There are several significant questions people ask at one point in their lives: God, where are you? God, who are you? What is wrong with the world? What’s the remedy?
I get that. I believe that all of the natural laws are corrupted by our finite minds anyway and that there is no universal reference point without God. Do we even know anything apart from Him? Yikes, because I am a human being, I don’t see anything truly apart from myself!
Painfully obvious disclaimer: I am not a Pascal, a Clairvaux, a Nouwen, a Chesterton, or a Lewis ... and I certainly don't claim to be Mother Teresa or on Pope Benedict XVI's impressive list of deep Christian thinkers (it IS a great list btw!). But this is my self, jotting down a few real thoughts about life, love and the pursuit of God. I have collected these over the past around-50 years and at one time or another put them in a particular file (I process slowly! lol). These are brief and may seem disconnected at times, but each comes from an experience with Him. Therefore they connect at the heart. Here we go ...
1. The truth is not the mere doctrine of Christ, but the character of Him, even, His personality (Romans 9:1).
You know a dear FRIEND'S nature, right?
2. The Prayer of Bernard of Clairvaux: “O my God, deep calls unto deep (Psalm 42:7). The deep of my profound misery calls to the deep of Your infinite mercy.” So. It seems we must be destroyed before we can be built.
Ugh, but ... okay. I'm ready.
3. You have seen His power on the mountain, but still, everyone often squints to hear His whisper in the wind.
Keep listening! Search for peace or power in higher places. (Isaiah 54:10)
4. God has given us the capability to think and to reason and to know – but we as all human beings are flawed; therefore, everyone comes up with different ways of thinking about God. (Deuteronomy 10:21)
Which one is right? YOU get to decide if this matters.
5. The past is similar to art in that you can never tell the whole story no matter how hard you try.
This occurred to me while lost in an art museum and finding myself choosing to stare at wildflowers instead of busy city streets. It was kinda rad.
If God gives such attention to the appearance of wildflowers—most of which are never even seen—don’t you think he’ll attend to you, take pride in you, do his best for you? What I’m trying to do here is to get you to relax, to not be so preoccupied with getting, so you can respond to God’s giving. People who don’t know God and the way he works fuss over these things, but you know both God and how he works. Steep your life in God-reality, God-initiative, God-provisions. Don’t worry about missing out. You’ll find all your everyday human concerns will be met.
6. God tells us to SEEK if we want to find, but we dangerously forget that he was also telling us to seek Him FIRST.
I often ask myself why I often put God off until second or third. And why, oh why, do I find myself baffled when I come up empty-handed?I think I heard a hearty lol-guffaw from the Almighty just now.
7. Mssr. Blaise Pascal believed that man wouldn't indeed be able to "find himself" because he is consistently in a battle with religion and reason, vanity and nothingness, which kinda leads to an egocentric predicament. The human being often strives for truth, but can’t seem actually to have it.
I get that ... but/so/and (choose a conjunction!) ... I have a guess that Pascal might agree that anyone who relies on something is religious, n’est-ce pas, monsieur?
8. The connection between knowing and doing is motivation. BEING and DOING are two different things, but the relationship between them remembers what you looked like in the mirror this morning.
I don't know about you, but I've found that HOW to motivate (myself or others - but mainly myself) is often a mystery. I'm so grateful that Christians can live under a law of liberty (see James 1:25!).
"But whoever catches a glimpse of the real counsel of God - the free life!- even out of the corner of his eye, and sticks with it, is no distracted scatterbrain, but a man or woman of action. That person will find delight or affirmation in the action."
9. Everyone experiences core wounds differently; be careful not to pass them around like a virus! (Job 5:17-19) We can’t be led out of the desert by someone who has never been there.
Ask any guidance counselour to confirm that one, right? It has served me well in the past not to second guess God and go ahead and hang around (sometime hanging ON for dear life!) even when I can't see His plan.
10. Praying begins when you don’t have anything to say and sometimes a shut mouth says what He really needs to hear.
Has anyone else learned that the hard way?
It has taken me a long time to publish this list. As I said, I'm NOT a deep thinker like Luther or Lewis. I have collected these thoughts over the years by recording them in a very NON-public place because I know my forgetful self (ok, you got me, it was just in a box) -- I want to remember what God has taught me, especially at the moment it matters.
I don't know about you, but I have obsessed of late with how short life is. Where should our passions and energies go to make a difference in this world? Is anything worth being angry? No. Find the desert experience from someone who has come out of it, not someone who is still wandering around there. Get out there and serve a lost world. Feed the hungry, be there for a teenager who lives with things that are destroying his or her life, be kind to the people you live with, love people who annoy you ... be a miracle. Believe.
In short and finally, believing is NOTHING like knowing. I don't simply "believe" in God ... I like to think I know Him. One might “believe” in God as he or she believes the sun will rise or the grass will grow in Spring. That's really, really cool. But one can also “believe” in God as an encouragement to the Almighty (“I believe in you!”), a show of confidence in the Creator (as if He needs assurance). I tend to think even God might like to know we give a rip. ;-) But even that isn't the kind of belief we are talking about here, is it?
At the end of the day, however long your "day" may be, I just hope that you don't simply "believe" in God either.
I pray that you KNOW Him.
(If you have a second, I would love to hear some things that He has taught YOU.
We learn from each other. And I have no doubt I can learn a LOT from YOU. Teach away!)