Kudos from God
One of the great metaphors used by Bill Wilson was God as a director, principal, or father.
Directors stand off-stage and give the actors final instructions before stepping out in front of the audience. A principal appoints an agent; the agent then leaves and negotiates business for the principal. And fathers teach life lessons to their children and send them out into the world to live and work.
In all three metaphors, we are given support and direction then sent out into the world. We are alone on stage, negotiating for our principal by ourselves, or leaving home to strike out on our own. In all three metaphors, we have independent agency from our father, director, or principal.
And in all three metaphors, we might receive both kudos and criticisms.
I can see a director giving an actor a high-five after an outstanding performance; a principal thanking her agent for negotiating a great price; a parent congratulating a child for doing the right thing. We can also imagine a director taking an actor aside, suggesting a different approach on stage; a principal might take an agent to task for exceeding his instructions; a parent might sit a child down and explain why she cannot do that again.
But God’s kudos and criticisms are are indirect, and that’s probably a good thing. A high five from God would be a bit overwhelming. And direct criticisms and corrections from God’s lips to my ears would not be pleasant. Instead, in my experience, He signals His approval with indirection; when He approves, things seem to run smoother. And conversely, He indirectly signals His disapproval and criticism, things seem more difficult.
In His indirection He is subtle, but I can feel the difference. A business operation goes well with everything falling into place when I am mindful and aware that it is meant to be. Even the most difficult conversations seem to unfold gracefully if I am obedient to His will. I am not referring to overall success; the business can still fail and the conversation can still have a bad result; but there is a different tone and I feel better about the process when God approves.
I have experienced the opposite as well. Business deals that should run like silk over glass feel ‘off’ for some reason. Conversations that should be easy are uncomfortable. And again, the business arrangement may still succeed and the conversation might have a good outcome, but it feels ‘off’ or leaves a bad taste.
We don’t seem to get direct kudos or criticisms from God, but if He approves, things seem better and smoother, or if He disapproves things just seem out of sorts. At least that is my experience.