I keep asking God to help me to know Him more. Much more. I ask and ask and ask for real intimacy with Him. I heckle Him with ideas on how He can “simply” talk to me, “simply” do this or that.
Last night I learned to see it from a different way.
This perspective really takes the pressure OFF me and releases me to live well. It tells me that what I feel is good and wonderful, but explains to me why the road to intimacy can be uncertain to me and confusing.
Here’s what I learned. You know this verse?
You should not be surprised at my saying, ‘You must be born again.’
The wind blows wherever it pleases. You hear its sound, but you cannot tell where it comes from or where it is going. So it is with everyone born of the Spirit.” – John 3:7-8
I never quite understood that verse (and I’m not saying I do now either!). WHY don’t we know where it’s going and come from? Don’t we have 5 senses? Isn’t that is enough to figure it out?
No. It isn’t.
Yesterday in Ben Yehuda Street as I sat there, I saw a helpless person being helped and fed by another man – and I profoundly understood my condition and the source of my frustration as a Christian.
The helpless man didn’t have control of his limbs. His limbs DO work, but they aren’t under his control to a great extent. He could feed himself, but to a limited extent. He has eyes, but I doubt they saw much, if anything. Imagine that. Imagine having to be fed, not knowing where to sit, until the other Helper moves you or moves the chair to you. Not being able to see your food until the Helper puts the good food in your hand. Imagine not knowing what is good and what is bad food. So helpless.
I felt convicted that I am that person. It’s why I am SO frustrated. I want to control MY life, MY destiny, MY ability to eat MY food. How humbling to be so dependant on Someone else’s wisdom. What if they leave you there at the table? What if they lose interest or decide that it you’re just too difficult, too grumpy, too anything? I would not want to be helpless like that. No. No way.
But what the Holy Spirit was saying to me is that I am that person – I am helpless in this world as I battle sin and death and sickness and trouble and all this confusing theology.
I *am* that helpless person
As I write this, I have tears in my eyes to confirm this. I *am* that helpless person and I don’t want to be. It’s not who I want to be. I want to control my world. I want to understand my world and change to suit me and THEN I can have a good life. I want God and finances and the results of prayer to be predictable. I want to know where I am going and when I will arrive.
But… we are blind. We are helpless. We either know it, or we don’t know it. We may know it, but not accept the help we need, because like me, I’m too proud, too independent, too resistant to humble myself.
God loves us!!
Now I really want to say something here. God LOVES us. He sent His Son to this world *FOR* us. We’re worth *all* the cows on *every* hill to Him. He wants to be in close relationship with me and you… and we WILL be, after this world.
But I want it now, not then. Heh.
I’m ignorant of the world around me, so how can I control it?
Realistically we only see a small fraction of this world and God sees it all. How can I control what I don’t understand?
I saw so clearly that we need God so much to SEE what is the truth, what is good or bad, what is THE WAY, what is God’s character, how to get free, how to live and more. We need to accept His (the Helper) guidance and teaching. We need to let Him bring us to maturity, to show us what is good food and what is not.
Just like me, the man being helped has never SEEN his Helper. Can’t see Him come or go. He can’t control the Helper. Can’t “organize” or train or regulate his Helper. The power and the control of OUR lives is entirely in the hands of the Helper.
I’ll try explain that more.
I’d like to train God. Really. (Please forgive me Lord.) Seriously, wouldn’t you? Deep down, I think that if God did it MY way, things would be SO MUCH better. If He did it MY way, He’d do things that *I* understand, do things the way *I* can appreciate, do things when it’s convenient for *me* and so on.
Oh boy *that* would just make my Christian walk SO MUCH simpler. Come on! You know it’s true for you too. If He’s just do the things *you* pray for, the WAY you want it, when it’s useful and in a way you can easily perceive… things would be SO MUCH easier or you right.
Change the world, I want to get off!
And I bet that helpless man thinks the same way. He wishes the world was designed for people just like him – but it ISN’T. In fact the world is designed for a humanity that NEVER fell. It’s designed for how I should be, not how I am.
If the world was designed the way that helpless man needed, his life would be SO much easier. Objects would magically move out his way, cars would drive themselves, everything would identify itself audibly (his main functioning sense) and he would not have to grow very much, because the world would adjust to him and his needs.
Basically he would NEVER need to admit to his need or to his limitations… because the world around him would adjust to his needs. No problems = no need.
I’m that kind of Christian. I want God to speak to me in a way *I* can predict, so I understand it *first* time and in a reliable way which I can trust.
Am I the only one? Or can I get an AMEN! hehehe.
This is a problem we ALL face. So we learn about how to *USE* faith to get what we want, when we want it. We try and reduce Christianity to a bunch of rules – that nicely sorts out all the uncertainty. Yay!
