Christmas season is just around the corner and the famous/infamous Santa would be visiting hundreds and thousands homes, packed with nice gifts and candy. I am sure Santa has a repute so he would very much like to keep it by fulfilling your needs. And if you had a wishlist in your mind, this might be a good time to jot it down and send it to Santa on his secret address (which I am going to share below).
Oh! you can also email Santa on “firstname.lastname@example.org”
So after you have mailed your wishlist, it might also be a good time to go to the church and pray that Santa gets your letter in time. You know he has a ton of mails so he might accidentally overlook your’s or may ignore your’s purposefully. And we would not want that, would we now?
How can it be that Santa refuses your wishlist? It would be highly unfair of him, too wrong and too bad. It might turn you into a non-believer too. You might end up telling your children the story of you losing your faith in the all loving and caring Santa. All because Santa failed to uphold your expectations. If he can’t get you what you want, what good is he anyway?
I have heard this so many times, if God can’t fix this what good is he, if God can’t fix that then I don’t need him etc. etc.
Why is this pattern seen so often? I am sure there are Christians and atheists out there who have had said the same thing over and over. Oh! Christians say it too, all too often. Most would leave Christianity and turn deist, agnostic or atheist. They stop believing because God did not hear their prayer or God did not stop something, or God let someone die or God is useless.
Do you really think God is just another Santa, waiting all year around for your wishlists? What kind of a God figure have you made up in your mind? Is it the most popular “God won’t let anything bad to happen.”?
What is God? Who is he? Is he someone/something who is as he is described in the scriptures or is he your own personal Santa?
If its the latter than you will likely end up as an atheist. Because unlike Santa, God is not obliged to keep up with our wishlists. I am afraid for many Christians and atheists, God is not who he is really is, he is just another Santa. Anyone who has read the Bible with some scholarship to understand it would know that God lets the bad happen, that God always does not save you. He won’t answer your prayers and he will not be there with you. That there are times, when God will plainly abandon you and let you down. He abandoned his own son on the cross. You will have every reason to believe that God is not good and he is not faithful.
I am afraid, this is a version of God which is not fairly popular, not within Christianity either. Nonetheless this is the most accurate version according to the scriptures, history and personal experience. We have had preached, especially in the west, not a God as the scriptures tell us but a mythical Santa who is all loving and all caring and needs our prayers to sustain himself, much like the gods on mount Olympus.
For many atheists, when they try to debunk God or at least they think they do, they attack the Santa version. The version which is supposed to be all good but ends up allowing the Holocaust or the Canaanite wars. Who never heard their prayers or gave them PROOF of his existence. This is the version they setup and knock down easily, because this version is far from the truth and far from who or what God is.
Why atheists pick the Santa version? because it is the most popular one in mainstream Christianity today, in the west. Also because this one is easy to punch holes in. I do not blame them entirely, most of the atheists pick this version because this what they were told when they grew up, this is what the were told when they went to their church. This is what old grand ma told them and they believed it, until they grew up and used their brains. And I respect the average man’s intelligence and experience, so that when an atheist tells me that God never heard his prayers when he was a Christian, I agree with him.
That is why it bothers me much because it is not true. The irony is, most of the time, Christians and atheists are not taking God for who he is but rather who he is supposed to be, like how they would want him to be. And I conclude that it is not really God these people are worshiping or criticizing, it is their own personal Santa. The Santa who will disappoint or has disappointed them inevitably. That their faith or the lack of faith is confirmed by how their Santa behaves. If a Christian gets his prayer answered even by coincidence, his faith in his Santa is renewed. Like wise when an atheist says, God is mythical, just like Santa, I shake my head with sadness because I know how true that statement really is. To the atheist God is like Santa, because his concept of God, in reality, is no more different than that of Santa. God never met him or heard him, his unbelief is reconfirmed by the same imaginary Santa, the God-figure he has in his mind who he never feels to be true to his personal experience.
So I ask you, who is God inside your head, is it the one whom you understand through the scriptures and personal experience, or is it the one all loving fatherly Santa who would hear your prayers always and never let anything bad happen to you?
Take your pick. I would be honest here, I think many Christians need to realize this too. God is faithful – but not according to your timing, schedules or preferences. Take him for who he is, not for who he is not and what you expect him to be. God’s faithfulness does not come bundled with “you won’t have hardships in your life” package. It comes with bitter experiences, painful memories, terrible circumstances, threat of danger, grief of a struggling life and the loss of loved ones. And in that he will be faithful because you will know at the end that he carried you through.
Hardships in life may happen for a lot of reasons, here are the few ones that are NOT the reasons for it:
- Because God was punishing you because you make mistakes often.
- Because hardship make us stronger (they do but that is not the reason)
- Because we are fallen and thus our suffering is justified.
- Because you don’t matter.
These are NOT the reasons why there are tough times in life of a believer or a non-believer.
In the end God does not want to be recognized based on his performance. And if your faith is dependent on God’s performance and how GOOD he delivers on your expectations and wishlists, then your faith is a house made on sand, and when the tide will come it will be knocked out flat.