Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Let's put God in a box...or two, or infinity.

I have this picture of God. And maybe it came from a sermon I heard long ago, but, to be honest, I don't remember. 

You know those boxes that you open up and right inside is another box, just ever so slightly smaller,  inside that one is another smaller box and then another and another and so on?

My faith - my understanding of God - started in the centre box, the smallest one. And you know what - being as it was all I knew - it was pretty comfortable. 

One day something came along and that box crumbled away, and I found myself in a slightly different box. 

And then a while later that new box got hammered down and this time I was in another box, a little bigger and a strangely different sort of shape. 

It sure felt different. 

I can only understand God to the point my experience really allows. And each time I break out of my current box I find a different sort of face to God. What I knew before is still there but somehow it's different, it's more. And sometimes it's harder. 

That breaking out of my current box sometimes looks more like me being shoved out, falling out: or even the box simply disintegrating before my eyes. 

Sometimes it is scary and it is shaking. 

Each time I find myself faced with a slightly bigger and maybe different shaped box it's that first box that keeps me grounded. In that first box is my belief that God exists and that God loves me.

So, whilst I can find myself drifting around in these bigger boxes not really sure what to make of this God: how to reconcile this God with the God I previously thought that He was, I rest on that first box and go from there. 

This picture allows me to be okay with my understanding of God right now, to be okay with the fact that other people understand God entirely different to how I do and it reminds me not to fall into the trap of thinking I know all there is to know about God. 

It also forces me to push for more. To refuse to let my faith become stagnant. It means that whilst some boxes are ripped from around me by situations and events, other ones I tear down with my bare hands: desperately seeking out more of who God is and what He is doing. 

What it also means is that whilst this picture helps me to understand God, I realise it in no way defines Him, because one day I might break down my box to find God doesn't fit this picture at all anymore. And that's okay. 

It's pretty ironic considering I really do not think we should put God in a box. But somehow these limitless boxes show me how God limits Himself, so that I may know Him, whilst still functioning in my life outside of the constraints my human-ness puts on Him. 

So that even as all that I am feeling and experiencing and going through is crumbling away and I don't see how the God I know can make that good. I, somehow, know that He sits with me here in the hurt and confusion as well as going beyond my understanding: fulfilling His promises to us in a cosmos-changing, intergallatically inspiring, pretty bloomin' awesome, most miraculous way. 

He always wins. Especially when I can't quite see beyond my little box. 

You will get all the glory.

I don't really have words to speak of what it feels like. 

Life stopping but not. In fact that is entirely the problem: it doesn't stop, instead it changes never to be the same again leaving fear, pain, hurt, exhaustion and a desire to give up in its wake. 

I just go around and around and around - circling the problem. Pulling it this way, tugging it that way trying to figure out how to get to the other side, ripping it to shreds desperately pleading for there to be another side. 

It would almost be easier if all my faith had deserted me, at least then this wouldn't be on God's head. Instead I know His hand is in this and yet there is not an overnight resolution: I really, really struggle confined in darkness. 

What do I do when the answers escape me? Escape my understanding of God? I turn to those with more or, at least, different answers. And they sit there blankly. There is no explanation for this one. Life goes on and all they can do is try to walk it with me. 

Emotions implode on themselves. Anger turning to frustration and despair. Worry turning to breathless, life halting fear. Even the laughter that used to frequent itself comes as a surprise, and not always a good one. 

I disrepute this "crisis mode". Oh no it is not something that comes painfully yet fleetingly! It brings the pain and it keeps showing up again, and again, and again. 

and again. 

And then life keeps revolving. And how do I reconcile the two. Because I know that marching forward won't make it all go away and yet it marches on anyway. 

Oh God. I believe in Your Light. I really do believe in Your plans. I absolutely do believe that You will get all the glory. 

But I wish you'd hurry ** up. 

And that is the ugliness of it. 

Bare-faced and raw. 

I know that His Kingdom comes. I know that He reigns. I know that He is I AM. 

And yet the tough *rubbish* still remains. 

I knew that already. I'd seen that already. I'd lived that already. 

But I've never had it as bad as this. 

The tears don't really stop flowing. They leave for a while only to make their unannounced return a couple of days, a week, or two later. They brim beneath the surface ready to take every ounce of your SELF and splurge it across your pillow with no ounce of grace and little utterance of relief. 

The dark tunnel stretches out in great length ahead. How do you even imagine there to be the light there is at the end?

And so I sit in the darkness. Oh both metaphorically and not. And I know God is here too. There's no smiley, clappy, one-line answer. There's a long, drawn-out, bramble-filled path ahead. We head for God's beautiful, somewhere.

*previously contained less PC words*

Saturday, 2 May 2015

Let us dream

When life quietens and I have some space again 

I return to dreaming. 

I guess I start to wonder where its all headed. 

And most of all I revel in the fact that I can dream. What a stunning freedom it is.

I guess I don't really like this idea of dreaming very much - its quite, well, twee and cute and childish. It often seemingly lacks in any real depth.

But when I really look at what is is to dream I begin to read a different story, one of hope, of life, of potential: of God.

I begin to understand that dreaming isn't really the choice, the follow through is. Dreaming is in our nature, but we don't all choose to listen.

I guess this week I've been hit smack bang in the face by dreams being quenched.

I have felt it in me when my dreams have been squashed down - reshaped. Sometimes by lies and sometimes by God.

And there's the tension. Its a balance to tread and its easy to go too far in either direction.  I've seen so many blame satan for their dreams falling through when maybe all they needed is to ask God for the strength to perservere and then to do just that.

But then some refuse to recognise when its not God anymore, when its time to just get out. When they are being put inside a box and limited, without space to breathe.

Both are dangerous, and scary.

I guess as I find the permission to dream again, as I begin to dare myself into a stepping out. As I let my eyes dawdle away from the Now and into the beyond the next thing I glimpse at God's love. 

If dreaming does anything it gifts to me God. It reminds me how big He is. For I have seen my dreams explode into the beyond imaginable and I believe for that to be a steadfast reality. 

I relish in this space that reminds me of how I can fly. For sure, dreams are accomplished in the getting up and the DOing but they are born in these Holy moments where heaven and earth seem to blend and we dance in the realm of impossibilities. 

May we be people who dance in the freedom of dreaming - recognise the responsibility of it and then tread the hard line of stepping out. 

May we be people who dream of God's Kingdom come. 

And may we stand - even when we think all is lost - may we stand and declare that He is God and He is good. Always.