As I correspond to different people on the internet, it often strikes me how foreign their concept of God is to me. To them, God is usually some kind of all-powerful, invisible sky-man who enjoys torturing humans as much as possible. He enjoys it so much that after humans die, he loves to toss them into hell and torture them for all eternity. In fact, he makes people specifically to break his laws. He makes the homosexuals, the murderers, the liars, and thieves so he has a pretext to rev up the cosmic cuisinart and set it to "annihilate". He is a bloodthirsty sadist who likes war, death, and disease, else why would he permit it if he were all-powerful? He is angry, wrathful, vengeful, and vindictive. He is an unreasonable prig, a killjoy, a meddling menace with his fingers in everyone's pie.
It does not surprise me to find the people who hold this view either hate God or say there is no God. I would not like that god either, and it would be my fondest hope that he did not exist. My God is different though. He is a God of relationship, a personal God, and He's been that way from the very beginning. Let's take a look at one of God's first interactions with His new creation in Genesis 2:18-24:
18 And the Lord God said, "It is not good that man should be alone; I will make him a helper comparable to him." 19 Out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field and every bird of the air, and brought them to Adam to see what he would call them. And whatever Adam called each living creature, that was its name. 20 So Adam gave names to all cattle, to the birds of the air, and to every beast of the field. But for Adam there was not found a helper comparable to him. 21 And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall on Adam, and he slept; and He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh in its place. 22 Then the rib which the Lord God had taken from man He made into a woman, and He brought her to the man. 23 And Adam said: "This is now bone of my bones And flesh of my flesh; She shall be called Woman, Because she was taken out of Man." 24 Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.
What's the first thing God declares "not good" about His creation? He's alone...nobody to relate to. Now what I find interesting is what God does next. He doesn't mold more dirt into another person. He doesn't seize Adam and steal one of his ribs. No, He brings Adam animals so he can name them. It used to puzzle me why God did that, but then as I grew in my own relationship with God, it occurred to me that God was leading Adam to ask the right questions, just as He has done in my life. It is not written in the account, and I suppose others more knowledgeable than me could raise strong arguments against it, but I think God did this to get Adam's permission to create Eve. I can imagine the conversation below after Adam names the animals:
"Father, each of these animals is always mated with another. One is larger and stronger and the other is smaller and weaker. They look similar, like they are the same animal, yet they are separate and different. Why is that?"
"The stronger animal is the male and the smaller is the female. They are mated so they can reproduce after their own kind. The lions you just named will produce many more lions."
"Oh. Do I have a mate?"
"No, not yet. Would you like one?"
"I don't know. How? Where could you find a mate for me?"
"I will create a mate just for you, as I did with the animals."
"If You can do that, why haven't You done it already, like with the animals?"
"Because you are not like the animals. You are made in My Own image. I have given you free will so you can decide whether or not to do a thing. I will not violate your free will, else it would no longer be free. The creation of your mate requires your permission, for I will take a rib from your own body and create your mate from it. Will you allow it?"
"Will it hurt?"
"No. I will place you in a deep sleep, and you will awake after it is finished."
"Then let it be as You will."
I know it is not what is written, but I think it not unreasonable to suppose that a conversation close to this actually happened. In verse 23, Adam appears to know exactly what God did. More importantly, it fits with what I know of God's unchanging character. Read what Christ, Who is God, says in Revelation 3:20:
Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me.
This is Christ's famous invitation to all to claim Him as Friend, Savior, and Master. He does not break down the door and commandeer your heart. He does not pound on the door and shout threats. He knocks and asks for permission to enter. God is always a gentleman with the emphasis on gentle, and He speaks in a still, small voice. He is a personal God Who speaks to our secret hurts and our desperate need. Won't you open the door today?