Cooperative Relationship with God?
For me, one of the greatest mysteries of God is His desire for a cooperative relationship with us. On the one hand, He could do so much more without our feeble efforts. Like a mother who could bake a cake in double-quick time—with half the fuss—the patience He shows at our childlike attempts is overwhelming. On the other hand, if we were robots, we could follow out His orders to the exact nth degree and avoid so much ‘human’ error. Like a father teaching his daughter mathematics, His commitment to our dullness is staggering. The Perfect God certainly took a massive risk involving us at all.
But baking the cake is only fun because Mum is doing it with her kids. The fact that flour is everywhere, little fingerprints cover the kitchen and the cake flops is insignificant compared to the joy of sharing this moment together. Doing maths is only rewarding because Dad gets to do it with his daughter. Seeing the penny drop and her eyes sparkle when she ‘gets it’ is so worth the pains of plodding through simple arithmetic. Life and love only happen in the being and doing together. We know this through the gift and wonder of parenthood. Yet we only have these holy impulses because God Himself is a Parent. And as a Parent, God longs to fellowship with us, to walk with us, to involve us … He invites us to partner with Him.
For sure, God is the Very Senior Partner in the equation … and it is important for us to never forget it! But we’re not robots. And we’re not spectators either. We’re children and as such we’re invited into a cooperative relationship with Father God. It is both our privilege and our responsibility. Yes, by His amazing grace we’re moving towards perfection; aware that it is not completely possible in this lifetime. But He is the God who perfects that which concerns us (Psalm 138:8); unbelievably patient with us and committed to us as we stumble and bumble along to look more and more like Jesus (Philippians 1:6). To resist His invitation is silly and sad. To cooperate with Him is to embark on a life of adventure.