Can We Activate God’s Presence?

One of my favorite movies is Galaxy Quest. It’s a spoof of the original Star Trek series and is a lot of fun. At the end of the movie, to save the universe (this happens frequently on Star Trek), the captain activates the Omega 13, which is a device that turns back time for 13 seconds. It’s not long, but it’s long enough to redeem a single mistake.

To activate the Omega 13, he opens a compartment, a plunger rises, and he pushes down on the plunger. Then the science fiction magic happens. Sadly, this is how some people think God works. They talk about activating his power and invoking his presence, as if pushing a button or casting a spell of some kind can get God to appear or grant wishes like a genie. (I’ve been reading devotionals again.)

As I’ve said many times here, God is all about relationship. I didn’t understand that for most of my life, but seeing God through this lens, as a being in relationship as Father, Son and Spirit, changes our perspective on everything. He’s not a vending machine, a genie or someone whose power and presence we can invoke. He’s not watching us from a distance, keeping a list of sins and offenses against him. He’s not sitting on a judge’s bench, anxious to send us to the executioner.

God has a father’s heart for us. Jesus loves us like a brother. The Spirit is always on our side. God loves us with an unfailing love and delights in us loving him back. We don’t need to push a button or rub a lamp to enjoy his loving presence.

He’s a rock!

The other day while out walking, I was praying about a speech for a women’s retreat. I plan to talk about Jesus so I was musing on who he is. I don’t remember which thoughts led up to remembering a favorite line from one of my all time favorite movies, Galaxy Quest, but somehow I got there. On an alien planet, the “captain” was trying to figure out how to fight a creature made up of a bunch of rocks. When Guy tells him to go for his vulnerable spots, the captain shouts, “he’s a rock, he doesn’t have any vulnerable spots.”

God is described as a rock and as far as I can tell, he doesn’t have any vulnerable spots either. But if we were to take the liberty of thinking of him in this way, we might say he does have one soft spot. It doesn’t make him weak or leave him open to attack. It’s not anything that would cause him to be overcome, like Kryptonite did to Superman. It’s not an Achilles heel.

God’s vulnerability if I may, is his love for us. His amazing love is what moved him to become human and live as one of us. It’s so deep he died for it – to take our sins upon himself and conquer death so we will live. Yes, he’s a rock, with no vulnerable spots, except maybe his love for his children.