You are currently browsing the category archive for the ‘is God asleep?’ category.
I keep meaning to talk about this but then don’t because I think that I should say something profound or clever or whatever. A common theme.
Maybe a profounder or cleverer me will come back later and do better. Until then, here’s simple me in a hurry.
The picture that’s currently my banner is important. I awoke one morning asking God the usual questions. The answer I got is Joshua: “. . . walk . . . be bold and courageous” yadda yadda (not to be confused, well, maybe to be confused but only later, with “yada’ yada'”). Almost immediately, the image enters my head of Peter stepping out of the boat. Yep, walking.
I’m twisted enough to believe that this is God’s idea of a joke–a joke, which is not to say that He’s not also quite serious. Walk, never mind that you’re walking on water. And one might argue that it’s a loose interpretation of the verb “walk” (hence, the “or not”). There’s no guarantee you won’t fall precipitously, or that, in the falling, you won’t inhale lungs full of water. My mind goes a million places–joyous, scary and wonderful. Maybe more scary than joyous or wonderful; consider it an optimist’s sandwich.
I’m twisted enough that I laugh. The truth is, it makes more sense than most things. It makes sense, in fact, of all of the things that don’t make sense. It makes even more sense now than it did then. That’s the beautiful, sucky thing about this kind of revelation.
I believe that this is life. It is, if nothing else, the life of faith. It may sometimes seem cruel, when the water gives way, as water is wont, beneath one’s feet. As I’ve said before, I don’t believe, in the final analysis, that it is cruel but it is certainly a compellingly realistic and frightening facsimile of cruelty. Despite my supposedly knowing better, it usually convinces me.
Part of me believes that an über me (the me God meant when He dreamt me) will one day glide effortlessly across the surface of the broiling sea or even, if über me so chooses–rather, if God says (because, the key thing about über me is that he hears the voice of God with perfect clarity and, hearing, responds without hesitation)–dive deep beneath the surface, because, you see, über me not only walks (actual walking not just “walking”) on water but breathes water as if it were air.
As this thought germinates and its roots take hold of my heart and my head, I begin to see a motif in Scripture that had erstwhile eluded me. It is this: that often, as we face this difficult–often watery–path, God seems absent or asleep. Indeed, in one account of the disciples tossed on the sea, Jesus is or appears to be, at first, not there. When He does show up, they think Him an unfriendly ghost. Then come Peter’s baby steps. In another episode on the stormy sea, Jesus is, quite literally, asleep. Asleep in the bottom of the boat. Nice one, Lord.
If you doubt the legitimacy of the motif, consider what Jesus quoted on the cross. And don’t even start with the “that’s not exactly what He meant” or whatever other dishonest bastardization you’ve conceived or borrowed to make His outburst palatable and theologically correct.
Jesus experienced the absence of the Father so that we wouldn’t have to. What else is there from which we more urgently need saving? And still we are, or seem to be, not fully saved. Who doesn’t wonder? Who doesn’t doubt? Who doesn’t feel, at times, somehow all alone or, seeing the foggy or distant apparition, more frightened than comforted by the presence of the Lord? Whoever you are, I’m not sure that I want to know you.
In November, 2006, Deb and I visited Christine in KC and, at our daughter’s behest (I say this to give her credit because it was a great idea for which I am grateful), we visited the Nelson-Atkins Museum. Some museums (such as the Dallas Museum of Art) get all uptight about people taking pictures–pbbbbt on them for that, btw–but Nelson Atkins did not, so I took several. This is a clip from a painting of Jesus asleep on the boat. He’s the serene one on the left, sleeping while everyone else panics. The painting really spoke to me. What it said is more than I can contain here. In any case, it seemed the hand of Providence, so I made it my banner.
So, anyway, there you have it. No great claim to faith or power. As I say, “walking” on (or under) water isn’t exactly a choice, except inasmuch as I see Jesus there, He calls and I answer (or something like that). It’s the theme. I’ll say more.
I had added the following to the preceding. I decided to take it back. Not because I don’t mean it, but because I think I rather prefer the original as it was. Even in the blogging, I think I could do with a little less editing . . . or at least with a little more segmentation. And it’s all good. No one’s reading anyway . . .
It occurs to me that since this is the only thing I’ve posted here so far, I shouldn’t leave it uncommented. Someone might get the wrong impression. But what is the right impression? Do I, of all people, have any friggin’ idea what that might be? That, I would say, is partly the point (and much of the point of Jesus’ interactions with his friends on the boat–both the time that He walked and the time that He slept): I don’t know. Oh, how I don’t know. Volumes could be written about the depths of my unknowing. I suppose that’s what I’ll do.
Can’t You see we’re drowning here?
And don’t You care?