“If you describe a kiss in sheer physical terms, it sounds repulsive. Two people press their moist, ceased facial orifices together, cinch tight the sphincter muscles to draw the flesh around the orifice into a bulbous mound, and exchange saliva and breath. It takes imagination to transmute that into an act of intimacy and eroticism. It takes the power to see beyond and beneath the stark physicality of it. Those who look at the stars and see only dead rock and gases are like men who have spent their lives analyzing kisses and have never kissed anyone. We do that; Christians do, churches do.” -Mark Buchanan, Your God is Too Safe, pg 54
Western Thought has been greatly influenced by the Enlightenment. We have a great need to explain everything and analyze all things rationally. We operate with pragmatism as our mode of life, endlessly asking “does this practically work in my life?” In our “microwave” culture, if something doesn’t “work” immediately we often have no use or time for it.
While there are positive aspects to this way of life, it leaves no room for wonder, mystery, rest or awe. In our need to explain God we have failed to experience God. In our need to understand the Trinity, the Lord’s Supper, miracles etc; we have failed to receive, rest in, and be comfortable with the supernatural. We have reduced the Sovereign unpredictability of God to religious formula’s. We have replaced relationship with God with principles. We have it all figured out instead of daily admitting our need for God and trusting in him to lead us. In doing so we have lost a healthy fear, reverence, awe and dependency on God.
Not everything needs explained rationally. Not everything needs to satisfy our intellect. Some things simply need to be received with child-like faith and experienced with a sense of awe and wonder. God cannot be tamed or domesticated. Scripture does not need apologized for. If it was in fact put truly to a movie in all it’s “rawness” it would be more than R rated! This is not something to be embarrassed about, but rather it is what makes it so real and relatable to our lives. This life in this fallen world is not G rated after all! We need to stop “dumbing it down” or “dismissing” uncomfortable parts or truth.
Our God is wild; yet He is good. He is unpredictable; but we are secure in him. He is not out to make our lives comfortable; but he does comfort his people. God cannot be controlled by our prayers, obligated by our piety, manipulated by our sacrifices or reduced to religious formulas. God is God. There is a holy unpredictability and wildness about him that is humanly frustrating but divinely perfect.
Personally, I think one of the most challenging but liberating things to learn in regard to relationship with him (especially in the context of prayer/faith) is to “expect without expectations.” God just doesn’t work in our ways, timing, or according to our expectations. While this breeds frustration, disillusionment and disappointment, we can choose to succumb to our bitterness with him not working as we want to dictate, or, in humility, we can discover the ways of God more fully as we ask him to teach us.
This is not a 3-point sermon or “5 Steps to a Blessed Life Now.” This is a call to simply accept God is God and we are not. This is a call to stop trying to figure it all out and simply rest in who He is. This is a call to resist reducing relationship to formula’s. This is a call to be free from trying to explain everything and instead to experience the beauty, majesty and power of God. This is a call to simply trust Him. There is after all a vast difference between knowing about God verse actually knowing God.
Who among the gods is like you, Lord? Who is like you— majestic in holiness, awesome in glory, working wonders? -Exodus 15:11