Friday, September 23, 2005

At Peace... wrestling and resting

I often look at our cat, Snickers, and see him sleeping, so peacefully, so completely at rest. I'm jealous. Well, not too much, but maybe a little. That kind of peace so often alludes us, or at least me.

So yesterday (I think it was yesterday) I was praying, reading, singing and I had one of those brief moments where I felt God's... well, kinda like a peaceful hug. Now, I'm not one of those that believes a relationship with God is built on feelings... alone, no one can live like that. But I am one that believes are feelings are God-created and therefore can be good and necessary in our relationship. But feelings, just like intellect, is tricky. Here and there, I NEED a little feeling, I need to believe God is parting the heavens just to land a drop of water on my head to freshen my spirit. Maybe it has to do with the fact that I believe I'm the center of the universe... I dunno. I love the song Prove Me Wrong by Caedmon's Call which talks about doubt:

Sometimes I fear, maybe I'm not chosen
You've hardened my heart like Pharaoh
That would explain why life is so hard for me...

Cast out my doubts, please prove me wrong
'Cause these demons can be so headstrong
Make my walls fall please prove me wrong...

Don't let my doubts prove true
Draw me close and hold me near to you
Keep me still until the day you...

I think what is most important about these experiences though, is that they need to be held onto and remembered, I mean hence the song, right? And that takes our intellect. They work hand in hand. It's like Israel's circle in the Old Testament. God did something amazing and one generation saw it first hand. They became changed people (most of them) they were awed by God, they were devoted to God and they tried to teach it to their kids... but their kids didn't EXPERIENCE it for themselves, so they weren't changed in the same way, they weren't devoted in the same way... and eventually the teachings became stale. So once again, God would rend the heavens, do something amazing, save Israel, and the cycle would continue. I think the same thing has happend post-Jesus too. And I think in a micro way, the same thing happens in our lives. Our task, is to continue to think, talk, and re-experience those things in new ways, having faith that God will CONTINUE to do new things in our lives - but always for God's glory and God's purposes - for us to bless others. Because ultimately, it's not about us, it's about God. And that is what I need to constantly remind myself of. And in addition that, as Jesus taught us, it's even more about others than ourselves.

So, to be at peace, to be truly resting, I think I need to be truly serving...


Juliabohemian said...

your posts are always so deep and insightful -maybe it's just because you are an ivy leaguer. But, you are defintely not a typical male. Your wife is very lucky. And your cat is cuuuuute.

Mr. Higgins said...

My observations of your post:

I had to re-read your lastest post a few times to get it. I mean, one minute you are talking about rest and peace, then you move on to the need for feeling and intellect, then you go into Israel's experience and our personal experience, all of that somehow wrapped up in the need for a desire for freshness and newness in our lives... so I gather. That's a whole lot!

My response:

Many have attempted to come up with a theology of the human composition over the centuries. I think it's funny how there seems to be a spectrum where we either compartmentalize the human composition: 1. mind 2. body 3. spirit. Or, we blur it all together into a mush: certain theologians such as Wayne Grudem seem to bring such distinctions as mind and body and spirit so close together that it is hard to see these elements of the human in their individual operation - there is only the 'soul' or the whole person.

Likewise, people get really wrapped up in whether they are relying too much on their intellect or feelings, when they should be relying on... something else? And others get so wrapped up in their experience, sensing and feeling, that they lose sight of sure footing (the witness of the Spirit, Scripture, and the body of Christ).

All this gets pretty confusing after a while. A quick look at most of the New Testament writings show that feelings and thoughts and experiences with God are common - even expected. Paul had joy and rejoiced while in prison - he had no problem at all expressing that he was feeling something. But all of his sensing and feeling was in the context of the Spirit bearing witness with his spirit, his knowledge and understanding of the Scripture, and his interaction with the body of Christ.

I think our academic approach to God and our fear of "sensing and feeling" has really made God into more of a study than a relationship. So, AMEN to Don Coleman, who says, "Our task, is to continue to think, talk, and re-experience those things in new ways, having faith that God will CONTINUE to do new things in our lives - but always for God's glory and God's purposes - for us to bless others."