I’d been trying to put a half-nelson on these evasive thoughts for days. This was day 3.
Huh. Isn’t there something in the Bible about the whole three-day thing? Thus far I’d managed to enjoy several pots of great coffee and chase mental squirrels. It’s a frustrating process for an organized type to be ganged up on by disorganized events. And, of course, all of them needed attention.
Three days I’d sat thinking and making notes while outdoor heat and cold played leapfrog. And wet and sort of dry played tag. Third day. That’s a long time to sit. I figured I’m about dew.
Playing with words is fun. In a writer’s world, words and imagination are queen and king. And imagination is only an issue for those without one.
I’d just settled down with a fresh-ground, fresh-brewed pot of Nicaraguan Estate joe. Soft music helped set the tone. My notes were arranged on my desk. They weren’t in order because there isn’t one.
That’s what had my mind wrapped around its axle. I kept trying to make sense out of extrasense. Order out of superorder. Human organization out of divine perfection. Oh, there’s a a picture: “Hey, God? Listen, take a seat while I organize Heaven.” Okay, what’s so funny? Once I realized all that, I sensed a peace start to settle in, from inside-out.
That always means God’s doing the directing, which means whatever’s on the real big IMAX is going to be more blockbusting than whatever I’d have come up with on my own.
Okay. Ready. Even the music that was just playing was interrupted by—-
(Sigh…) Really? “Come in.”
“Hey, I know you always have coffee. Just popped in for a cup. Don’t mind me. I know you’re usually catching up on Saturdays, anyway. Figured you might enjoy some company.”
“Why are you looking at me like that? You have that sort of glint that always means—-tell you what, I-I-I’ll just bring this cup back next time. Check you la—–”
I was smiling and slowly shaking my head. “Plant it.” God knew I needed a sounding board. I trust his agile, fertile mind. Usually. Here’s what I bounced off him.
God’s plans for your life far exceed your present circumstances. What He wants to accomplish in you is nothing short of awesome, and you know I sparingly use that term. But that looks like Tom Jefferson’s beat-up readers next to the Hubble telescope compared to what God wants to do through you.
You can’t see it. It would boggle your mind and strip your soul’s sprocket if you did. Listen to this:
“Since before time began no one has ever imagined, no ear heard, no eye seen a God like you who works for those who wait for him. You meet those who happily do what is right, who keep a good memory of the way You work.” (Isaiah 64:4-5, The Message) Paul formerly-known-as-Saul-of-Tarsus grabbed onto that thought:
“God can do anything, you know–far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.” (Ephesians 2:20)
I think I’ve figured it out. The reason why no one wants to closely read the Bible?
It reads them. Us. Me.
Imagine that. I mean, the audacity of God to get all nosey and intrude into my life every time I crack the cover of the Bible, or pull up the YouVersion on my phone or pop in a DVD. ANY Bible, ANY translation or version. I mean, I’m just trying to do what good little Christians do without becoming a whackdoodle about it. You know, read my little verses, say my little prayers, check the box by today’s date . . . and what I read squints it’s eyes at me like Eastwood in Dirty Harry and says it.
“I know what you’re thinkin’.”
Now, I ask you. How is that fair? I work up the resolve to open that Bible again and what happens? I get nailed again. “For the word of God is full of living power. It is sharper than the sharpest knife, cutting deep into our innermost thoughts and desires. It exposes us for what we really are” (Hebrews 4:12).
A pattern seems to be developing.
Every time I read or listen to The Bible it starts in on me again, drawing me out of myself and closer to God. Same thing happens with you, too.
Something else hit me, too. Yeah, like the baseball that kept getting bigger and bigger.
While I was reading and mulling over what those truth-marinated passages had to say, it finally triggered what music was playing. It was a simple piano solo of an old hymn: “My Faith Looks Up To Thee”.
WooHoo! Wild applause! Bapple!
Whenever you’re done . . .
Read it like this, O underwhelmed One: “My Faith Looks UP To Thee”. Not ‘across’ or ‘over’. That’s what we’d all prefer. PalGod. BuddyDios. GodLite.
So long as we have a god made in our own image, we can live with that. We’re good with it. Nothing much expected, no commitment. Somebody mentions God at a wedding or funeral or during church (when we go) and it’s no big thing. We just reach across or even down and put our arm around who- or whatever ‘Godness’ is to us.
God is my best bud.
To parrot The Duke, “Not hardly.”
What The Bible does every time we read it is reestablish Who and What and Where and How God actually is. The Bible reveals God as He is, not how we’d prefer Him. And our faith has to reach UP to Him, because His ways and thoughts are way way up there.
Ours are not. “I don’t think the way you think. The way you work isn’t the way I work.” GOD’S DECREE. “For as the sky soars high above the earth, so the way I work surpasses the way you work, and the way I think is beyond the way you think” (Isaiah 55:8).
Now think about the other statement of Isaiah about a God “who works for those who wait for him“. Then revisit the other one: “who keep a good memory” of the way God works.
Let’s recap, shall we?
- The Bible is God’s Words to us: therefore, while we’re reading it, it’s reading us.
- God’s way more than our pal, our Celestial bro we fistbump every morning. He’s Sovereign Creator whose thoughts and ways of doing things are light years beyond anything we can even imagine.
- God don’t operate on our timetable, schedule, or even our frequency. Though it galls us to admit it, He’s never, ever failed to work in and through our lives and He’s always been perfectly on time.
So go ahead. Imagine away. The old prophet said it, way-y-y back there. You can’t possibly come up with anything that even is in the same galaxy with what God routinely, actually does in the lives of those who leave the means and timing up to Him.
And His timing, like everything else about Him, is perfect.
It’s mighty tough to improve on perfect.
© August 2013