This post was birthed in the last, but when I finished writing this bit I realized it deserved its own place. Jumping off of thoughts about what might be next, I got caught up in what God is doing in the present to reveal himself.
I’ve discovered, while studying the Bible so in depth, that I have a lot to say. I can suddenly see my own context and the larger context of living… the things that make us human and human for a reason. The why of my existence along with the bigger why of existing for humanity. Not like a tidy religious package, as you might assume, but… well… It’s like Love, for example. Everyone has their perspective on love. When we spend too much time immersed in media and fake intimacy then we stop craving anything deeper, so to others looking in on ‘media lovers’, love looks cheap – because it is. It doesn’t cost anything. Others spend time learning that love is a list of rules, lines to not cross, words to not say and so their love might actually look like hate to others because ‘rule lovers’ have taken the idea of preferring the other person and turned it into correcting the other person. There are many other ways to look at love, my point isn’t to point out failures but to give an example of something really big that can be made small….
And so life, humanity, God, love… these are all things that are too big and beautiful to argue about. I don’t seek to be generic so I won’t offend people. People love to be offended. I do believe that Jesus is God and that he lived on earth as a real man and died for our sins and then physically raised from the dead to give life. But within that sentence there are a thousand definitions to argue about. What I’ve discovered in studying the Bible is the PERSON behind the name. Because I am only human, this has become also a list of character qualities that I can point to, stories which express those qualities so that my small mind can understand. But the person Himself… the I AM (as he has called himself) is so much better, so much sweeter, so much more amazing than my list.
Creative, faithful, persistent, funny, generous, thoughtful, chatty, loving, humble, perfect, emotional, relational, honest, devoted… these are all words on my list. Things I have discovered about God while studying that old, controversial book.
I’ve discovered that God has always loved all nations. I’ve discovered that the Bible was not written so that we would know what miserable losers we are, it was written so that we would know how precious we are to the creator of the universe, how flawed and weird, senseless, troubled, needy and lost we are without Him. Because we are those things without Him.
When Paul the apostle was in Athens checking out their temple, he found a statue with the inscription “To the unknown god.” He said to those around;
“What therefore you worship as unknown, this I proclaim to you. The God who made the world and everything in it, being Lord of heaven and earth, does not live in temples made by man, nor is he served by human hands, as though he needed anything, since he himself gives to all mankind life and breath and everything. And he made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth, having determined allotted periods and the boundaries of their dwelling place, that they should seek God, and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him. Yet he is actually not far from each one of us, for, ‘In him we live and move and have our being’.”
(Acts 17:23-27 ESV)
This is God. And so, so much more.