Should we be "frightened" of an alien, extra-terrestrial being who is all-powerful?
|Well, no … but … yes.|
When I gave my life to God, I came to him because I needed something. I prayed to Him in the hopes that He was real and that He would consider giving me a second chance at life. I wasn’t sure that I truly believed in Him, though. Actually, I wasn’t sure I wanted God actually to be real. Yes, I needed help, but what was the price I would have to pay? I grew up believing that no one did anything for nothing, and I did not believe that God, if He existed at all, would be any different. And I will admit that I found out later that I was right. He does want something … everything.
I suffered much abuse as a child. My father abandoned my mother and his three sons to go and create a whole new family. My mother abandoned the three of us to the system, where we suffered at the hands of the foster family they put us with. She did eventually come back for us, but the damage had already been done. Then, to make matters worse, she spent many more years abusing us for our father's actions. As the oldest, I was constantly in her crosshairs.
I learned to hate my mother. I already had lost all respect for my father, the coward, and the constant contention between my mother and me deepened the animosity that began when I was five years old when she dumped us into the hands of abusive foster parents. I ended up a confused, troubled, and angry child. My grades in school were bad. I don’t know how or why they kept passing me from grade to grade. I kept getting into trouble with the law so much that I was on a first-name basis with some of the guards at the local juvenile center. I even spent almost a year at a county juvenile detention home in Dallas. All of this before I was 15 years of age.
In my sixteenth year, I was involved in an altercation between two gangs, which resulted in my serving a two-year period at the Mountain View Youth Detention Center, a place that was more like a prison than some detention center. And, like a prison, I had to learn to fight and defend myself. In one fight with another inmate (as we were called), I was stabbed and almost died, and I won the fight! I hardened much more in those two years. I came to believe that everyone was my enemy. I learned to trust no one. I had to become one of the bullies to keep the real bullies away. Most of the time I was there, no one wrote to me, especially not my mother or siblings. I did not know much back then, but I “knew” one thing: I was alone.
Eventually, I started getting letters from a young lady I had met before serving time. After I was released, I met up with her, and soon after, we got married. But, I was about as knowledgeable about marriage as a pig knows how to be a horse. He can pretend at it, but he just comes off looking stupid. That was me. I wanted to do all the right things for her and me, but I had not even the slightest clue what to do. She and I started getting into arguments, mostly because of my jealousy and stupidity. I was so frustrated that I sought counsel from a guy who had served time with me and had come to marry my wife’s sister. He told me that all I had to do whenever my wife argued with me was punch her in the face and that she would stop. To show you how stupid and gullible I was, the very next time we argued, I did exactly that: I hit her. She divorced me before we had been married one year. I hated life. All I found in life was one disappointment after another. The worst part was that I did not realize I was doing much of that to myself. I felt like a nobody, and nothing seemed to be happening that was proving me wrong. Shortly after this, I heard of this group called the Brown Berets. The Berets, a national organization of Chicanos similar to the Black Panthers, had grown from Los Angeles, California, all the way to Texas. When I heard about them, that caught my full attention.
By then, I had been part of a group of men who hung together and mostly smoked “grass” and drank alcohol, some of whom I had known since my youth. I had been the de facto leader for years, so when I encouraged them to go with me to see about these Brown Berets, they readily went. I fell hook, line, and sinker for the rhetoric and propaganda. I first spent the next ten years of my life as a member. Then, with time, I became the leader of the organization. At first, it seemed to be the answer I had been searching for … relevance and importance. I had always felt unimportant and useless; here was an opportunity to do something that would matter. I even slowed down on my drinking and smoking Marijuana.
It was during this time that I met my wife, Lydia. Our courtship was short, and we got married and had our first son the next year. But, I entered this marriage with much the same maturity as the first, little to none. The arguments increased as the use of drugs and alcohol increased. I began abusing my wife physically, emotionally, and verbally in a short time. Our relationship, much like my confidence in the goals of the Brown Berets, suffered much. By the end of the 1980s, I quit the Brown Berets and shrugged off any commitment to the Chicano Movement. A few years later, Lydia and I were going through a divorce, which I deserved. I remember thinking, one evening, of my broken life and how I had destroyed it. I didn’t care if I lived or not. This is what I brought to God: a broken life. I had no trust in any human. I was not going to go to some person to get help. I did not know what to do or who to trust, even if I wanted to go to someone for help.
When I was 11, I walked the aisle at a Baptist church and “accepted Jesus as my Savior.” At 12 years old, I rejected Him and all He stood for. I hated God. For the next twenty years, I was a true jerk against anyone who would identify themselves as a Christian. So, that evening, when I was self-evaluating, God was not initially on my mind, but I could not find any other way.
