Listen: Chris Witts presents Morning Devotions
Fred Schepisi’s 1976 film The Devil’s Playground tells the story of Tom, growing up through a Catholic boarding school, and of his own struggle to find faith.
At one very moving moment, the boy of 12 or 13 years, torn between all the emotions and passions of his emerging manhood and the dictates of his church, talks with his counsellor about whether he has a vocation from God. Just then he runs out to the middle of the school oval, and in real desperation he calls out to the night sky, Hey God, are you there?
The boy expresses in simplicity the nagging question of our age: Is there anybody there? Is there anyone who hears? Is there anybody who knows what we feel and what we fear? Or are we alone, abandoned in the universe, left to our fate?
What comes into your mind?
Have you ever wondered what God is really like? And how would you really know? I think many of us have grown up with this question. It was kind of confusing, especially if you never went to church. You may have asked, in the quieter moments of life, God, if you exist, what are you like? Who are you—really? Is God a magical man high in the sky with binoculars looking intently at us?
One popular definition of God was made clear in 1961, after Russian cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin returned from the first manned space flight. The Soviet leader Nikita Khrushchev used the event to support his regime’s policy of intolerance of religion. “Why should you clutch at God?” he asked. “Here is Gagarin who flew into space but saw no God there.”
It was American pastor and author A.W. Tozer who said, “What comes into our minds when we think about God is the most important thing about us.” I’m convinced that many of us have an inadequate, or even an inaccurate, view of God.
What God is
Billy Graham was reared in a small Presbyterian church in Charlotte, North Carolina, USA. Before he was 10 years of age his mother made him memorise the Westminster Shorter Catechism. In that catechism readers were asked to define God. The answer a young Billy Graham learned was, God is Spirit–infinite, eternal and unchangeable.
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Those three words describe God. He is infinite—not body bound; eternal—he has no beginning and no ending. He is the One forever self-existent. The Bible declares that he never changes—that there is no variableness or shadow of turning with him.
People change, fashions change, conditions and circumstances change, but God never changes. Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. The Bible teaches that there was no time when God did not exist. He has been as he is—forever. He has no beginning and no end. He is the Eternal and Unchanging Person.
The Bible reveals God as a Person. Everywhere in the Bible we read God loves; God says; God does. Everything that we attribute to a person is attributed to God. A person is one who feels, thinks, wishes, desires and has all the expressions of a personality. Personality is not limited to body. You are an immortal soul. Someday your personality will leave your body.
When former President John Quincy Adams was 93, someone asked the old statesman: “How are you feeling this morning, Mr. Adams?” He replied: “Quite well. Quite well. But the house I live in is not so good. I’ll soon be leaving it to get a new one.”
(To be continued in What do You Think God is Like – Part 2)