Straightening out my three-legged theology
I’VE SOMETIMES envied folk who talk about the Christian life as “walking with God,” as though it’s a comradely, side-by-side stroll through the countryside. For me, it’s often felt more like a slightly awkward three-legged race, trying to keep myself from tumbling over or lurching off to one side.
The tricky part in such a stride is keeping those three limbs moving together smoothly. I suspect that I am not alone in not always finding that easy when it comes to balancing Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I wonder whether—like me—you’ve at times felt like one part of the Godhead was dragging His feet?
Personally, my issue has been with experiencing God as Father. I’m comfortable with Jesus the Savior, and, the Holy Spirit who instructs and empowers—though I know there is much more of both for me to discover, naturally. But the Father part has, for a variety of reasons, largely been a bit of a mystery.
I knew the theory and the theology, but it rang slightly hollow, if I’m honest. I would wonder: How loving could God the Father be if He would send someone else to their death? To me, that didn’t smack of too much warmth and tenderness.
Then, recently, I came to see God the Father more clearly through taking a step back and looking at the Trinity. I realized that long before we began to try to explain these different aspects of the Godhead with words, they were in perfect harmony—swept together in an endless dance of love, as someone once said.
What could possibly be cause to interrupt this infinite, joyful circle? Not a lack of care or concern for those within it, I realized, but only an overflowing desire for others outside of it to get to become part of it as well. The passion for inclusion, not the coldness of indifference.
Jesus may have been the sacrifice, but God the Father made one too. It came out of His great love for me, in allowing the object of His great love to suffer.
Where I had seen for too long evidence of God the Father’s distance, I came to recognize instead proof of His desire to be close. So close that He would allow the perfect love He and the Son had enjoyed from before time to be fractured, at great cost to both.
As a result of this epiphany, I feel like I am walking a bit taller, a bit straighter, and a bit more confidently.
What about you? Which member of the Trinity is your faith walk’s weakest “leg,” would you say? Are you open to seeing them in a new way, perhaps by reflecting on how they engage with the others in their three-in-oneness?
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