Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Most of all, trust

So it's easy, you say, to not believe in God, to tell people you don't believe, and to say you don't care what others think. Do you really think it's as easy as that? Without knowing for sure whether something or someone does or doesn't exist, to just say, 'I don't believe'? Do you think that by not believing in God, He (or she, or it) will just go away? Well, if God doesn't exist, yes, that works just fine. But, what if He does?

You can no more throw away the floor that you're standing on than throw away God. Whether or not you can see Him, or hear Him, it is He that is holding you up, He that is the ground under your feet that lets you stand at all. Ever try to stand on thin air? It simply doesn't work. If you've nothing to stand on, you don't stand at all. But aha! you are standing, I see! So, there has to be something under you.

True, if you're blind you can't see the floor, but you're still standing on it, and if you just bend down, you can touch it. You can feel its texture. You can't know its color, maybe, but you can tell if its hard or soft, hot or cold, wet or dry. Yes, even a blind person can tell a lot about something just by feeling it.

But there's sound too. The floor doesn't make much sound when you walk on it, just a squeak here and there, now and then. But if you fall flat on your face against it—now, there's something more than just sound! Ouch! Yes, you can feel the floor very well when it meets you face to face, even if you can't see it, and there's the sound—actually two sounds: the thud of you hitting the floor, and your own voice cursing the darkness.

So much for floors. God, if He does exist, is certainly more than a floor. The bible says He is the ground of our being. If you'd ever read the book and take what it says seriously, you might be in for a surprise. Almost everything about God that makes you not like Him, not be interested in Him, not want to believe in Him, is simply not there.

Oh yes, you can read your own ideas into those ancient words, and pat yourself on the back, and be smug and tell Him 'I told you so' and 'I knew it all along—you hate me.' But you've muzzled the ox while it's treading out the corn, and you're the ox! Everything that God has placed in the manger is for us, His animals, to eat. If it were just ordinary corn, we should've been satisfied. But no, He has filled the manger with—Himself!

So that old, dust-covered book that someone (maybe a parent who loves you) gave you and which you've been using as a book-end or a coaster for your drink is actually a manger full of food, full of the most delicious food, but all along you've believed it was just full of damp straw and maybe a moldy turnip or two, and you're still not about to eat from it, because that's all you believe is in there.

Ah yes, back to not believing in God. Anyone can say that, but if you actually try to walk that road you'll find, not that it leads nowhere, but that it declines into oblivion, not like a smudged impressionist painting of God-knows-what, but a mental tunnel that gets narrower and darker as you are pulled into it. Yes, I did say pulled. Black holes are not only found in the depths of outer space, but inside our depths as well.

That's because—I know you didn't ask and could care less, but—everything that we can see, hear, taste, feel and touch outside ourselves has a counterpart, a mirror image, inside us. Even that dusty old book I mentioned is inside you, even though you're not interested in reading it, outside or inside. But that's okay, because like the God you say you don't believe in, that book isn't going to go away either. It can't. If it did, you'd have nothing to stand on. And here you are, still standing.

So the time is Easter, and the tra-la-la of spring and chocolate bunnies and colored eggs rolling down grassy slopes has infiltrated and camouflaged the event that remakes all of time and space, all of nature, everything visible and invisible, yes, even you. Everyone fails in their flying leap to adulthood the first time they try—everyone. And most people continue failing on and off for a long while, but that's part of the training. Yes, the God you say you don't believe in is, has been, and will be training you for a very long time.

You're in something more than a foreign language class that you can pretend to take and then forget as soon as you graduate. No, you're going to be learning His language for a very, very long time. You'll never be able to speak it fluently by just reading the dialogs to yourself. You actually have to try speaking what you want to say, and to Him. Not too soon nor too late, one of these days, the God you don't believe in will start talking to you because you've learned enough of His language to start to understand.

I hope when that happens you won't do what I tried to do—tell Him I knew He was there but didn't want to believe because I had too much invested in things I liked that I didn't want to give up. If you hear such things going through your mind or passing your lips when you finally stand before Him and not only hear but feel His voice, you'll know what to do. I did, and I'm no different from you. I couldn't believe in Him until I knew for sure that He believed in me. After that, it wasn't a question of belief anymore at all. Knowing, yes maybe, but most of all, trust.

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