A local church pastor, who would come to the TV studio (where I was Manager) to make TV shows, invited me to go with him to hear, as he said, “A preacher from New York who worked with gangs.” My wife and I were separated at the time and going through the divorce I mentioned above, so I had nothing else to do. I took both my sons with me. My oldest sat at my side, and my youngest sat on my lap. We were at the Irving Convention Center with about another couple of thousand persons (or so it seemed to me). David Wilkerson, the preacher and author of “The Cross and the Switchblade,” seemed to go on and on. I was mostly numb. I heard his preaching sort of like rumbling sounds in my head. I wasn’t really listening. I was focusing mostly on my problems. Somewhere through the rumbling, I heard him say, “Give God a chance to prove to you that He can do what He says He can do.”
Give God a chance!? Did I hear him right? I said to myself, God doesn’t need a chance! I am the one who needs a chance! The preacher’s statement sounded so ludicrous to me. I was the one who had messed up his life, not God. God didn’t need “chances,” but I did. Anger and frustration welled in me, but I knew it was time to quit fighting. With tears running down my cheeks, I prayed. God, if you exist and change me, you can have me.
I wasn’t looking for religion. I wasn’t looking for a “savior.” I wasn’t interested in joining any church. I didn’t care about any Bible. I needed and wanted help changing. I did not want to be that man anymore. I did not want to be an abuser. I did not want to be a drug addict anymore. I did not want to be the man my children and wife feared. I didn’t want to hurt people anymore. All I had was hope that God could somehow help me change for real. So, as my journey with God began, I knew I had to make some real decisions. If God, if He really existed, was going to have a chance at changing me, I knew I would not have to fight Him. If I began the “change” process resisting Him, I knew I might as well just quit right there and stop playing games. Real change demands real choices. So, as I began attending a small local Spanish church, I began making those decisions.
First, I decided that God was real. No, not just some statement in my head. I considered what it meant that God was real. Imagine with me. If God is real, then we have an alien being with total complete power. To begin with, there are three basic things that have to be real for God to be a real, true GOD.
1. He must be omniscient. This means that for God to be a real GOD, He must be able to know everything, past, present, and future, and all at the same time. If He cannot do that, He is no God.
2. He must be omnipresent. This means that for God to be a real GOD, He must be able to be anywhere, everywhere, wherever He wants, or all at the same time. If He cannot do that, He is no God.
3. He must be omnipotent. That means He would have to be able to do and capable of doing anything and that there would be nothing that He would be unable to do. On top of that, you and I have no recourse should God decide to do something we would not like. If He cannot do that, He is no God.
I don’t know about you, but all of that scares the hell out of me. I only have to start to imagine the kind of power God has to have for me to feel so small and powerless in comparison. I don’t understand how others talk about the Lord as if He were just some buddy of ours who does our bidding. I grew up around people who were more powerful than me. I saw how they misused their strength, size, and abilities to impose themselves on me and others. I never easily disregard strength, authority, and power in others. I tend to do as the Russians: I “trust, but verify.”
So, even in dealing with the Lord, I recognize power and authority when confronted with it. When I told God that He could “have” me, I meant it. I was not speaking of some religious gesture on my part. I detested religion and had, up to that moment, not changed my perspective about that. I knew that if He truly did change me, I would be his “property” for the rest of my life. I knew what that meant: He was the Master, and I was the slave. That he could do with me and my life as He chose. I was not going to have or be given, a choice in the matter. I would be destined to serve Him for the rest of my life and do His bidding. And, if you think that I found that difficult or a hardship, all I can say is, “Hell No!” If I had to choose between being God’s slave and returning to being the man I was, I would rather serve God for the rest of my life.
So, should we be scared of God? Yes, but … no. Yes, in the sense that we should acknowledge this extra-terrestrial being that has an army of aliens (angels) at His beck and call. Yes, in the sense that God can do things to your life, and you have no recourse or ability to do anything about it. The Bible says, “It is a terrible thing to fall into the hands of the living God” (Hebrews 10:31 NLT). It is not joking when it says that.
We, humans, treat God as though He is powerless or, worse, just a servant of ours, here to do our bidding. If you really believe in God, you know that one day, we will stand in judgment before Him. And this is really important, so pay careful attention. He doesn’t have to let you into His kingdom. In fact, in Matthew 7:21, Jesus says, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven...” God isn’t playing around. He is serious. If you don’t want to get serious, you can go to hell instead because only He will decide who gets in.
On the other hand, besides knowing His power and authority, I have also come to trust His word. I have reached a point where I have given God the “chance to prove that He can do what He says He can do.” I have learned to trust God. So, when the Bible tells me that God loves me, I believe it. That is my choice. My decision. That means that while the very thought of a powerful alien being that is powerful enough to destroy the whole earth scares the hell out of me, I also believe that He loves me. So, I am not specifically scared of God, but I do fear Him in Biblical terms.