“The journey to God begins in silence, not speculation.” – Graham Tomlin in Looking Through the Cross
Who am I to understand God? This isn’t as self-deprecating as it may seem. After all, I am an intelligent, deep-thinking, introspective, and creative being … one who is given to moments of brilliance and unique, mind-changing epiphanies.
Yet, for all my earthly and human bound prowess, I must know and understand seeking to grasp all there is to know about God is unattainable, and furthermore, is undesirable.
For a God I can fashion in my mind is a lesser God, a mere shadow of the true God, and in many ways an idol. To worship the God that can be fathomed by human reason is an act of pure folly, and I suppose a kind of blasphemy.
I need to think again. I need to reenter into this relationship knowing I can never fully grasp, or in many ways, I should never seek to grasp the One, my God, the Creator.
My pilgrimage to this place must begin not in learning or research, but rather in silence.
So first things first. The title of this blog is not a boast nor is it confrontational challenge to anyone who does not consider themselves a Christian. I am not saying that I’m better than you are. It is only a statement of fact. I am a Christian. If you are reading this and you are not, that’s ok.
I do have to say however that this was not always a statement that I could make. I was an atheist who had no use for or time for religion or even God. Due to some tragedies and loss in my life compounded by my jaded view of the world being a police officer, I simply didn’t believe in or experience any proof of a loving God.
It’s not that I had not had religion in my life. I went to a Christian school K-4th grade. Then in 5th grade my…
In retrospect, making the decision to follow Christ and accept Him as my Lord and Savior through baptism, was the easy part of becoming a Christian.
And while I truly believe those word spoken by Christ, “my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light,” these days I’m beginning to find out how gifted I am at making the yoke heavier.
I suppose it’s a bit like committing to anything else, the first steps are the most joyous, full of hope, and bursting with potential, but as time goes by we do a wonderful job at placing obstacles in our own path which ultimately lead to us returning to our old ways, our old habits.
For me personally, this isn’t a yearning for my old sinful ways. I do not miss the person I was! Rather, the more difficult task is moving beyond the person I use to be and accepting the grace which God offers me each and every day.
My pastor’s teaching yesterday was quite honestly the most powerful and convicting one I’ve encountered in my entire life. He started with showing a painting by Rembrandt in which the artist had painted himself into the Crucifixion scene at the foot of the Cross.
Tyler, our pastor, then went on to talk the last days of Jesus on Earth, taking time to discuss the Crucifixion process and what Jesus’ body would have endured. The information was interesting and delivered compellingly.
Then, we were asked to do the same thing the artist had done, which changed the feeling of the situation entirely.
The luxury of attentive listening and learning was gone and the process of facing my shortcomings had begun.
I’d like to tell you I finished the process by the end of the service or after twenty minutes of quite reflection afterwards, but the truth of the matter is I’m still fixated on and struggling with my answers to this task some twenty-four hours later.
This past year has been difficult for my family. I contracted a rare muscle virus which has been so debilitating I lost my job, spent the better part of twelve weeks in a wheelchair, and went into debt searching for answers, which haven’t really come.
To make matters worse, even though I am improving, I still have setbacks, which cause all of us to believe everything is coming back.
One such setback came last week, on the worse possible day, my daughter’s graduation from elementary school. I had to sit during the festivities, be helped around as we made it from event to event, and eventually had to excuse myself from the celebration and return home to bed.