The Wildness of God



"Wild" is not an adjective we would generally use to describe God, but I think we make a mistake if we miss some of the beauty in understanding God as "wild". 

When I say, "wild",  I don’t mean wild like barren or unknowable, but I do mean unbreakable, uncontrollable, powerful, and untamable (Ps 115:3).

God has revealed himself to us. He has always desired relationship with humanity, and as such, redemptive history is quite simply a story of God desiring to dwell with his people. But generally, we tend to find ourselves focusing so much on God's desire to be in relationship with us, we forget his wildness. He has in many ways become a safe, sterilized, and benign god and friends that is no god at all. If we could control, manage, and never be surprised by the thing we worship, we would be very sad indeed.

Why Wild is Good

Now let me reason with you as to why we want our God to be wild; why it is a good thing that our God is wild, powerful, and uncontrollable. 

A god that is not wild is a god that is controllable (Eccl 8:17). If I am in control of or fully aware of all that a god is doing, I am on an equal playing field to the thing I am meant to worship. If I am on the same playing field to that god, what stops me from considering myself as god in that way? If I can control God, I am capable of the same things as a tame and predictable god. 

A god that is not wild is not worthy of worship (Job 42:1-3). Traditionally, humanity has worshipped the mountains, the weather, the sun, the moon, the stars...and that makes sense to me. All of the things we have been drawn to worship throughout history have been things that are so much more powerful and mighty than us. They show off their power is different ways: they erupt, explode, storm, shoot through the sky, burn down upon us, or intrigue us. They are, by nature, wild and we are drawn to worship that which is wild and powerful. We always have and always will worship that which is wild.

A god that is not wild is one that doesn't require faith (Rom 11:34). Just because God has revealed himself to us and we can be in relationship with him doesn’t mean he is fully predictable. We can know our God, but we still need faith to trust in him. That is good because of who he is, and how he desires to relate to us. He is a God who rewards those who seek him (Heb 11:6) because he continually reveals himself to us through relationship: a deeply involved, seeking, grace-filled, exciting relationship.

Finally, a god that is not wild is not one who can bring awe to my soul (Acts 2:43). Domesticated, trained, housebroken, and controllable gods can never leave us with wide eyes, trembling knees, tear-filled eyes, and open mouths. The God of the Bible is quite the opposite. He continually leaves those whom he engages with full of awe (Ex 34:30). If you have met the God of the Bible, you have been left filled with awe. If the Holy Spirit of God has moved in your life, you know what I am talking about. Never once, while drawn into the beauty of our great God, have I felt I was the one acting upon him -- he has acted upon me for my good -- and it leaves me in awe of him.

Trusting the Wildness

C.S. Lewis paints a beautiful scene toward the end of his book, The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. After Aslan, the lion, has defeated the White Witch and restored light and life to the Kingdom of Narnia, Lewis remarks of Aslan:

“One day you’ll see him and another you won’t. He doesn’t like being tied down—and of course he has other countries to attend to. It’s quite all right. He’ll often drop in. Only you mustn’t press him. He’s wild you know. Not like a tame lion” 

The wildness of God leads us to a right understanding, awe, respect, love, and adoration of him. Of course this is but one of the innumerable qualities of God, and it must be held in harmony with his other characteristics. Let us never fall prey to making God tame, housetrained, and boring --he is everything but that. Let us enjoy his wildness and power. Might it bring about the right adoring fear of our great and wild God.