovering on the brink of absolute nothingness, and I knew, I KNEW, that if I took even a tiny step forward, I’d be giving into it; and I wouldn’t awaken tomorrow morning. I’d be dead. It would be that easy.
I was petrified. I couldn’t move. I couldn’t breathe. Vaguely, I sensed the presence of a loving and gentle being standing to my right, but in the dark, I couldn’t see a thing.
“I didn’t mean it,” I blubbered. “I don’t really want to die. Send me back. Please!”
I opened my eyes. It was eleven in the morning, and the whole night had passed in the blink of an eye. No tossing or turning. No glancing at the clock all night.
When I got out of bed, I felt renewed. I went upstairs, and everything I saw had a light halo around it. I suddenly felt recommitted to living my life and to trying to fix my problems. There was a brightness, a gleam to everything around me.
That’s not to say my problems went away. They didn’t, not for years.
Sometimes I wonder about that presence that stood beside me. It felt faint, as if it was a flatter part of the overall message; or maybe as if I wasn’t meant to know the presence was there at all. But I did know. Even in the midst of pitch-black death, we’re never alone in this world.
That’s the thing about God. You can think life is horrible, and you can think that God has forsaken you, but you’d be wrong. Wronger than wrong. God would never forsake anyone. No matter what.
I feel sorry for people who believe that God doesn’t love them. It almost seems offensive to God, because it’s what God does, and it’s what God is. God would be nothing without love. And we would be nothing without Him.