instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Monday, August 22, 2005

The Plumber Almighty

"Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How inscrutable are His judgments and how unsearchable His ways!" St. Paul rhapsodizes. "'For who has known the mind of the Lord or who has been His counselor?'"

But really, with all due respect to the Apostle and to the Prophet whom he quotes, who hasn't been God's counselor?

Who hasn't said words to the effect of, "You know, Lord, what would be great is if," or, "Now all that needs to happen is"? Who hasn't tried, one way or another, to make clear to God that there are unsearchable ways and there are unsearchable ways, and that a little more give and take would be best for everyone? If God has refused all human counsel, it's not for want of offers.

On the other hand, a counselor implies someone who makes the decisions, and I think often enough we don't see God as a king in need of a counselor so much as a contractor in need of a client. God is our divine handyman, whom we call to fix things in our lives. "Straighten her out, fix him up, and see what You can do about that mess in the yard. I'll be back later, You can let Yourself out when You're done."

People even recommend God to each other, just like they recommend plumbers. "Oh, I was going through the same thing you are. Then I learned to let go and let God. You should do the same."

Not everyone is a satisfied customer, though. There is no shortage of people who are unhappy with what God has done to, or not done for, them. Some are vocal and angry, others merely disappointed in Him.

To the extent we have them, we ought to shake from our thoughts all impressions of God as provider of goods and services. The relationship He offers us through Christ is not a contract, but a covenant. He shall be our Father, and we shall be His children. And until we see Him face to face, we for our part must trust that He does not give stones to children who need bread, even when they tell Him what would be great is if He gave them stones.