A Vulnerable God

January 24-30

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Moses 7 is fascinating to me. There are few other chapters, in my opinion, where the Lord seems more human than in this chapter when He is speaking with Enoch. When I say “human,” I mean characteristics like real, approachable, Someone you could stand next to. There is one characteristic that I see in our Lord that is not often emphasized or spoken of; it is the characteristic of vulnerability.

It is not customary to think of the Lord as vulnerable. However, the definition of “vulnerable,” is “to be susceptible to physical or emotional attack.” Obviously, none of us are worried about the Lord being physically attacked by something He can’t handle. However, we hold a large enough part of His heart and because of that, we are sometimes the source of His weeping. This is an indication of vulnerability.

Vulnerability is often looked upon as a weakness, but as we study Moses 7, a picture is painted of a Savior who feels deeply, is affected by us deeply, and remains the all-powerful Being we are more familiar with. How is the Lord vulnerable, and how does He remain all-powerful?

How is the Lord vulnerable?

This answer is quite simple. He chooses to love us, and this makes Him vulnerable to heartache. The two are inseparable when you’re dealing with imperfect humans. Let’s look at a couple verses that cause me to believe He loves us.

Moses 7:28 And it came to pass that the God of heaven looked upon the residue of the people, and he wept; and Enoch bore record of it, saying: How is it that the heavens weep, and shed forth their tears as the rain upon the mountains?

He loves us enough that He weeps. Already kinda covered that one. Next verse, but first, lets get some context.

Enoch had just been taken on a roller coaster with visions. He saw a whole lot of pain in the world, and Enoch begged the Lord to have mercy. This is what happens.

51 And the Lord could not withhold; and he covenanted with Enoch, and sware unto him with an oath, that he would stay the floods; that he would call upon the children of Noah;

The Lord could not withhold. He couldn’t help Himself from answering Enoch’s pleadings with assurances that He would show mercy.

So there you have it. The Lord loves us, and this has caused Him to be vulnerable in some aspects of the word.

There are different kinds of vulnerability. There are even different kinds of emotional vulnerability (since we’ve already covered the fact that the Lord is not susceptible to physical attacks). There is the kind of vulnerability that the Lord has: a deep love that causes Him to hurt sometimes over us. We have all experienced that kind of vulnerability to a degree. We have all loved some and experienced some level of sadness when our loved one has experienced sadness. 

Then there is the other kind of emotional vulnerability. When we do not have a solid testimony of our innate worth, we make ourselves vulnerable to other kinds of validation that are far more arbitrary than the Lord’s. This can manifest as image-control: when you choose to only put forth certain emotions and experiences that hopefully lead others to believe that we have worth. Christ has not experienced this kind of vulnerability, and that’s important to recognize because it answers our next question.

How is the Lord still all-powerful?

How is the Lord still all-powerful?

There are different kinds of powers. There is the power to control the seas, and the Lord weeping over us isn’t going to change the fact that He can calm a storm. The power I really want to talk about is the ability to experience happiness, joy, contentment, peace. And if you really think about it, that is probably the most important kind of power because that is what eternal life is.

Even if you are Jesus Christ, you can still experience pain in the eternities. You can still weep for those you love who refuse to come home. Having eternal life is not the absence of pain; it is the ability to experience the most amount of happiness, joy, and peace forever. That’s why we try to be like Christ. That’s why we try to live like He did. Living how He lives, becoming as He is, is the way that we find that supreme amount of goodness that eternity has to offer.

So let’s tie this back to vulnerability. We have learned this thus far: Despite the Lord’s vulnerability caused by His love for us, He has the power to be happy in the supreme sense.

Now I want to take it a step further.

Why He holds the power of happiness

Because of the Lord’s vulnerability caused by His love for us, He has the power to be happy in the supreme sense.

Vulnerability is an essential ingredient for happiness because it’s an essential ingredient for connection.

When we are vulnerable in the way that the Lord is vulnerable, we discover the true key to happiness. 

