When reason runs out

Fragments.jpgSince my move from New York a few months ago, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking.  Big surprise to those who know me, I know…  I won’t go into all the details, but in summation, my pondering has dwelt mostly on trying to make sense of my present–and failing–so instead, thinking of my future and what I want it to look like.  Yes, I’ve prayed for God to have his will in these hopes and dreams.  However, that’s just a part of the good familiar Proverb.  Ironically (or rather, sovereignly), as of late, Proverbs 3:5-6 as well as other verses are echoing in my head, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding in all your ways acknowledge him and he will make your paths straight,” “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet,” “Take up your cross and follow me,” and my grandma’s favorite, “But the Lord knows the way that I take and when he has tried me I shall come forth as gold.”* Together these verses have grounded me and reproofed me.  Perhaps, not always tied together, let me explain the dialogue these verses are making in my heart.

I am all too good at trusting in my own understanding.  Folks, that’s what getting good grades enables—self-assurance in my own ability to reason, analyze, and process through things.  Yes, sometimes my interpretations prove right, but when it comes to much of life, the reasoning is beyond my grasp.  This move for instance: I felt God’s direction in going, but I haven’t fully been able to see the reason for it.  So much of it screams, “why?”

In struggling to make sense of the present purpose, I switch to making plans for the future, the next chapter.  My way.  This move I did God’s way.  It doesn’t make sense to me, but thinking of a “better” alternative “my way” fails to follow that exhortation in Proverbs.  The proverb doesn’t claim that by forsaking my understanding, I will get God’s.  No, it just says, “trust” and watch.  God will guide step by step.  The Word guides as a lamp, little illuminations in the present, not floodlights to the future.

Living in the present is living in the unknown with acceptance but trust in the One who knows and who is supremely good.

I am called to trust and follow Jesus in His way.  His way wasn’t easy; it was filled with pain, isolation, rejection, loss, and ultimately, a cross.  But his way is also filled with restoration, healing, hope, new life, and ultimately, salvation.  What temporally is inexplicable and nonsensical—just ask Peter—is the eternal best for all humankind.  I will go through the fire in this life, but I will come out as gold—pure and holy.

God’s way is in the today.  It’s in the daily routine and unexpected interruptions to our plans.  It’s when and where he works to refine us and bring about the working of salvation.  Living in the present is living in the unknown with acceptance but trust in the One who knows and who is supremely good.  We’re just people—creatures—our knowing is nothing next to God’s.  Let’s trust him and let go of needing to know. (That’s what got us in this mess anyway–right, Adam and Eve?)

 *These verses are my memorized paraphrase of actual translations, not verbatim.


The Word

I was reading in Eugene Peterson’s book Christ Plays in Ten Thousand Places yesterday and came across a part where he tied God’s act of creation through word to Christ the Word in John 1.  This started a flow of thoughts of my own about God being Word.  John writes, “The Word was with God and the Word was God.”  The BIble often describes God as being _____ fill in the blank: love, good, just…and here Word.  I often have thought of language as a creation of God, certainly there is room for this in that at Babel new languages for humankind were created.  However, language is made of words and God is Word which makes me think that language as the category is not a creation but the essence of God.  What does this mean about God?  How do we see God using Word?

First, he creates.  When we see God being the Word that creates all things that are, it expands our understanding of God’s providence maintaining the existence and function of creation.  It shows how creation partakes in God, but I want to be careful to not take this too far and run into error toward pantheism in which God is in creation.  God only entered in creation in the incarnation of Jesus–Jesus is the only creation that can be called God, which leads to a second way God uses language.

Jesus uses language to reveal the way to God–to communicate salvation.  He is the Word Creator in creation using words to convey to his creations the truth of God.  God expresses himself in creation, he makes man in his image by giving him language, and uses that language to draw his creation back to himself, the source.  We see God, as the pure language, create through language humans with a lesser language, then in Jesus, pure language is in creation using the lesser language to communicate to created humans the way to perfect communication and communion with the God Creator.  Language is part of the whole circle of God’s relationship with his created humans.  It shows how God takes himself and gives to us.  I think this is helping me understand in a new way how Christ who is God saving created humans through himself has always been at work.  For now this is how I read John 1.