Today posed the question- How is God “for” us different than God “with” us?
At first the phrase “God for us” came to my mind as a cheerleader. As in supportive and encouraging. Rah rah.
But after realizing the contrast- it is more like a purpose. When I say to my students “do this for your friend” it is meant as a act of service to make you a better person. It is also the physical action more than the heart attitude. God for us is having a need and God filling that need.
When I compare that to God with us- it’s a little strange. No longer is the God for us an obligation- rather an act of surrender. He could have given us himself through a powerful king or a mighty dictator- because honestly that is what we need sometimes. Instead- he took our form and lived our life here on this earth.
A few years ago I attended Urbana- a giant missions conference. They highlighted God being incarnate- in the flesh. He lived among the lowly. Identified with our pain. Struggled with our temptations. It was more than a gift from a far, rather his being here on earth is personal and intimate.
When taken in the context of missions that means living in a way that identifies who you are serving. Ed and I are serving missionary kids. We lived close to them. They come to our house. We go to their houses. We know their families and their personal lives. We can identify with them. We can serve them. We are “with” them.
Some people are harder to live with incarnationally. The poor are all around us, yet I live a more “posh” lifestyle. There are those who live with multiple generations and right now it is just Ed and I. We dont identify with them in many ways.
I am so blessed to serve a God who chose to live on my earth. I know he understands the craziness that surrounds me and I can trust that he is in control. Nothing is too out there for my God! What a great thing to remember and ponder as I anticipate the celebration of this transformation.