Am I alone in getting SO frustrated at not KNOWING what comes next, where “we’re” going, when, who, what. All this uncertainty… just like the helpless man I saw!
No longer frustrated by uncertainty
But he was no longer frustrated. He had learned
- That his Helper cares for him
- That even though he is limited in some ways, he is a worthwhile person, he has value, he is loved and he is lovable and he can love
- That his Helper will NEVER EVER abandon him. Never.
- That His Helper will protect him, he will not come to harm
- That if he can’t do it for himself, the Helper will help him do it.
- That if he reaches for the wrong food the Helper might stop him and perhaps after a delay the Helper will give him the right food.
- That He can depend on the Helper and not have to do it all himself.
I could see this man, while choosing to be dependant on the Helper, had NOT become passive. Not at all. It’s a partnership. He keeps on trying, keeps on eating, keeps on reaching out into the “uncertainty” which he faces in his life… and the Helper keeps on teaching, keeps on helping, keeps on guiding… with patience, strength and kindness.
Partnership and our growth
But as he began to trust his Helper, he began to grow within himself, began to learn HOW and WHEN and WHERE, then slowly although he was NOT so helpless, he perhaps began to NOT feel so sorry for himself and he began to make friends with his Helper and began to partner with Him.
I feel like am struggling to get the main point across.
A relationship with an unseen person
It’s not about passivity, the man was active. It’s not about waiting on God.
The man is in a relationship with an unseen person – and that would be difficult. We’re also in an unseen world with an unseen God all around us. All we have is a book called the bible.
In that relationship, the man has gradually come to be able to understand more, take care of himself more (he most likely feeds himself at home, dresses himself in the morning etc.)
We too will grow and mature as we get to know our invisible God. It’s a process. It takes time.
Sometime around then, I then saw another man who is blind and he was walking very quickly down the pedestrian road. Completely blind but FULL of confidence. He ha near misses with people and once headed right toward a shop store. But he had such experience that he swerved with confidence and aplomb and kept right on going.
I am sure that he once also had to submit to the guidance and care and teaching of an unseen “other” person at one time. But having submitted to that Helper, he grew into a person who not only is confident and secure, but still being blind, he is probably now able to help other blind people.
What I learned
Here is what I have learned:
- I *am* that helpless person and I don’t want to be. It is human condition to need others and to need God to survive. But the world and hurt and the need to ensure survival (and perhaps pride) ensure that I will keep trying to help myself – and remain frustrated.
- Like everyone around me (even those in church leadership), I am spiritually blind and unless I accept the help of the Holy Spirit, I will never learn how to navigate with confidence. Thank You Holy Spirit, I welcome You help. Please be patient with me, as You always are.
- I will NEVER be able to fully understand this unseen person who is helping me, until after this world. I will never be able to understand the true nature of this world either… but I don’t need to, all I need is to trust the Holy Spirit to help me through it, if I will humble myself and stop kicking against the “goads”. hehehehe.
- A key thing is to relax my grip on this life, is to trust the grip of my Helper. To stop believing that He will lt me go at the first chnce He gets. I must trust that He will never leave me, never lose interest, never decide I’m not worth it or I’m too “hard” work. He will never forsake me. Even if I *think* he has left, He hasn’t, perhaps He just moved around to the other side of the table.
- The relationship between that man and his Helper is entirely different to another person’s and their Helper. It’s a relationship. It takes time to develop.
- Where the Helper is, is unseen to me. Where He comes from and where He goes is unseen, like the wind. What He battles with and how He provides food is unseen to me, like the wind.
- But I can grow, He will teach me, my choices will get better, my discernment will improve, I will know right from wrong, I will learn from Him how to avoid losing my peace, I will be brought into a healthy marriage and all of my emotions, body and mind will be restored, because my Helper loves me and He has been sent by my Father in Heaven to help me!
- I will learn, it will get easier… but at first I need to accept that it is humbling to accept my state, to admit my poverty, my need. I must accept that I will stumble, I will be frustrated, I will get tired.
- I will also have to get used to thinking I’d like to go *this* way, and He will lead me *that* way – we go where He chooses, we go to a table at the mall where He chooses, we eat the food He knows I can handle with my limbs… and as I reach out, He may say “stop” for my own sake.
- But it will get easier. I will learn about myself. I will learn His voice, His words, His kindness. I will learn about Him.
- I will lean to dance and run – always listening for His voice to say “stop” or “beware”. But over time His voice will say more and more “enjoy” and “have fun”.
I believe this is true for me and for many people who will read this. It is our human condition and He will enter into this relationship and lead us and train us… and it will work well and easily *if* we will stop struggling an accept that (for a time) things will be confusing and difficult.
But we must not become passive, we simply keep trying, keep reaching out, keep talking to Him, keep imply being the CHILD that we are, and rely on Him – and yet still keep moving, keep reaching out… over time we will come into maturity with our relationship with Him.