” ‘I’m not a puzzle to be solved but a mystery to be explored.’ God transcends our rational minds and stands above supposedly flawless human understanding. He rejects our insistance that we have indisputable answers to every question.” (Steve McVey)
I recently started writing my first book. (Notice how positive and hopeful I am by saying my first book.) I’ve written many many posts but this book thing is very new to me. What I have experienced is like a dam that has just collapsed and now there is this instant rush of a giant lake trying to get down a narrow valley. I feel like I have way too much to say and not enough patience to say it. I am also an avid reader so I know the importance of a story. You don’t want to know the punch line without a story to go with it. The joy of reading itself is not the assimilation of information but the page turning experience. How it ends is important but the journey is the reason you immerse yourself in the story. So I will have to use some tools like outlines and all that to keep me sane while I work through the impatience to tell the reader everything at the same time and in an instant. Even if a story could be told in entirety and in a blink of an eye we couldn’t absorb the revelation outside the participation. Revelation most often comes in the quite moments between paragraphs or while turning a page. Then the great “ah ha” hits! Wow, I love those moments.
Now imagine the patience God must have to tell His story. Really our history is just a flashback of His story. Our future is a promise of His journey. We are traveling in time with “the timeless one.” We are walking with the infinite. We are a dry sponge that is tossed in the Pacific Ocean. Our limited time-space reality keeps us so bound to snippets here and there. We couldn’t possibly absorb all that the source of living water has to offer us. Our joy is our journey in His reality which is greater than our capacity or perception.
We often feel trapped in our temporal existence but we are actually with the creator’s womb of contemplation. We are in Jesus and He is in us. The fullness of the godhead dwells in Christ and He is in us, our hope of glory. Our imagination is often our guide. We can soar far above the mundane to embrace the infinite. When we move from glory to glory we ponder the moments like turning the pages. We are actually lost in His story of revelation. The journey never ends. The moment we think we have it all figured out is the very instant we step out of His story and into temporal frustration. We will never know the “all” of Him, still His patience to show us what we can learn is our unearthly assurance as His children.
Our impatience (our should I say my impatience) can be our own stumbling block. We need to trust in His timing and His expression for our revelation. We need to learn how to enjoy the moment while living in a timeless union. We need to learn how to step outside of past disappointments and embrace the source of hope. We have to let go of our timelines and insistence on bringing the future into the present. We don’t want to jump past the story for the punchline. We have to take a walk with mystery.
This is why the incarnation is so important. Now we can live in both the temporal and timeless realities of Jesus. We may live in a present earthly reality inundated by todays wisdom but we are joined to the one who has stepped outside of time and space to live from the Heavenly Places. We are seated with Him while He is coming forth from the right hand side of the Father. This creation is our home but we are really strangers in this world of limited realities. We have within us the light that shines in the darkness. We can know the thoughts of Jesus with our mind of Christ. We can live in two realms at once. We can have hope that seems far off in a distant future but participate in the glory of the present moment. We can live within a disappointing circumstance while enjoying the life of Christ who has overcome every disappointment. Even our faith is from Him and it is His faith that saves us. His reality is our hope. His story is our life.
Even when things are getting really messed up we can know that He knows what we are experiencing. We can know that His vicarious life in us has already overcome any trial that surprise us. Is it possible that our struggle is much less about our situations than it is about recognizing our reconciliation? Maybe the “churn” we feel at times is His story trying to come out of our moments? Maybe we are fighting a fight that He has won or resisting a temptation that He has overcome or living from an offense that He has already forgiven. I wonder if all our trials on the outside are just His opportunity on the inside? Maybe every rough spot is His chance to smooth it out. Maybe our valleys are His page turners and our mountaintops are His transitions. We are really in His story anyway. He is in us and knows all the possible realities that we can’t possibly understand. Maybe we need to just trust Him in each and every moment.
You know Paul talked about this very thing?
Rom 5:1 Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. 2 Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God. 3 Not only that, but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, 4 and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, 5 and hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit who has been given to us. (ESV)
We are so absolutely accepted in the triune circle of our Heavenly family because of His faith. We have His peace and total access to His grace by His faith in us. We live in ecstatic joy in the certainty of His goodness because of the true nature of our good God. We also brag about Jesus when we are squeezed because external pressure reveals His patience in us. When we embrace His patience and experience His peace in our tense moments we learn how to trust in this unearthly relationship. We learn to live in expectation and confidence. This confidence comes without disappointment or frustration because we know His love through His presence that manifests in our lives. We not only walk with Him, we are very aware of our traveling partner. He is closer than our breath and loves to love us.
That is how Paul begins chapter five of Romans. The whole chapter is dedicated to us knowing, with certainty, that we are included. We know in our hearts that all of mankind is not worth the death of God still He still dies at our hands. Our new covenant with Him, our “death do us part” relationship, is all on His end. He accepts us and make us acceptable. He saves us from our swollen stupidity and lostness and insistence on self-destruction. Not only that but now we live His life in us. We are completely restored and made new and reconciled and we didn’t even ask for it. Can you imagine?
Paul goes on to tell us that “yes in Adam everything got messed up” but even Adam has no power like Jesus. Actually all the stuff we worry about, as a fallen human, has been done away with in a living Jesus. Gods’ grace is boundless and endless. He goes all the way into death to bring us back into life in Him. We are a new creation, raised with Jesus, born again in His resurrection. We can know that we know that any past condemnation and guilt and sin and shame and fear of death has been destroyed on the cross. We are completely accepted in our divine family. There is nothing that can ever separate us from this family. We can have unearthly assurance of our acceptance. We may have needed a law to show us how we had been living wrongly outside our intended family but now we have Jesus to bring us into the family so we can know our adoption. Now we can know our Father. Now we can know our inclusion in the triune circle dance of His love.
I think Paul was pretty serious about us knowing our inclusion. He begins with acceptance and ends with acceptance. He reminds us that we are in His story and we can be confident that He is in ours. We really are His-story in the making.