I have no Internet. For 5 days now I have no Internet at home. I had no idea how dependent I was on the Internet. Really I can’t seem to do anything right without those zeros and ones of Ethernet pouring into my house at a speed close to Einstein’s theoretical expressions. I love the access and seemingly endless resources available just at my fingertips. I enjoy the conversations and the ability to converse over thousands of miles. Really, if you add up all the cables and lines and airways, it must be millions of trillions of miles. I can talk to someone on the other side of the universe (sort of). Most everywhere I have access through my phone but it isn’t the same as my computer. My phone is like little snippets of information but not the fully engrossed experience. My phone is like reminders of a greater experience. So I miss my Internet. I hope it gets restored soon.
I wonder am I supposed to be without my Internet for a time? Maybe I’m supposed to rely on my little phone or maybe go back to a more difficult and patient existence based on mail and paper and books and encyclopedias and all that. My parents had to do that. If they had to do that then maybe I’m supposed to learn some lessons by being without. Maybe I am too reliant on cyber information instead of just toughing it out alone. Maybe I’m supposed to have a wilderness experience of information drought. Maybe I’m to wander in this wilderness alone or with others on my street to console one another in this time of need and independence. Maybe this will toughen me up for the days ahead and give me more discipline for when the Internet is silent. I don’t know. It sure feels like a wilderness experience. I guess I’ll just gather my daily sustenance of mail and read it over and over again to satisfy my need for information. I really don’t like these Internet wilderness experiences but I guess there is a point. I guess I will be a better person after living a completely independent and cut-off existence from the very source of information bliss.
OK…maybe you already see where I am going but just in case…
I often hear things like “we have hills and valleys in our walk” or “we all must go through the desert to reach the promised land” or “God will be silent at times in our walk so we can learn valuable lessons” or (my favorite) “God doesn’t speak to us today other than through His word (the Bible) so we just need to read more.” Now go back to the Internet discussion (diatribe of whining) now do you see the point? Doesn’t the Internet discussion seem ridiculous? Still the enemy will impose religious institutionalized understanding about wilderness, deserts, silence, absence and separation that are JUST NOT IN THE BIBLE. God has never been separate from us. He is not separate from us today. Even our sin no matter how awful does not separate us from God. Want some proof?
Rom 8:38 For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, 39 nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (ESV)
Heb 13:5 Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you.” (ESV)
Joshua 1:5 No man shall be able to stand before you all the days of your life. Just as I was with Moses, so I will be with you. I will not leave you or forsake you. (ESV)
Many quote these verses and then turn around and declare “well brother you are in a wilderness trial.” Usually it also comes with “and there is a promised land waiting for you.” Which implies “at least it will be awesome when you are dead.” Maybe that is a little harsh but I think you get the idea.
The problem is there is no such thing as a wilderness experience in the way we use the concept. Think about it for a second. We often describe a wilderness experience as a time “without God in our lives because of His silence or absence.” Please hear me and understand, God will not leave your side ever. We hear people say “well brother maybe you have some un-confessed sin in your life that has caused God to separate from you.” That really gets me heated up. To say that is to openly proclaim your ignorance of verses like these:
Rom 8:6 For while we were still weak, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For one will scarcely die for a righteous person—though perhaps for a good person one would dare even to die— 8 but God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Since, therefore, we have now been justified by his blood, much more shall we be saved by him from the wrath of God. 10 For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, now that we are reconciled, shall we be saved by his life. 11 More than that, we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.
The other part that is often missed is the truth of what happened in the desert with the Nation of Israel. This was the most intimate time they ever had with God as a nation. Every day God provided their food and water. Every day they could look up and see the pillar of smoke or fire. They were in the presence of God every day. He never left them. The opposite happened. He showed them what a dependent relationship with God looked like. He wanted them to have this understanding before they went into the land of promise and were distracted, deceived and derailed by all the “other gods” of the land. Our stubborn, independent, fallen-nature-self needed to “see” God at His best. We needed to be with Him constantly so we would know how to live in relationship. The problem is more systemic than you think. Check out this passage and see if you can “see.”
Deut 29:2 And Moses summoned all Israel and said to them: “You have seen all that the Lord did before your eyes in the land of Egypt, to Pharaoh and to all his servants and to all his land, 3 the great trials that your eyes saw, the signs, and those great wonders. 4 But to this day the Lord has not given you a heart to understand or eyes to see or ears to hear. 5 I have led you forty years in the wilderness. Your clothes have not worn out on you, and your sandals have not worn off your feet. 6 You have not eaten bread, and you have not drunk wine or strong drink, that you may know that I am the Lord your God.(ESV)
In the next few posts I want to explore this understanding of “not having understanding.” God calls it a spirit of stupor in some translations. I truly believe the forbidden fruit not only gave us a lawyer mentality, it “killed” our God understanding spirit and left us with a “spirit of stupor.” We literally cannot see the goodness of God, not the fullness of God, not the loving Gracious God He is without His help. That is why we are born again. That is why He gives us the mind of Christ. That is why we live His life. That is what freedom really is…the ability to “see” God as He really is. Not as a judge, counter of wrongs, angry disciplinarian and all those images that come from a fallen, lawyer mindset. No instead the Holy Spirit gives us the Spirit of freedom. When Jesus sets us free, we are free indeed. Free to see God. That is why the Gospel is the supernatural power of God on this Earth. Without it we are all still trapped in bondage to “eyes that do not see” and “ears that do not hear” and “a heart that doesn’t understand.”