When talking about prayers of petition I have occasionally heard people say something like, “Be careful what you pray for”. I now tend to think that this is a tongue in cheek remark, but I used to take it seriously. For example, if I was struggling with pride, if I realized that my ego was trying to stand between myself and God, I would naturally ask Him to grant me some humility. Of course, God might present me with a can of worms that I could be unprepared to open. Perhaps He would place me in such humbling circumstances that it may lead me to regret my request.
Is this a reasonable assumption to make? Even if it is nothing more than a witty remark, would it tend to reinforce the mindset of “God the Genie?” I have to admit that it has been sometime since I even remotely thought of God in this way. Since then I have been able to enjoy a trust in God that no longer puts me in the position of having to worry over what to pray for. God knows what I need, I leave it to him to help me work it out.
Then there is the tension that seems to exist in most of our minds over the Incarnation; Jesus as Fully Man as well as Fully Divine. Isn’t this a contradictory statement? Not really, not if you are able to understand this part of the Gospel message, an understanding that we often call ‘faith’. But until that understanding is realized some people seem to read stories in the New Testament as if they were an early issue of DC Comics – Jesus as Superman;
By day, he is akin to an ancient Jewish Clark Kent; mild mannered carpenter, dutiful son, trying to keep a low profile, But he has a secret identity that he shares with very few people; he is really God the Son. In this persona he performs miracles; walks on water, stills savage storms, changes water into wine, heals the sick, even raises the dead. He has a direct line to God the Father and claims to predict the future (although the jury is still out on his success rate in this paticular category).
When does Jesus realize that he is God? Early on he understands that he is the Son of God (and what, really does that mean?) but at what time does he understand that he is divine ? It would seem to me that at that time he must sacrifice the mantel of Fully Human, for even just the knowledge of personal divinity, not to mention the powers available to him, would obscure most of the frailties, if not the worries, of human existence.
Is Jesus God before the Resurrection? Or does he only realize it at that pivotal moment? Resurrected, he obviously is well beyond the human condition, as he is depicted in the Gospels. If aware of his divinity prior to the Easter moment, is it possible to view Jesus as fully man? Even the idea that he was completely without sin tends to make this difficult (at least for me) to understand. To be able to live life, from birth until death, without sin is unimaginable, even more difficult to accept than tales of the miraculous.
What do you think? Does anyone else struggle with “God the Genie” or “Jesus as Superman”?
(reprinted from Rev22.org)