I promise. I promise. I am going to move on to other topics besides struggle and danger and all that stuff soon. After today, I’ll jump into some joy and beauty again. I’m really not as sober as I sound. In fact, for a jot of joy today, you can exult with me in the fact that autumn is almost here! (Feels like it is already with the mist of this day and the chai at my elbow.) So. One last spurt of brooding, because after my post on Risky Beauty, I found this article at Christianity Today: Danger: God.
I love finding people thinking similar thoughts. I love how the author pushes my conclusions further; not only is God full of danger amidst his beauty, His followers were never supposed to lead safe, contained lives. To love God is to get catapulted into the vast unknown. You never know what might happen. Once, on an achingly long roadtrip through the northwest that provoked endless hours of conversation, my brother and I got to talking about how pervasively the American ideal of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” influences our expectations. We both admitted to having at one time really thought that loving God meant having that dream come true.
What we have both found and are still daily finding, is that to love God, is often to lay down the life we wanted. To give up the liberty of choices and plans formed purely on our own desires. Even the pursuit of happiness; we crave and fight for joy. But this is still the broken place. Problem is, living in modern America is a bit like living in a bubble. I am thankful a million times over for my lovely little blue car, for the proximity of a half-dozen shadowy, song-haunted little coffee shops with “fair trade, organic coffee in five different roasts.” (I’m sitting in one right now!) But, as the CT author said, the safe confines of suburban American condition me to relate to God with such a deep expectation of safety and comfort that I am a little shocked, and yes, outraged when loving God means an upset to the boat, a strong wind blowing over my waters.
This morning I read:
When my heart was embittered, and I was pierced within,
Then I was senseless and ignorant. I was like a beast before you.
Nevertheless, I am continually with you.
You have taken hold of my right hand.
With your counsel You will guide me, and afterward receive me to glory. (Psalm 73:21-24)
I get so tickled at myself, the way I get so scrunch-facedly irritated at the heavens for not performing according to my idealistic expectations. I probably am a little like a beast with an almost irrational anger at having my comforts upset by even the smallest upsets of relationships, plans, and desires. But there, do you see it? God never lets go of me. Despite my stupidity and blinkers, God has taken hold of my right hand, just like a Father with his tiny girl. He won’t stop guiding me just because I’m bitter. His counsel will direct my steps and guide my heart regardless of my grumpiness, or my modern expectations, or my suburbanite blindness.
And that’s something I need to know. God is dangerous. My life is supposed to be risky. But in the middle of it all is my Father. This grace that sees all my protest and bluster and reluctance as little more than drip of rain. He’s guiding me, not just to being good, but to glory. Beauty. And it’s up to Him mostly, because I am my beloved’s, and He, holy God of the universe, is mine. Ah.