Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Preserving the Mystery

So many times in life we are faced with information or a situation or a question in which we meet a wall that keeps us from seeing beyond what lies in front of us. At that wall we make a decision to either find a door that takes us to the other side of the wall or just stop and admire the beauty of the wall and the art that decorates it.

This wall represents "mystery." We can be satisfied with what the mystery presents itself as or press on to understand the mystery. What I've come to find out many times is that once the mystery is solved the "art on the wall" is no longer appreciated. Did you ever hear a song you like where you couldn't make out some of the lyrics? The song remains interesting to you because it's always a mystery as to what those particular words are. A few times I've searched out the lyrics in some of these types of songs and soon lose interest in the song.

I sort of wonder why small children enjoy the packaging to a toy more than the toy that's inside. Is it that the box represents all the wonder of what could be inside and then we are disappointed with the answer because it was never able to satisfy us in the first place?

What I'm trying to point out here is that there is beauty in mystery. Sometimes things should be left uncovered. I think this is why God only reveals some truths to us yet masks many others. Perhaps it is a mechanism to draw us to him. Isn't a relationship much more exciting when there are still things to learn about the other person? Once you've revealed all there is to know about them it kills the mystery. Yes, you can still love someone once you've gotten to know everything about them but the relationship becomes a cruise as opposed to a climb. Also, if you've ever watched one of those shows where they reveal magician's secrets you lose interest in those tricks and illusions.

Let's preserve mystery where we can so that life and God and all things can remain interesting.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Faith Over Fear

A few days ago I was driving along the highway in Northeast Georgia and took notice of the brightly colored flowers that were growing in the median. As I only had a few seconds to just glance over to see them I noticed that there were at least 3 or more different species of flower that was growing of all different colors and structures. I thought about how seeds and cells of animals all know exactly what to become: what there shape is, texture, color, scent or in an animals case, how many legs it will have, fur or hair, skin or scales. Needless to say, I was amazed at how these little seed or cells are barely anything yet they have all they need to become something specific.

As I pondered these things, I indirectly asked God how that's even possible. Just then, as I inhaled, I felt as though a small amount of air in addition to what I was taking in was blown into my lungs through my nose. It was slight but noticeable. So noticeable that I was freaked out a little by it.

I continued driving and stopped for a bite to eat a few minutes later. As I sat in the parking lot I was still left with the impression as to what had just happened a few minutes earlier. Then in that little voice you "hear" when you know God is speaking to you, (some of you know what I mean) God said, "they know what to do because I breathe my life into them."

The whole experience felt very real. It felt as though I had met God on a plane or dimension that we normally never(or rarely) see or experience. A confirmation of what Paul says in Romans 1:20 "For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse." It was clear to me that God's breath is in all living things and I was thankful that He showed me in such a powerfully subtle way, but I missed that experience I had which seemed like a live encounter with God and wondered if I would ever have that again.

So, last night I spoke to an old friend about it on Facebook. He shared a similar experience with me. He said that he felt this heat wash over his body and what he believed to be God, just as I did, say to relax and let it happen. He said he felt like he got healed of something but didn't know what. I found that very fascinating.

I told him that it upset me how I freaked out and the experience went away. Another example of this that I gave was when I think about eternity or infinity or space and my mind seems to leave the walls of time and space and drifts into places that seem so far from the natural world I am accustomed to. Then I stop because I can not comprehend those things so easily. But I want to go there. I want to know if you can stay in that experience longer and see or know something on a deeper level.

My friend had reminded me of the story of Peter when Jesus asks him to come out of the boat to him as Jesus is standing on the water. Peter steps out and for a brief time is standing on the water. Then he "freaks out" like I did and starts to sink. My question was, "what if we don't freak out but let it happen?" Is not allowing it to rush over us because of fear cause the feeling to go away? I pray that next time it happens I am ready for it because I really want to see where God will take me.

Does this mean that as a Christian I only pursue these kind of experiences? Absolutely not! They serve to make my faith stronger and deeper but I must chose to do what's right each day and continue to learn to love like God does. On the other hand, without these kinds of experiences it makes one's journey with God a little less lively.