Peace is a precious jewel of a gift. The past several days, I keep catching myself, are you sure you're not anxious? fretting a little? And the truth is I'm not. The school is moving, and it won't be easy. But it's okay. And even if it ends up not okay, we'll walk that road when we come to it. We will likely have to move our home at the same time, but that too is not yet clear. So mentally, I'm heading there-- putting all this nostalgia stuff and but-this-place-works-so-well-for-our-family thinking up on the altar and feeling free from the worry of what's to come. If it's better, if it's worse-- I know Who holds the future. And Who wants to meet us in the midst of it.
I'm all in, and I want to go further. Often I think that means continuing to strip away at our fabricated ideas of who God is, ideas that become ever more evident when we face situations that fly in the face of how we think He ought to work.
It's the kind of thing that stories like C.S. Lewis, Til We Have Faces, Sheldon Vanauken's Severe Mercy, and the dark tales of Flannery O'Connor explore: that we will be stunned into either humble, mysterious worship or blasphemous rage when we encounter the true and living God as He is, and in the same manner, ourselves for who we are. This kind of discovery takes a lifetime, not four years at a seminary. And how humbling to think that even as we rediscover again and again the outsized borders of our God, bursting apart our formulas and expectations, that He is still actively pursuing the knowledge of us. He wants us, silly and ignorant and slow as we are. All the beckoning words of Jesus pay us a compliment we don't quite know what to do with. It must be why so many flocked to him, and still do.
There's that Proverb that says Three things are too wonderful for me, four I do not understand... and I always think I could add about a hundred other things to that list. I don't know why fathers of four young children have to die, why children in Nigeria are kidnapped for war, why the evil seem to prosper, why my friend can't have the baby she longs for, why the curve of the moon can move me but my heart still remains hardened when hurt. And why do we have to lose stuff that's expensive? Or misunderstand each other so deeply? Why do cockroaches exist? And racism?
I played over the hymns again and again this week. And their lines were like the liturgies I never had growing up.
O soul are you weary and troubled?
No light in the darkness you see?
There's light for a look at the Savior,
And life more abundant and free
Does looking at Jesus really help? Does it give peace to a weary and troubled soul? Does it help to answer these seemingly unanswerable questions? I don't always know. But increasingly, I'm convinced it must. And I'm ever thankful for the centuries of pilgrims who have walked this way before me, and who found it to be true. I follow hard in their steps.