Sunday, November 26, 2006

Becoming a child again

When I was in college I used to imagine that each day of my life rolled out from God's mind like a scripted scene in an extended-length movie. All the events of the day, down to each line spoken by each person, were planned and placed exactly where God intended. I saw my life as an intricately woven play written by God. This charged each moment with purpose and meaning, and I learned to refer to him internally as things were happening since He was the one sending it all in the first place.

I don't remember when or why I stopped thinking that way. Maybe it felt so egocentric--everything happening in the whole world arranged just for my advancement in His grace. How "me-centered" is that? Or perhaps I was afraid that thinking that way would cause me to relinquish responsibility for my actions. If the Lord brought it, then there's nothing I can do in response, right? I don't know which, if either, of these things led me to drop my little daydream. But somewhere along the line I did.

I'm getting the notion lately that I need to recover this perspective once again. I can't even say for sure if it's right, although I can quote a bunch of biblical passages that hint that it is. My favorite is when David said that every day of his life was written out like a book before one of them came to be. When Job lost everything he cared about by both nature and by human conquest, God alone received credit for what happened. And when Jesus hung on the cross before a screaming mob of his own people, he turned to His Father and asked why His Father was forsaking Him. Apparently folks in the Bible share something like this view in which everything that happens is from the hand of God.

But we're too sophisticated for that, right? I mean, we live in the twenty-first century now, and we understand that things happen by random chance. We don't need to invoke God when something dramatic happens, right? Aren't we a little too old for that?

I think I want to go back to being young. And naive. I'm thinking about going back to a time when I had a simple outlook on life, and saw each day as a gift from my Father. That caused me to see Him intimately involved in every second, present beside me (or within me, or me in Him) no matter what was going on. That worked pretty well for me, and I'm not convinced I should have ever dropped that viewpoint.

Is it technically true? I don't really know. Part of me doubts. Part of me sees that as childish, like God's got nothing more important to deal with than my petty little life experiences. But then again, I've got a strong biblical precedent for this very thing. Anyway, God can multi-task, right? Can't He simultaneously weave billions of stories intricately together like a vast tapestry?

If He had all the time in the world, He could do it. If time stood still for Him, He could fill every life that has ever been lived with all the events He desires, and each one could connect with billions of other lives in ways we little humans could scarce understand. If I could think like God, I might not even see this as a challenge.

Maybe the folks who don't see each moment as the product of God's creative mind are the ones who are thinking too simplistically. Maybe it's those whose minds are "stuck in time" who have it wrong. They tend to think that God was involved at the beginning, but since then things have managed to operate on their own. But what if God didn't just create the beginning? What if, when He created, He made everything, including today? What if, when He created, He simultaneously painted a picture of all of history from beginning to end, crafting each stroke and each event down to the falling of a single sparrow?

Now that would make me feel very close to him at this moment. Right now He's telling a story--your story--and it involves reading this blog right now. Man, that would make Him really close. Right there with you. Don't you think?


Anonymous Anonymous said...



That's like dejavue or sumthin'!


2:48 PM  
Blogger Kim said...

Hey Neil. It's funny how God does these things. Last meeting we had here in Arlington was on that very topic. God is in control. Jonah thought he could hide from God. What made him think he could hide from God? Maybe it was that he thought God was only as big as a man. But God is larger than that. He controls the weather, the fish of the sea, the sea itself. Why not the things that come into our lives? Why not what we do and say? Somewhere it says our ways are not His ways. But God has limited himself in one way.... that is freedom of choice. But since He put the whole picture together when He created, He knows our choices before we do. And it all plays out the way He has planned it, down to the last moment of time.

Thanks for the blog. I love seeing His hand move.

11:56 AM  
Anonymous jeff said...

Would that mean that all of history is simultaneous and present to Him…that He is actually “in all” simultaneously…that our lives are not sequential to Him…that our day of birth, our wedding day, reading this blog, our walking with Him as a child and as an adult, our day of death, is “now” and ever-present and precious to him…that when He considerers the prayers of our lives, He answers them all "as one," because they are all real and present to Him (from the beginning to the end), NOW! …that He is the Alpha and the Omega?

11:58 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wow, Jeff!


8:41 AM  
Blogger Kim said...

Amen Jeff!!!!

5:45 PM  

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