I am not a tidy person. Clean and hygienic, yes, neat and tidy, not so much. Does it mean I do not like things to be neat and tidy? Of course not! I was just blessed (and spoiled) with super clean, neat, and tidy parents. Growing up in my parent’s house, there is a magic basket 一 all you need to do after a day out is to throw your dirty clothes into that basket, and magically it will reappear back in the closet clean and neatly folded.
We all wish life would be neat and tidy. You hope that everything will work exactly as you planned. You put a couple of quarters into the vending machine; you get a can of coke. You get into your car, turn the key, and you drive off to work. Unfortunately, life doesn’t always work out that way. You put your coins in, and the can gets stuck on its way out. You turn the key, ready to drive off, only to find a flat tire. In moments like these, don’t you wish you can activate God by sending him a quick prayer (like dropping quarters in a vending machine), and He will miraculously fix everything? Abracadabra!
The ancient Greek and Latin theatre had such a god-like character 一 Deus ex Machina, the God of the machine. Or in today’s lingua, the God that functions as activated and will fix all things immediately.
Well, fortunately (maybe for some of you, unfortunately), the Christian Trinitarian God is not a Deus ex Machina. He is not coldhearted and transactional but a relational affective God. Such a God cares for us not because we have paid the price but initiates the act of love because He sees us as His children. We do not need to earn it, nor can we buy it. We are asked to receive it. Will we always get what we want the way we want it? I’m glad I don’t. Looking back at my life, if I had gotten my way every time I wanted something. I probably would be in quite a mess. I might not even be alive today.
God is a God of love. He is not a Deus ex-Machina.