Let’s imagine ourselves on the other side yet again. You have everything you could ever need or want, and you have all the time to experience all the good things and to develop all the best skills. There is a joy that comes with learning a new skill or experiencing financial security. Let’s not pretend like that’s not true because it is. It feels good to feel secure about the future. It feels good to learn to sing or play the guitar. It feels good to learn how to play a sport, read, build, create. There is great joy in these kinds of things. There is also an end to the joy that stems from these things because there is no end to time. Eventually you’ve learned all the things and you’ve reached a point where financial security is kinda just a fact of eternal life.

So where does the joy-for-eternity-thing come in?

It comes from connection to others. When all the trials and successes of this earth are stripped away, we will be living with our choices and our relationships. If we lived righteously and loved others, happiness will naturally spring from that. Happiness will come from our deep, fulfilling connections to others, and it will come from the connection we will feel to those spirits that come after us. But you can’t have connection without vulnerability.

Vulnerability the way He does it

Everyone is vulnerable. Everyone. No matter how great your image-control has been, no matter how hard you’ve worked to keep people out of your heart, you are vulnerable. The real question is whether you’ve chosen to be vulnerable in the way that Christ is vulnerable. 

A couple things can happen when you choose the kind of vulnerability that does not reflect Christ’s vulnerability. This kind of vulnerability usually stems from prior rejection or a feeling that you’re not good enough. You put up this image that is meant to protect you from further feelings of pain. For some, that image looks confident and happy and successful. If people think you have all these positive traits, they will accept you as one of their own. But those who project this image (rather than truly experiencing it) also hold a nagging fear that they will be found out. They worry that if they don’t constantly hold up that inaccurate image, someone will see who they actually are and reinforce the belief that they are unworthy. For others, this image looks cold and apathetic. They don’t care what you think so you can’t hurt them. Those who project this second image are just lying to themselves. There’s really no other way of putting that. You wouldn’t be putting forth a cold and apathetic image if you didn’t care what people thought.

*I don’t say this to make anyone feel bad for this kind of vulnerability. My guess is that 99% of people experience this kind of vulnerability (if not 100%). I experience this kind of vulnerability all the time. Don’t feel guilty about it. I merely point it out so that we can overcome it. You can’t overcome it if you can’t see it.*

Let’s turn back to Moses 7 and look at the kind of vulnerability Christ experiences. 

So Enoch asks Christ why He was weeping, and this is part of Christ’s response.

Moses 7:36-37

36 Wherefore, I can stretch forth mine hands and hold all the creations which I have made; and mine eye can pierce them also, and among all the workmanship of mine hands there has not been so great wickedness as among thy brethren.

37 But behold, their sins shall be upon the heads of their fathers; Satan shall be their father, and misery shall be their doom; and the whole heavens shall weep over them, even all the workmanship of mine hands; wherefore should not the heavens weep, seeing these shall suffer?

When we experience vulnerability in any way other than how Christ does it, we are usually worried about ourselves. We’re worried that others won’t love us, that we’ll be rejected. These are universal feelings of mankind, and they are also feelings that will keep us from experiencing the kind of happiness that Christ experiences. We all have to work to overcome worrying about ourselves.

Look at why Christ weeped. He made them and misery would be their doom. He’s asking Enoch, “Why wouldn’t the heavens weep knowing that THEY will suffer?” Let’s not even go into the fact that Christ would likewise be experiencing that suffering for us. Let’s just talk about the fact that He was weeping because we were suffering.

There will always be hard parts of eternity. There will always be weeping so long as the heavens give the gift of agency. There will always be vulnerability in one way or another. But when we choose to be vulnerable in the way that Christ is vulnerable, we can find much more peace and happiness than in any other way. When we take ourselves completely out of the equation and focus solely on others, we will experience some pain but we will also experience the deepest joys of eternity.

I believe in Christ. I know there’s a reason He keeps trying to get us to follow after Him. I know it’s because He wants us to be happy.

2 thoughts on “A Vulnerable God

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