Thursday, December 09, 2004


Stuffing the Void

I finished reading Madelaine L'Engle's "A Wind in the Door" this morning. The book's central idea is that the Echthroi are trying to negate everything in creation. A girl, Meg, is chosen to help fight this, and her little brother is the field of attack.

The Echthroi tell everyone to give up and become nothing, as they are. Void. Meg wonders how to attack them, and then comes up with the answer. How do you fight void? You do what Jesus did: you fill it. The Echthroi were driven away by Meg filling them with names and substance.

God names each one of us. He knows us in every unique detail. This is the opposite of Satan's attempts to standardize everything. Every subset of humanity thinks it's the only true one, and goes about trying to eliminate the others so that all will look alike. Sameness. Boring. Bureaucracy. Hypocrisy. Why is God's diversity so reviled? Because it's the opposite of emptiness. Life explodes. Life fills any space it enters. Bureaucrats want the grass to stay inside the lines, but the grass wants to go everywhere. God's spirit imbues the world and it tries to grow, but humans have become strong enough to choke it off. Victory for the nihilists.

God celebrates diversity, to the individual level. Each of us is unique, under the whitewash we've applied in order to make ourselves blend in. The more I talk with other followers of Jesus, the more I learn about personal uniqueness. Everyone has a different way of seeing and seeking God. Same God, different people, same ideas, different presentations suited to each follower. God celebrates who we are when we're unable to.

Meeting God brings in a problem. Once you start rubbing up against God, something of Him comes off. It affects us. He changes the way we look.

I've been putting a good bit of energy into damping this. Putting a basket over the lamp, so to speak. For all my non-conformist ideas, I'm really a non-conformist internally, and when alone. When with people I just want to be left alone, so I fade into the background. If Jesus had had this attitude, we'd be doomed right now.

God can fill my void because He is limitless. He can just keep dropping His holy rain into my desert because the supply is truly endless. Now, if you water a desert, sooner or later something will grow. Even if I put bricks on top of the new plants, they won't quit growing. The Holy Spirit just keeps pushing. He's very, very patient, but He never quits. I can either let Him go, or get run over.

Well, there is another option. If I keep fighting, I can keep Him at bay. He, by His own rules, can't obviate my will. If I'm determined to keep Him out of my life, He will stay out.

For what purpose? So I can be comfortable? The problem is that I can't bear the thought of living without God. This caused me a problem yesterday, my usual reaction against radical ideas. I don't want anyone else in control of my well-being, even if God has proven that He does it better than I do. It's still frightening. The truth is, though, that if God leaves me I'll just fall apart. Life won't be worth living. I'm not proud of myself in this but it's the truth.

Given that God will always be part of my life, then I just have to accept the consequences. His light will shine. If you put a piece of wood on the fire, eventually it will catch fire and people will notice. No matter how wet it was, green, or unsuitable for burning. It will burn. And God will keep adding fuel, so the fire won't ever go out.

God keeps pouring Himself into the void of our lives. I don't really want to think about where this leads. Jesus is the example.

I look not too far ahead. Otherwise I become discouraged with how long the hill is.

God Himself helps to keep my fear at bay. People cause judgment and judgment drives out confidence. God's rain fills me and my confidence increases. As He changes me, turns my stone heart with its phony rigid courage-analog into flesh, He imbues that new flesh with His courage. It's a flexible kind of courage that doesn't have to prove itself to anyone. It just is. God really is good at this kind of thing. He understands gardens.

Wow, Larry...

This is something that's really been striking a chord lately -- learning to trust that God's way is so much better than my way of doing things. I'm so scared that I'm not going to hear what He has to say sometimes, and that I'm going to take something and mess it up completely. Life without God is scary, but sometimes following Him is just as freightening. That kind of thing causes paralysis.
--->I'm so scared that I'm not going to hear what He has to say sometimes...

It's not a once for all situation. If you miss the point the first time, God will try again. He's not looking for ways to make you fail. What He wants is to find the ways He can help you succeeed.

--->...and that I'm going to take something and mess it up completely.

You can't mess it up completely. You will always get another chance.

--->Life without God is scary, but sometimes following Him is just as freightening. That kind of thing causes paralysis.

Yes. I've learned, though, that while God's power is frightening--He can do anything He wants!--that power is entirely devoted to your wellbeing! He wants nothing more than to give you a whole life.

Of course, that whole life is wholly unlike anything we know... which is frightening. But, really, fear is the only reason to resist. And, yes, I do plenty of resistance. It comes and it goes. He also gives us the grace to follow Him; I find that this goes step by step: I move forward a bit, and He fills in behind with the strength necessary to stay in the new place. It's sort of like walking out on a limb, while the limb is growing.

My fear of God is for the potential. His actual practice with me has been gentle, constant, and real. I no longer fear the future so much as I used to.
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