Tuesday, November 09, 2004
The Daily Dose of God-Stuff
Naturally, this is worrisome. I expected it to be a passing phase as ownership of my soul passed from me to God. After that transaction was complete I expected to be back in business, as usual. That's the model I saw around me.
What does a life of faith look like from the outside? I expect it should look different, but maybe it doesn't. Maybe the differences are almost all internal so that a person looking at another who lives a life of faith wouldn't see much difference. The person of faith goes to work, buys groceries, does the laundry, gets sick.
I have a remnant dream. Work has never motivated me; it's what everyone does. I don't want to be another device to produce work, or a component in some larger machine. I want to be myself, unique, doing things that only I can do. I work to pay the bills. My soul is looking for something else, something bright and shining that's so far beyond my reach that I have only hints of its existence. Like the Spanish walking all over the central United States looking for El Dorado, I keep hoping. It's amazing how robust that hope has been, even in later years when the dream became very threadbare.
After God brought me back to himself, I figured that I was to become another functional unit in the Christian system. That's the purpose, right? Become a good servant, do things and be measured by how much I do and how good it is. That's what God expects.
God's reaction to being told what He is like is much different from that of most people. People get into a huff and storm away. God just waits, and uses every opportunity to teach me what His character really is like. His character being very nearly unbelievable to me, He must repeat the lessons many times before I even get a hint of the truth.
He has taught me many radical truths. One of the first was that He is gentle. Another is that He is kind in how He deals with me. He is also patient. He is also forceful, in that He does not quit when I get sick and tired of changes. He allows me to take a rest, but He doesn't forget as a human being would. When the time comes, He reminds me and we take another step.
I've always thought the goal was to become a functional Christian. I've always valued myself for what I can do. Ask me who I am, and I'll tell you something based on function: I'm a sand sculptor, I'm a bicyclist, I'm an electrician. What kind of person am I? I'll never talk about that because it doesn't matter. You know me by what I do, and that seems to be the way the world works.
Get ready for a world turned upside down. Last night, on the bus ride home, I sat in the back and just prayed and thought about things. The Holy Spirit is very good at guiding this process, and the first idea I got was that no matter how good I get to be at doing something, God can do it better. If He were interested only in function, He could have come up with something better than feisty, fussy, fragile human beings. Then the really radical idea came along, sneaking in and then exploding like a soft, kind torpedo under my self-assured waterline.
What God lives for is interaction. He wants to know who I am. He enjoys the daily contact more than I do. Well, I enjoy it, but come on! This is the God of the Universe! He already knows me, and has billions more like me. But He doesn't, really; He made me as I am and I only know the barest beginnings of what that person He made might be like. Inside me there is the core that He built, and around that is the structure that I have built over the years. That self-built, functional structure is me. To me, not to God.
He sees my heart, and He likes what He sees now that Jesus has made me clean. I can hardly believe this is true, but the hints and threads have collected over the last few months into a strong suggestion. Do I trust this? I'm going to have to experiment and see what happens. There really does seem to be more to life than functionality.