Monday, September 22, 2008

They Really Hate It When You Do This

If you know the deep depths of my maturity and wisdom, it won't surprise you that I was raised on UHF, much of my delicate pre-teen psyche being developed by Weird Al.

Yesterday on our rattlesnake-church adventure, Mike used one of the scenes from the movie to explore the character of God, perhaps the first time any Weird Al clip has been used in a spiritual illustration, but hopefully not the last. Watch this, and especially pay attention to the ants.

God may not be exactly like Raul, though he seems like a fun guy. But how much are we like little ants, putting all our energy into creating these intricate little tunnels: our tidy lawns and career goals and expectations and security nets. And along come circumstances, that in effect shake our lives up and destroy all we've worked so hard to build around ourselves.

That seems a bit sadistic to suggest that God would take our tidy little ant-tunnel lives and purposefully jumble it into a muddle of sand and disoriented ants. But in my own life it seems that God doesn't want me most to be comfortable, but to be holy. Not to be just happy, but to be joyful. Not to be satisfied, but to be devoted. Not to be placated, but to be thirsty for Him.

For this world and its tunnels are just so much sand to be blown swiftly away. It is temporary, while other things are eternal.

I don't say this lightly, self-righteously pandering about spiritual statements like so much air. I say it knowing more well than I wish what it means: I may never own a little garden that grows tomatoes. I may never wear a frilly apron, baking cookies on a street of Small Town USA. I may never be settled. In short, I may never get what I want.

But what God assures me I can have if I seek it instead is Him and His hope.

I'm reading the biography of Amy Carmichael, a woman whose devotion in difficulty I admire, but cannot necessarily relate to. I long one day to say in truth along with her, "'And only heaven is better than to walk with Christ at midnight over moonless seas.' Praise him for the moonless seas--all the better the opportunity for proving Him to be indeed the El Shaddai, the God who is enough." I say it along with her now, as a child, still fearful and unsure.

I'm also reading the new book of a good friend, Amy Nappa. She urges me gently to forego the "guaranteed disappointment" of misplaced hope in this world and instead:

"Learn, you and I, to bypass the easy hopes of temporary circumstances and instead embrace what I call the difficult hope of complete dependence on Christ alone for every emotional, spiritual, and physical need. To accept that Christ alone is the true hope of the heart for thirsty me, and like you. To say to ourselves, as the Woman at the Well once did, "I know that the Messiah is coming into my situation, into my heartache, into my desperate need, into my family relationships, into my career problems, into my legal problems, into my financial circumstances, into every moment of my life. And when he comes, he will explain everything to me." ...If we can determine to place our trust in this difficult hope of intimate moments with Jesus, we can find eternal purpose in our temporary longings and heavenly peace in any earthly circumstance."

1 comment:

Becky said...

You SHOULD be reading Blue Like Jazz. But I'm a loser. I promise - before I leave - to get it to you.