Wednesday, August 24, 2005

does this look like rescue to you?

I love this interpretation of Exodus 5:23 from The Message. Moses was expressing his annoyance at God for things getting worse instead of better, for not going exactly as he had envisioned in this rescue operation God sent him on. Well, the problem with us here-and-now, time-bound, earthy homo sapiens, is that we often assume that things are as they seem, that the situation is exactly as it appears, that ‘right now’ is an accurate picture of where things stand, but from my experience, that is seldom the case. The story is never finished, there are always new developments, and what initially appeared to be a setback very often turns out to be a catalytic factor in directing one to a better way.

I have sometimes been told by well-meaning Christians that what I am doing ‘looks’ like something that is associated with some form of ungodliness, at least in their mind, and I can tell they are uncomfortable with the whole thing. What the heck am I supposed to do with that skewed bit of information? Basically, they are admitting that they have a perception problem and they would prefer if I changed my behaviour so that they don’t have to adjust their limited outlook to more closely reflect the truth. Sorry, my low tolerance for small-mindedness is coming through here, mostly because I struggle with the same thing myself. Okay then. We will all encounter things that make us uncomfortable in our lives; situations that we would rather not be in because they are not conveniently resolving themselves as they would in a neatly written 156-page work of light inspirational fiction (I have nothing against this form of writing, I have done some of it myself, but it hardly portrays truth in all its bloody and painful dimensions).

Why does a raised voice make me uncomfortable? Because in my household, that was never done – it was considered a sign of uncontrolled anger and aggression. So I assumed that anywhere I heard raised voices, someone was sure to die or be horribly maimed. Then I encountered my husband’s family where yelling was just part of getting heard at the dinner table and oddly enough, no one ever lost an arm or an eye or even held a grudge. I have adjusted my perception accordingly and on occasion, will even participate in a heated discussion in that household, raised voice and all.

I believe that as God continues to reveal himself to me, I will continuously have to readjust my perception. What looks like injustice may in fact be an extension of mercy. What looks like death, may turn out to give life. What looks like a mentally unstable, unkempt, rebellious, religious cult fanatic with an anger problem may turn out to be John the Baptist. What appears to be increased bondage might be the first step to the greatest rescue operation ever (go Moses!). What it looks like is hardly relevant. What matters is what it IS and what it is on the way to becoming, and in order to ascertain this, I will have to dig a little deeper, do a little more research, ask God what he is up to, be a little less quick to judge, exercise faith instead of sight, and get to know people’s hearts. Let me see with wiser eyes.

1 comment:

Doug Floyd said...

Ah yes! Very good. Makes me think of a story from Richard Wurmbrand. In prison for his faith, he wondered if it would have been better if he had not fought the government, avoiding prison and being able to continue to serving his flock. Then he suggests that there could have been two Richard Wurmbrands: one as a prophetic warrior against the communists and the other as a passive servant of his flock. BOth would view the other as suspect and possibly even as an enemy, yet both would be fulfilling God's purposes in their lives. This story highlighted for me a point similar to your post. We have such varied callings and backgrounds, we must be careful and cautious before we throw stones at one another.