We are always looking for the character the God. We want to prove to ourselves that the world is indeed as we think it is, and the best way to prove that is to find the examples we want. But that selection, that picking of what we want to show, is disingenuous. Some choose only to look at the good; others to only look at the bad. How did only looking at the bad become “intellectual” instead of the flipside of blissful ignorance? Unblissful awareness misses the point of the world as much as blindly ignoring the evil in our sphere.
When we look at a dark world and only see the dark, that is the example we use to say God is dark, or dead, or not there. When we look at a bright world and use it to say that God provides health and wealth to those who call on him, we are not telling the truth. Those are not the real character of God; those parts of God are things that we (for whatever reason) wish were the whole of him. But when we look at the whole world, in its misery and majesty, there is so much to love and so much to hate. There is so much to work for and so much to enjoy. There is reason, there is unreason. Both. All. And this wide world to be explored, to be parsed, to be celebrated, this is the character of God, wild and wooly and wonderful, the whole world crying and singing at once and we get to live here.
For if we want to be alive, we must find something worth living for; and if we want to be inspiring, we must find something to be inspired by. And what greater than the whole world? The whole crater of creation, the cosmos of cosmopolitanism, the exchange of evils and errors and excellence. We have a burden, yes; there is pain here. But such joy! And such opportunity! To be alive should never cease to be amazing, even on nondescript Monday mornings at 9:21 a.m.
I imagine that this is the character of God; seeing all, taking joy in what should be reveled in, sorrowing at that which should not be. And when I start to look for the character of God in this way, I find it–because we always find what we are looking for when everything is available. Seeing the whole world, taking it in, living a full, wild life; this is the way to see the world. Not to fixate on the good or the bad, but to take it all in, to weave it into the tapestries of our thoughts, to work to make beautiful in future lines of the rug that which is not at the moment, to joy in the work that has already been done on that front.
What we think about the character of God reflects on the world we see. I see wonder and awe at it, awing not only at that which was made but that there is a creator who loved me so much that I get to live here with reason to not fear death.