We are tempted by our nature and taught by our culture to treat others as objects instead of people. Whether we are in conflict with others and think of them as barriers to what we want or we treat them as those who serve us, we frequently minimize others. We equate them with the functions they serve in our lives instead of as people who are complete individuals and have lives of their own. We do not think of them as people who have feelings, who have value.
We will often do the same thing with God. Cornelius Van Til is a theologian who spoke of the Creator Creature distinctive. He said that God is the creator and is the authority. God is, simply stated, the authority and ruler. Van Til also talked about how we frequently live as if we are the ruler and authority and we reverse the Creator Creature distinctive and think that we can tell God what to do and how to do it. In our minds God becomes our servant. We believe He is a tool we use to get what we want. He becomes an object to us.
God has not been, is not now, and cannot ever become an object. He is uniquely a complete and self defined being. He is the creator who defines everything else. He deserves worship and obedience. We are valuable and deserve respect because we are created in His image.
This is an important truth in how we live and how we counsel. When we believe we need to tell God how to act and what to do, we take up a job we are completely unfit to perform. When we look at our circumstances and believe we know what we need God to do to take care of us, we have made several errors. We have assumed that we have the ability to know what needs to be done. We do not. We have assumed that God does not know what needs to be done. He does. We also assume God is willing to allow us to be the authority and will do what He is told by us, His creatures. He is not. That does not mean that prayer is pointless. As we pray and talk with the Father, we grow. God teaches us to pray. He reveals Himself to us through Scripture and gives us promises He intends to fulfill. Even in such promises as Psalm 37:4-5 God calls us to delight in Him and promises He will give us the desire of our heart, which is God in whom we delight. However, God never becomes our tool or our servant. We never become the ruler. We never command God.
God loves us too much to let us take over the role that only He is able to fulfill. It would not be loving for Him to allow us to lead Him. He would be abdicating His place as the one who uniquely knows what is right and what He needs to do. Even Christ, in the garden of Gethsemane prayed to the Father and honestly spoke of His desires, but also submitted to the Father’s will because the Father would do what is right and good.
God is always active. He is always doing what is good. When we suffer, God is still active and is still loving us. It is important that we remember He is for us. We are the bride He loves. The problem is not that He is at a loss about what to do and is waiting upon us to tell Him. He is already doing what is good and necessary, but we do not see that. The problem is that we need to see Him at work. We need to focus on His plans and purposes. We need to trust Him.
One thing we can do to correct our perspective is to remember that He is sovereign. He cannot be ruled by another, and He is not an object.