Wednesday, July 06, 2005Two weeks ago I had a grandiose plan for my Independence Day weekend. I was going to visit numerous friends in a few cities. I was going to spend a night or two with my parents. I was going to spend a lot of money (for me, anyway) on food and books and random things that I don't really need. Somewhere it all fell apart. But sovereignty makes a living out of surprise, and I found myself in a remote piece of east Alabama, a beautiful place I shared with beautiful people.
There is something about self-discovery that is piercing. I mean it hurts, but it is so good for us. I found myself away from this computer, the cell phone, the television. Instead there was an all-encompassing sense of belonging and peace among people that I did not know a week ago, but I know would welcome me to their home at a moment's notice. That is love in the truest sense of the word, as this agape can only come from people wholly devoted to the call of the risen Christ. I spent a lot of time singing and talking and laughing (and laughing some more) as I felt God peel away layer after layer of the uptight person that I have become. I found myself in touch with family roots that I had nearly forgotten. In all of this - and I realize I'm being terribly random at this point - I feel God pulling me into a place of awareness. I am becoming aware of Him, and thus more aware of myself.
Being known may very well be the most crucial thing we need in these times. Don Chaffer of Waterdeep wrote a powerful song about it. Download it here (and read the lyrics); it's worth your seventy-five cents. My eyes were wide and my heart soared when I first read Aslan's words to the cabbie, "Son, I have known you long. Do you know me?" It's so easy to feel unknown, unloved. But God knows us! Could this be our greatest desire? To be known, to be understood and comprehended? We are all prodigal children - sons and daughters - far from home. In all our hearts is this powerful desire to be at home, and what an amazing thrill to know that our Father waits on the road for us to simply come home. Just as the cabbie knew something of Aslan, so too do we know something of the Lord; our Creator left His mark on us and calls us to find complete rest in Him. That leaves me utterly speechless. Well, maybe it doesn't, because I can produce a growing list of people who've heard me wax giddily about it.
I just love the story of the prodigal son. I imagine that some of the Jews who first heard the parable knew their Scriptures quite well. I wonder if it ever dawned on them that the prodigal's wealthy father owned the cattle on a thousand hills? That every beast in the woodland was his? The thoughtful Hebrew would have understood. I wonder if my joy at the awareness of this truth can really compare with theirs? Did God open anyone's eyes at that moment, and did we share that same connection at the awareness of the truth of the Gospel?
I am home now, in my apartment. But I am sun-burned, mosquito-bitten and not so clean-shaven. I am even mildly hungry. Learning to wholly trust God means - like a lot of gospel songs have suggested - to wade out into the water. This current is no accident; there is purpose even when we cannot yet see it. It makes me so anxious and jittery, but the promise of our Lord is one of safe-passage. He shall gaurd us and provide for us in this life. That is powerful comfort, worthy of the loudest Alleluia! my feeble faith can muster.