Summary: God works in mysterious ways, as they say. And how truly mysterious it is and difficult to comprehend. Just when you think you've discovered a way in which God operates, he surprises you with another.
God works in mysterious ways, as they say. And how truly mysterious it is and difficult to comprehend. Just when you think you've discovered a way in which God operates, he surprises you with another.
At times he seems distant. At times it seems hopeless. At other times he is close. Sometimes he grants the prayer. Other times he refrains. Sometimes light wins the day, and sometimes it seems as though there is no shame in the universe and no hope for a better tomorrow. At times it seems that evil reigns. At other moments one wonders just how this world could be so dark with such wonderful souls within it.
To understand God is to understand who we really are, as humans. But who can understand God? Who can know his ways? No one may know him completely, but we can know certain truths about him. The wise seek out his hidden secrets, as it is written.
To be a truly wise person, that seems like the height of this life. We want a mind of wisdom. We want a mind fully absorbed in the truths of God. In short, we want the mind of Christ.
Life is a short and beautiful thing. I think of life as a vast forest. Though I was raised in the forests of Wisconsin, so that would make sense. But think of it... we watch a sun rise and set every day. We see a moon dangling in the sky. We see millions of stars in the sky. Nature grows from the ground, springs up into giant trees, flowers, fruits, vegetables, and all these wonders. We see people on their journeys. We can wander for hours and explore the vast landscape. How exciting don't you think? How absolutely amazing! It's simply incredible. We tend to muck it up though, don't we? We stare at computer screens. We sit in cubicles. We pay bills. We drive along the roads. And we rarely look up.
It reminds me of the classic C.S. Lewis novel, The Screw Tape Letters. One demon instructing another demon on how to stifle mankind from knowing God. Imagine if we all looked up a few times everyday. There wouldn't be a non-believer left. Abraham Lincoln agrees with that when he said, “I can see how it might be possible for a man to look down upon the earth and be an atheist, but I cannot conceive how a man could look up into the heavens and say there is no God.”
Today my assertion is this: God has not made us to live miserable and defeated. Though I sometimes feel that way. There are legitimate moments to feel such things. But in essence God has called us to a life of victories. Not victories in the normative sense, but victories of the soul. And victories over the world. Victory is the effect of Christ's victory, his gift of the Spirit, and the Spirit's work in our souls.
Let me tell you, before I knew Jesus I was quite assured of my own wisdom. Or I was at least quite well assured of my own militant agnosticism, and that I was right about it. Not very humble of me, I know.
Before I knew Jesus, and for most, before they know Jesus, their wisdom amounts to that of a drunk, crippled inebriate locked in a closet. I knew jack. They know jack. A central part of my walk with Jesus Christ has been slowly being made knowledgeable of the world around me. And of myself.
I had always been told Christianity was for dumb hicks and elderly grandmothers. And that at the greatest universities were all these great, complex philosophies and views. And I found much the opposite is true. The prevailing philosophies, like relativism and post-modernism are blatantly anti-intellectual, basically saying that there is no truth, there is no reason to study or look into anything, so just do whatever you want. Basically the philosophy of a beach bum or a drug addict, just garbed in higher terminology. And within Christianity, a wealth of wisdom, hard facts, and very difficult truths to follow. These are often truths about ourselves and about our conduct. Not necessarily about our critical rhetoric, or the things we believe within, but more what we brass tacks actually do. The word of God cuts right to the heart of our hypocrisy and demands better. Alone, not possible. No hope. With Jesus, it's inevitable. Victory comes like a flowing river.
Let's talk about a few ways in which God floods the light into our former darkness. It's versatile. It's far reaching. It's absolutely incredible. But a huge part of it is our active participation. God does the mighty work, we do the footwork. God provides the breakthroughs, we do the action steps in the real world.