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Friday, January 18, 2008

In a Fairy Tale Darkly

Prompted by a recent online discussion over a specific doctrinal interpretation, I began thinking about the way God chooses to reveal himself to us. For years the conflicts and disagreements over scripture distressed me. I kept thinking how easy it would be for God to make everything clear: have one definitive true religion that stood out from all others, with no contradictions or misunderstandings. That he could have had the Bible written as a rule book, along with a statement of who he is, and outlining in easy-to-understand sentences just what lay ahead for us.

Instead, God inspired dozens of writers over hundreds of years to relate their personal experience with him, revealing his qualities of loyalty, faithfulness, mercy, and intolerance for evil. When we see how lyrical and poetic the Bible is, with its allegories, songs, prose, metaphors, similes, symbolism, we start to realize the Bible is an amazing onion of many layers, with so many verses and accounts typifying others, foreshadowing and implying and resonating with other passages. It is a deep well with no bottom, allowing the seeker of God to journey and never reach the end.

As I continue on this God-seeking journey I am beginning to greatly appreciate these things. The accounts in the Bible stir my imagination, touch me emotionally, and cause me to meditate and ponder on who God is. We truly live in a fairy tale. God gave us a life with one purpose: that is to spend our days seeking and groping for him, and with the promise he would let himself be found by us. He puts the need in our hearts and let's us do the rest. This is a most wonderful way to get to know a personal, caring creator--for as we journey toward him, he inserts himself alongside us, showing us he is there, teaching, guiding, disciplining. All the things a loving father would do. For we would not consider a father very loving if all he did was give us a rule book and then sent us on our merry way.

We wander through the dark, seeking him, and what he hopes for, more than anything else, is that we will reach out a tentative hand and feel around for his, and that once we find it, we grip it tightly and never let go. As the 23rd Psalm says, he leads us beside still waters, into green pastures, and makes us lie down. Now, have you ever made your dog lie down, especially when she resists? You push gently, sometimes rearrange the legs, or even pull them right out from under her, to make her lie down. I chuckle, because that's how we are. Sometimes God just has to pull our legs out from under us to make us lie down in peace. And once we are there, comfortable in the warm spring grass beside our little creek, we realize how delightful it is, and how silly we were to resist and distrust our loving shepherd. He invites us to rest in him, for he knows how tough the journey is.

1 comment:

  1. I love this! Love, love, love it.

    I think the whole lying down thing could be stretched into its own article.

    Thanks, friend!