Summary: We can turn out backs on God but God will never turn His back on us.
One of my favorite Twilight Zone episodes is entitled: "It's a Good Life." It starts out with the host, Rod Serling, standing on a dark stage with the map of the United States over his shoulder. Mr. Serling starts out:
"Tonight's story on the Twilight Zone is somewhat unique and calls for a different kind of introduction" (referring to the map). "This, as you may recognize, is a map of the United States. There (he points to the map) is the little town of Peaksville. On a given morning not too long ago (the map goes dark ... except for Peaksville) the rest of the world disappeared and Peaksville was left all alone. The inhabitants were never sure if the world was destroyed and only Peaksville was left untouched ... or whether the village had somehow or other been taken away.
"The cause? A monster had arrived in the village. Just by using his mind, he took away the automobiles, the electricity, the machines because they displeased him and he moved an entire community back into the Dark Ages using just his mind."
Mr. Serling introduces us to several of the townspeople of Peaksville. The TV shows a sturdy looking farmer. "This is Mr. Fremont. It is in his farm house that the monster resides." Shows a typical 50's housewife in the kitchen. "And this is Mrs. Freemont." Mr. Serling goes on to point out: "You will notice that the people of Peaksville, Ohio, HAVE to smile ... they have to think 'happy' thoughts and say happy things because once displeased, the monster can wish them into a cornfield or change them into a grotesque, walking horror." Mr. Serling explains that "this particular monster can read minds. He knows every thought ... can feel every emotion.
"Oh, yes," Mr. Serling pauses, "I did forget something, didn't I? I forgot to introduce you to ... the monster." And they show a typical six-year-old boy swinging on a fence gate.
"His name is Anthony Freemont. He's a six-year-old boy with a cute little boy face ... blue, guileless eyes ... but when these eyes look at you, you'd better be thinking happy thoughts."
You'd be surprised at how many people see God this way ... not as some cute little six-year-old boy ... and they certainly wouldn't use the word "monster" because that would displease God ... but they do see God as someone who can read your mind, who knows you every thought, every emotion you're feeling, and if you don't think 'happy' thoughts all the time, well ... something's gonna happen to you. God is going to use His mind to zap you somehow. He might not turn you into a stalk of corn, like Anthony Freemont might, but He might take away your health or the health of someone you love. He might cause you to lose your house or your job ... or keep you from getting a job ... or winning the lottery ... because He's displeased. How many times have I had people ask me: "Why is God doing this to me?" How many times have I asked God that same question: "Why? What have I done?"
The prevalent view in Jesus' day was that leprosy and blindness and a whole host of diseases and illnesses were the result of God's wrath or some form of punishment from God. Remember the disciples asking Jesus why a man they saw in the street was blind. Was it because he sinned or his parents sinned (John 9:2)?
What is God really like?
The question for many of us ... Christians and non-Christians is not whether God exists. The question really is: "What kind of God do you believe in?"
There are many religions in the world that present many differing pictures of God. Is He the God of the Muslim terrorists, like ISIS? Does He reward murdering terrorists who highjack planes, destroy whole villages, and kill thousands of innocent people? Does He want all the infidels killed, even if it means strapping a bomb to your body and killing yourself?
Is He the impersonal God of the Deists? Deism teaches that God created the world like some cosmic watch maker, wound it up, set it in motion, but now sits by, uncaring or unable to get involved in His creation or the lives of individuals.
Hinduism teaches that there are an almost infinite number of gods and goddesses , but the greatest god, or the essence of God that makes up all the other gods and goddesses is Brahmin, the impersonal but all pervasive life fore in every person.
New-age religion teaches that God is the Life Force in everything, which is why they worship trees and crystals and even themselves.
Is that what God is like? Is He Allah? Is He the Watchtower God? Is He Brahmin? Is He "The Force" as Steven Spielburg suggests in Star Wars?