As I have spent time with people over the last 10 years I have seen a common misconception of who God is. Due to our life experiences, background, family, and religious influences it seems there are at least 4 myths of God:
Santa God: This is that God that we turn to when we are in trouble and we need him to come through for us. We will call out to him in desperation to get a house, car, spouse, job, etc. Or even call out to him on more serious matters like the health of a loved one, relational conflict, or financial strain. We crawl up into his giant Santa God lap and let our requests be made known. When we find ourselves about to get a speeding ticket we think to ourselves, “Santa God, if you let me go with a “warning” then I will be good for the rest of the year.”
Coach God: This is the God that we never want to disappoint, never let down, and always try harder to please. We are confident if we do right by him he will do right by us. Coach God is hard to please and as a result we always feel like we have let him down. Instead of running more laps or doing more sit ups we will do more “religious activity” or do “nice things” for others, in the hopes that we can put ourselves in a right standing with Coach God.
Alcoholic Father God: This is the God that we can never count on for anything. He has let us down our whole life and when we see others looking to Him or talking about Him, it makes us feel angry. We look at them and think, “Why would they expect this God to come through for them?” All He has done is let us down and never shown up for anything. It frustrates us that anyone could respect or admire someone who has done so little.
Absent God: This is the God that is never there and uninvolved. Compared to the Alcoholic God who is present but unreliable, the Absent God doesn’t even bother to show up. He has left a void that has left us to our own end and find direction as we see best fit.
In the end, these are all misunderstandings of who God is and seem to be mostly shaped by our experiences and conclusions in life. Fortunately, God has given us a description of who He is and it is captured in scripture. The challenge is for us to take the time to read the scripture and seek a clearer understanding and not settle for some myths that we have concluded on our own.