Friday, October 21, 2005



So many things that work in this new life with God, I just fell into. A combination of logic, troubleshooting, and the Holy Spirit's most wondrous, precise and gentle guidance.

One is spending time with him. I just routinely went to bed early, got quiet, and we discussed things. I'd ask questions, he'd give me answers, or not. Or he'd guide back to an answer I already knew and had forgotten or run away from. He never lost patience with this process, unlike people who tend to explode if called upon to answer a question more than once. Include me in that category; I get upset when people don't listen.

Eventually I learned of the power in that simple act of communication. To ask God questions is to learn His ways. To pray is to invite his involvement; if you ask for someone else to learn the truth, how can you avoid seeing it yourself? God keeps me honest. Eventually, distraction became a more attractive way to spend my time.

Music. Playing computer games. Or just closing down my mind. Reading for the purpose of killing time.

Some time back I wrote that a Christian who's separated from God is the saddest creature on the planet. I ended up proving that to myself. I was sad, depressed, not interested in much of anything but didn't make the connection.

A basic truth of troubleshooting is that when nothing you do works, try something else. Anything else. Desperation of that sort drove me to God in the first place. Well, "drove" isn't quite the right word; he set up the circumstances and I followed blindly and fell into his lap. God promised to end my depression, but like the Israelites looking back at Egypt, when I compared the familiarity of depression with the new and very strange world He wanted me to inhabit, the old way looked pretty good.

It didn't work. It seems that now that I know what the alternative is like, now that I have spoken with the God of the Universe and felt his hand on mine, life spent in trying to get away from that is a very quick trip down the Oblivion road. There are precedents: once you've tasted Haagen-Dazs, supermarket ice cream just doesn't cut it any more. My mother can really cook, so I grew up knowing what real food tastes like. Hence, I can't eat at McDonald's. That's not food. It's just calories.

I belong to Jesus now. I ignore him at the expense of anything that makes life worth living. I wanted to start a new Blog called "Long Haul Christian," but is in use (hasn't been updated in three years) and is not allowed. So, I'll just stick with this.

But God's voice is not what I expect. He invited me to buy a new 100mm macro lens for my digital camera today. I'd been thinking about it for months. I have a 50mm macro, but the 100mm version gives me more room to work because I don't have to be so close to the subject. I also intended to buy a 35mm lens to fill the gap between the 20mm and the 50, but they didn't have that in stock. I walked out with the macro lens.

God's gifts to southern California started early. We had a light rain in late September, and a real storm earlier this week. Spring comes when the rains start so the flowers will be early this year. God makes the beauty and I photograph it to share with others.

None of this makes any sense, but I said it myself two years ago: Step one is to forget everything I know about God and let him teach me who he is. I don't trust anyone but him to do this right; people tend to have agendas. Agendas have little to do with life, and life is what I need. Q.E.D. The logic of the iconoclastic follower of Jesus.

So, I learn, bit by bit. I am, and I suspect this is true of everyone, reserved for God. Paying attention to this seems to be a good thing. Color is coming back, again, into a world that was looking bleak for a few months. God plays hardball, but he does so gently.

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