Privacy Policy

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Dear Linwood Friends,

Americans feel strongly about their freedom, their security, and their privacy.

Revelations and accusations about government surveillance, cell phone records,  and privacy issues have dominated the news this week.  I am not about to jump into that discussion – except to note that privacy issues are a big deal to many people.  Today when I picked up a prescription at Giant Eagle, I was again asked if I wanted a copy of their privacy policy.

All of this got me to thinking –

What is God’s “privacy policy”?

The answer to that question is both clear and disturbing.  There are two parts to God’s privacy policy.

  • We know about God only those things that He chooses to reveal to us.
  • God knows everything about us.  We have no privacy before God.

Is that fair?  No, it probably is not fair…but it is good!  How can this arrangement be good?  Let’s look at both parts of the policy.

Part One – First of all, it would be absolutely impossible for us as mortals to comprehend the immortal.  How can we grasp the mind, the character, the presence, and the power of God?  He is GOD; we are not.  He is limitless; we are bound by space and time.

Second, who wants a God that they can completely comprehend?  If I am going to follow someone I want him or her to be better, smarter, stronger than I am.  Otherwise I would think that I should be the leader! I want a God who is way beyond anything I can comprehend.

And yet, God wants to be known and has chosen to reveal Himself to us in creation and in history.  Then He revealed His Heart to us in the gift of His Son, Jesus.  With the gift of Christ, God has given to us as much of Himself as we can handle, at least in this life.  Someday we will be “face to face” with God and know more of Him than we do now.  Will we ever know everything?  I don’t know.  But I hope that answer to that is “no.”

Part Two – God revealing part of Himself and keeping other parts hidden from us probably makes sense. But what about us, aren’t we entitled to a little privacy?  How can God share just parts of Himself and expect full disclosure of us?

Various Biblical characters through the years foolishly thought they could hide from God.  Adam and Eve hid in the Garden of Eden after they had sinned (God found them!).  Jonah thought he could escape God’s call by taking a cruise (You know what happened to him!).  Elijah thought he could get lost in a cave (God wasn’t fooled by that either!).  The fact is that God has His eyes on us 24-7, like the camera running constantly on some reality TV show.  Is that comforting or intimidating?

Children are sometimes concerned about the vigilance of God.  He can appear like a big Santa Claus in the sky always watching to see if we are naughty or nice.  And, of course, a child is highly aware that there are times when they are naughty!  I have a children’s message that I love to share that talks about this.  The punch line is “God loves you so much that He can’t take His eyes off you!”  That is true – for them and for us.  And it is wonderful!  But there is more to the story.

Do we really want anything in our lives hidden from God?  Your first response might be “Sure.  There are a lot of times that I hope that no one – especially God – knows what I have done or said or thought.”  Really?  These times might be embarrassing, even humiliating.  But do we really want them to be hidden from the One who can do something about them?

All teenagers make some good and some bad decisions.  When our kids were that age, our prayer was that when they made bad decisions, they would get caught!  Then they could learn from their mistakes.  The worst thing would be to mess up – and think they could get away with it!

How awful it would be to get to heaven, to have our life laid out before God (and us) and have Him say, “Gosh, I didn’t know about that.  That’s a real mess.  Too bad, I could have helped you with that!”  Do I really want any of my life to be private from God?  I hope not.   Do I want to worship and serve a God that I can fool?  I don’t think so!

God’s privacy policy does call for trust and faith.  It is not “fair” in that it is not a covenant between equals.  It takes faith to trust a God, who partially reveals Himself to us, with a full revelation of ourselves to Him.  However, how much would you be willing to trust someone who had made an enormous personal sacrifice for you?   Whatever sacrifices you can imagine that to be, God’s sacrifice offered for us is far greater.

What do you think about God’s privacy policy?

This Sunday we worship in the Tabernacle.  Worship is at 10:45 p.m.   We are going to celebrate a faithful Linwoodite, and I will be preaching about “The Son of Encouragement.”  I hope you can join with us.

Blessings on you.

Hu Auburn,
Linwood Park Pastor
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