God in the Dock {How to Have the Perfect Life – p.1}

They woke up to breakfast in bed for nearly 40 straight years.  They hurried under the shadow of His wing by day and sat by the cloud of His fire by night.  They slept, ate, and breathed the presence of the Holy One {2 Kings 19:22}, the God of angel armies {Rev 19:14}, and the Judge of all the earth {Psalm 50:6}.  And yet, they tossed God in the Dock, too.

You brought us up out of Egypt out into this dry and barren desert. And for what end?  That we and our children and our livestock may become feed for the vultures?  We are thirsty! Is the Lord among us or not? {Exodus 17:2-7, paraphrased}

God in the Dock always promised to be another amazing C.S. Lewis essay. I imagined Lewis had penned metaphorical magic with images of God sitting on a dock, like a child dangling bare feet over sun-cracked decks, and laughing as the tides tickled His toes.

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Turns out, I’m all wrong.  {I’m often all wrong when I never actually read a book.}

The only waves under Lewis’ dock, my pastor clarified, bubble up like boiling water. In a courtroom, the judge sits on the bench.  The witness sits in the dock.  And guess what?  We’ve put God in the Dock.

The ancient man approached God as the accused person approaches his judge.  For the modern man, the roles are reversed.  He is the judge: God is in the dock.

[Man] is quite a kindly judge: if God should have a reasonable deference for being the god who permits war, poverty, and disease, he is ready to listen to it. The trial may even end in God’s acquittal. But the the most important thing is that man is on the Bench and God in the Dock. {Lewis, p244, emphasis mine}

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My pastor’s sermon surprised me. I have no problem with a God who permits war, or poverty, or disease.  This world is not our home, and all the battles have not yet been won, right?

But what about financial hardship, or public scrutiny, or marital trouble? Or more close to home: boisterous babes, or traffic tickets, or a dirty dwelling? These circumstances irk me.  These offenses send me to the bench demanding a ready defense.

  • Don’t I wake each morning anticipating cute check marks drawn down my Ann VosKamp-inspired to-do list?
  • And grumble when the coffee-stained, wrinkled, and smudged blank page stares back at me each night?
  • Don’t I groan with angry astonishment at cleanliness undone?
  • And order disordered?
  • And pound my fist like a gavel at the guilty party?
  • Don’t I eagerly scoop up the latest collection of glossy bound pages promising a RealSimple life, or a House Beautiful? Or even a Cosmopolitan life?
  • And jealously stew over another’s more-perfect household? Or children? Or marriage?
  • Don’t I usurp the bench when my ‘perfect life’ unravels?  And minute by minute throw God in the dock?

Whoever said God promised a ‘perfect life’ in exchange a life lived perfectly? Comfort and ease. Safety and security.  Beauty and health {and wealth to boot}.  Whoever said these were God’s promises for life?

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More often than not, I live my life within the confines of my perfect daydream. I regularly approach the bench, not to beseech my Lord, but to take my place on the judgement seat, and throw God in the dock.

But what if, like the Newsboys sing, I lived my life with abandon?  What if I abandoned every earthly expectation and only held only held onto His hands? What if I abandoned my perfect life and instead lived wholly abandoned to His perfect will?

Maybe it’s time, as comedian and story teller Paul Harvey often stated, to read, “the rest of the story…” {stay tuned}

Photo Credits {HERE}

Might I Pray for Us?

Dearest, Holy Father.  We live our lives in abandon, only we do not let go of the things that grip our heart.  We have abandoned You. And placed You in the Dock.  Please forgive us.  For You alone are holy.  You alone are righteous.  You alone know the plans You have for us, not to harm us, but to give us life, and hope, and peace.  Help us let go of our earthly expectations, and only hold onto Your hand. Amen.