Sunday, February 26, 2006


A Burr Under the Saddle

Lu is on my wavelength. Her story "What It's About" continues to resonate in me. I've been thinking about this on beach walks, mountain bike rides, and those early morning meetings with the Holy Spirit. I have no real organization on it, but here are some of the results.

The first thing that got to me was the idea that God could be hurt by my actions. I knew he could be angered, but hurt? He's God. He is power made into a person. How could he be hurt, especially by anything I did? I'm still not sure about this, but I believe that has more to do with my own bias than the truth of the matter. Logically, it makes sense that my actions can hurt God. After all, parents are hurt when their children make bad choices and get hurt. What's interesting is that God has to tolerate some of this because I'm so badly depraved I see lies where there is really truth. That unbelief probably hurts God a lot but he doesn't react as a human does. He gives me more chances. More choices. I'd rather not know about it.

The question is, what to do about it? If this idea becomes just another way of feeling guilty (and thank you, Holy Spirit, for reminding me of this), then it's not much good. Christians already walk under too much guilt. Guilt motivates most actions in this world. God is offering us here a picture of what pure love looks like: he doesn't blame me for being unbelieving. He just asks that I acknowledge my unbelief. I can't figure this out. How does he convert unbelief to belief? Imperceptibly the change occurs.

Then, there's Satan. I walked up the hill toward Will Rogers park this morning, thinking about this. Why would Satan care if I'm hurt, or if God is hurt? All he wants to do is destroy everything. Then the Holy Spirit pointed out a few things. I had this image of Lucifer being thrown out of Heaven, never to return. He thinks he belongs there, thinks he should run the place, and loses it. Forever. Put a burr under a horse's saddle and the gentle creature becomes a bucking monster, determined to break out. That memory of Heaven must be the biggest burr in the world. We know that in our world anger dictates a lot of destruction, and our world is inspired by its master. Anger. Fear. Destroy anything just because you can. Destroy everything.

I'm sure this is partial. I have no idea what really went on in the courts of the angels when Lucifer mutinied. I just wonder, though, is Satan sophisticated enough to know that his injury of me hurts the Father? Or is it simply blind rage that uses any cat's paw or tool available?

Again, I'm not sure how much this matters. Satan attempts to use me, but God is in control. If Satan gets an idea into me it's because of God's teaching technique, which is to let me keep repeating mistakes until I really get it. God knows when the lesson has really gone to my heart. Until then he has to keep the heat on so that I don't return to status quo room temp.

What I like most about Lu's story, though, is that it is unique. It shows God's utterly unique way of teaching Lu what she needs to know to go on to the next lesson. She's a model for others not in the way the lesson is taught, nor in the results, but in showing that God will teach us in the way we can best use, if we let him. If we get beyond the stereotypes, the church language, the expectations, the drudgery.

There is a lesson plan for each of us. God has already set it up. Let God be God. Think about things, see God's truth for yourself. We're conditioned never to ask questions of the Living God, for fear of his wrath. The ones who learn, however, are the ones who ask. They tackle God in the middle of the night and wrestle, not letting go, suffering the dislocated hip so that they can get His blessing. Jacob was out there by himself.

Dream world? To some extent, yes. I'm not able to handle much of the real world, so God shields me from most of it so I can get through the day. Bit by bit I learn, though, and God won't give up. This is my story. I don't expect its specifics to work for anyone else. You need to go ask God for your own story. Learn to listen to him. You don't have to go through five-hour meditative rituals in order to hear his voice. Basically, all you have to do is want to hear. It helps if you have a few people who understand what happens after you become sensitive enough to hear. I'm glad I know Lu. I feel less alone in the Christian world.

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