Line them up. Listen to them. It’s quite a chorus! “I don’t think you should send me!” “He’s nobody!” “Do you know what she’s done?” “Marry her?” “Me, pregnant?” “She’s having a baby, and it’s God!” “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son?” “No.”, “Not just that…”, “Why not?” (Moses, David, Rahab, Hosea, Mary, Joseph, people of Nazareth, Peter, Peter, Peter…).
Even to the casual onlooker it seems suspiciously consistent throughout the pages of the Bible; perhaps a pattern or predictability to be discerned. “About what?” you ask. Whenever God reveals himself to human beings whether through a burning bush, a miracle, a voice, a word, Jesus, a disciple, or even a rooster – the person or people on the receiving end become edgy, uncomfortable, or react in protest, alarm, and with some degree of fear. The reasons are probably many and varied.
The point is that encountering God is sometimes inconvenient and disturbing. He appears to delight in jumping out of our boxes and scurrying all over places we would rather not explore. The one consistent thread is that whatever is communicated generally reveals the huge chasm between him and ‘us’ around the issue of perceptions – how we view life, relationships, values, and priorities.
I am learning that the Kingdom of God (post resurrection life in the overlapping edges of the old and new) is much more exciting than a church box/coffin where God lies mummified and immobile. The incessant rollers heaving me up and down in the daily ocean can swamp me and I lose sight of Jesus who walks on water. Christians handcuff him to religion and agnostics boot him into the stratosphere and call him a ‘higher power’.
So what? I am learning that God is gracious, merciful, patient, and extremely kind. He is also powerful and truthful and will not overlook anything in anyone not in alignment with his heart and will. I am learning that he loves to pull and prod us into his future where our tired dreams can be revived and fulfilled. I have learned that when we are at the point of despair and lost hope he is not. Instead he bends closer rubbing his hands with great optimism, whispering through a knowing grin about what we can accomplish together as he pours his treasure into our dusty, cracked, obviously repaired clay pots. The light does indeed shine more brightly through the cracks anyway!