In my life I have little details and tiny moments. Those miniscule things which change the course of my day (if I allow). All those endless opportunities to do one thing or another … to react one way or another … to say one word or another. My living is rarely full of big things that – if I shared them – would have others immediately recognise as important stuff – life-changing stuff. My reality usually leaves others with a puzzled look when I share it. And then I have to spend ages explaining why. And the puzzled look can take ages to morph into the “I get it!” expression.
I think a lot of God stuff is like that – which makes perfect sense to me. Because God stuff is just “living stuff” – not just “Sunday Church stuff”. Like a car-park incident yesterday (would take paragraphs to share). Like a work incident late last night (ditto). Like one detail in an email early this morning. Like the reaction of my wife less than an hour ago. And before that – and also through today. Tiny details and tiny moments. If I allow.
“And when Jesus got into the boat, his disciples followed him. A windstorm arose on the sea, so great that the boat was being swamped by the waves; but he was asleep. And they went and woke him up, saying, “Lord, save us! We are perishing!” And he said to them, “Why are you afraid, you of little faith?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the sea; and there was a dead calm. They were amazed, saying, “What sort of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him?”” Matthew 8:23-27
A lot of what we read in the bible qualifies as “big stuff” … significant stuff … important stuff … life-changing stuff … Or we like to think it is, we enjoy making it that, we keep elevating it to that level … and then reinforce that God on a Stick – God on a pedestal – or cross – or usually both. Because God is BIG. God is IMPORTANT! God is SIGNIFICANT!
Anyway … I was reading Matthew today. After the BIG sermon on THAT big Mount. And here is another BIG moment in just five verses: Calming The Storm.
Except today He took me away from all of that. To Matthew. To the years after. To the scraps of awestruck stories. The scrapbook of headlines. To all the dusty peeps affected by their own “God stuff”. Their daily living. Their tiny details and moments – which to us become important and significant because they are all “The Bible”!
And here is one of the gospel writers relaying – in just five short verses – a minuscule thing amongst many miniscule things. And yet we make it a BIG THING! One we bow down to and worship the Creator of this BIG THING!
Which makes our “little things” invisible – which makes my little details and tiny moments insignificant – which makes me insignificant in the presence of God. Which means I have to do the big stuff – except I never can – because I am permanently just a poor sinner – not worthy.
I think we have “issues” too often with God – our own issues that He never created or desires!
So just how do the bible writers avoid this unintended by-product as we read and re-read these verses day after day? How does the church avoid reinforcing that “command and control” week after week? And just how do we ALL avoid living a life of awe – Blinded by the Light (what a great song that is) – and just how do we become The Light (rather than shielding our eyes from it)?
They can’t. Because we must. Each one of us. One by one. Two by two. Only I can for me.
We each avoid that by realising that we are no different … unless we allow ourselves to be different. Because all this “allowing” works both ways. I don’t only ALLOW Jesus into my daily living. I also allow Him NOT to be my daily living. Because I always allow one thing or another – one detail or another – one choice or another. Because living IS choices – endless choices – tiny choices – in a car-park – a work detail – reading an email – in a reaction from another …
I allow because “allowing” is choice.
I will allow all day and every day – and what I allow is ALWAYS down to me – not God. And when I am blinded by the Light – I am also blind to what I allow – my choice. Because when I shut my eyes (in awe) and wait for “it” to go away – I make God an “It” – and any relationship with any “It” will always be remote – my choice.
But when I allow Him in the little things – the tiny details – the stuff that happens all day every day – please tell me how I can ever lie prostrate blinded by the Light? How does that even work?
Just how can I live my life and NOT talk of GSHJ – my God Soft Hands Jesus – my friend who lolls on my sofa and checks His nails – my companion who massages my shoulder – who looks over my shoulder as I type these words – who lights up one word – who touches me in a car-park and invites me to hear rather than yell – who asks me to check a detail at work – who flags up one detail in an email and invites me to understand rather than get angry – who smiles in the smile of another and so makes the words uttered soft and gentle rather than harsh and challenging.
Why would I even want to NOT become that familiar? Why would I ever allow my God to be BIG and remote? Because my choice is to allow my God to be whatever He understands works for me – to allow me allowing Him. To become so familiar we KNOW each other intimately – with familiarity – with affection – and WITHOUT “issues”.
Because isn’t that what we all do in a relationship with someone we love?