When you think of God, do you consider Him eccentric?
I know “eccentric” is not commonly found in the lists of God’s characteristics—alright, it is not on any of the lists—but by definition, I think He fits the description. Webster defines “eccentric” as deviating from the usual or accepted pattern.
I do realize Scripture declares Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb. 13:8) and that James says there is no variation in God (1:17). I recall that Psalm 55:19 states that God does not change. But these verses do not capture or speak to the essence of what it means to be an eccentric.
An eccentric person is out of the ordinary, unusual, different than we expect, or often than we accept. Eccentrics do not tolerate or fit prefabricated boxes. As a matter of fact, if you attempt to box them in they kick at the sides until they are free of the limitation. Neither will they be defined by comparison. They are their own person.
Rather than attempt to conform an eccentric to our world, if we are courageous and noble minded, we step into their world, listen to their thoughts, and capture the essence of what makes them tick. Only then do we grasp the person.
God is eccentric! He is unusual. He will not be defined by what we consider acceptable. He is extravagant, wasteful, unpredictable, inventive. Extravagant in His grace, wasteful with His liberal overtures of love, and He clearly operates on His own timetable. He is unpredictable and often finds joy in crafting solutions to our concerns that are conceived in His mind and way outside the boundaries of our best thinking.
I have spent many, many hours attempting to define God with lists of character qualities, to box Him in with His Word in order to predict His next move, to behave myself impeccably and in so doing predispose what He is honor-bound to do in response to my good behavior, just as Job did throughout his book. To no avail.
I have concluded: God operates outside the usual and deviates from the acceptable—that is, the plan I would have Him follow—with disarming frequency. It seems there is no other conclusion to be drawn than to enter His world and get to know Him on His terms. Job arrived at the same conclusion (ref. Job 42:1-6).
Rather than defining God as seems best to me, I am beholden to ask Him to tell me about Himself. Rather than imposing upon Him what I think seems good to me, I am remiss if I fail to ask Him for His perspective. Rather than tell Him what I consider acceptable, I need to hear His definition of acceptable.
As Paschal said, “God created man in His own image and man returned the favor.” Oh, my! I do not want a God that I have created. I do not want a God designed to meet the needs I am aware of in my life based upon my assessment of my needs. I do not want a God who is no bigger than my pint-size mind can conceive and my earthly perspective invents.
I want a God who is true to Himself, defined by no one, especially me. I want a God who determines my needs and meets them as He sees fit. I want a God who takes me to where He is rather than succumbing to where I am.
I have discovered that the more I attempt to figure God out only so I can place my expectations, assumptions, and manipulations upon Him, the more I am frustrated with the awareness that I have missed the mark and only captured the idea of God, not God Himself. But the more consistent I am in listening to Him tell me about Himself and describe His world, and the more responsive I am to His regular invitation to join Him in His place on the journey, the more I am able to say, “I know something of God and can vouch for who He is.”
This is very important! If we are to be advocates on behalf of our Heavenly Father, then it stands to reason we must know Him, and know Him well. If this is not the case, if all we know of Him is from a theological list, or what we have heard, or what we expect, or deem acceptable then we will render an inaccurate portrait of Him to those looking to us to provide an introduction to Him.
God will not let Himself be defined. He wants to be known!
It is not enough to know about God. No definition captures His essence fully. We must accept that He is extraordinary, even eccentric. He operates outside the norm and will not fit within the acceptable parameters we define for Him.
Rather than frustrate us, His eccentricities are an invitation to know Him for who He really is.
In my experience, God readily answers the prayer, “Father, tell me about yourself”—if only we will ask and listen.
To capture a picture of what God is like in story form, I recommend the novel No Mercy to you.