I’m going to ramble around for a moment here with some very unoriginal thoughts, but since these concepts have truly revolutionized my life and my faith as I’ve come to experience them over the past couple of years, I figure I’m allowed to indulge a wee bit.
Looking back at my 2006, and to a lesser extent 2005, I realize that the overarching theme that stands out above anything is else is how much bigger God is for me now than he was in the past. Even though I consciously and earnestly gave myself to Jesus at a very young age, that didn’t quite translate to my teen years when I should have sought God in the midst of increasing ambition and self-awareness. I credit my lack of a complete spiritual meltdown to the fact I was home-schooled and nurtured by a loving family, but my faith was still largely a cold set of facts I believed to be true yet didn’t necessarily impact my day-to-day existence. Eventually, as I started struggling with some real, painful issues, those facts couldn’t save me.
My God was a popup entity I could summon when I needed Him, and once the crisis had passed or the silly little worship song was over, I could put Him back and go off on my own way, practically forgetting anything I might have accidently learned. Like a jack-in-the-box or the genie in the lamp, it was a relationship I controlled. It was a process I directed. I’m not yet married, but I’ve learned enough about marriage through parents and friends to know that one-way relationships aren’t really relationships at all. Marriages that are simply two sets of one-way relationships soon end up as two sets of zero-way relationships…and the inevitable “d” word is probably not long in coming.
2006 was a year of awakening for me, something I credit to an amazing, bizarre, frightening, and glorious set of circumstances which I’ll talk more about as time goes on. Suffice it to say, 2006 was the year in which I really began to realize Just. How. Big. God. Is. I mean, BIG, as in
To quote Cypher in the Matrix: “What a mind job!” The more I try to wrap my head around God and His love for me, the more I feel like my mind just isn’t capable yet to connect deeply with this awesome, magnificent Presence. I get snatches of Him, here and there, when I’m praying and praising and pondering on His works, and it’s almost overwhelming — I simultaneously want to run as far away as I can and avoid being so vulnerable, so naked, and yet I never want to let go. Maybe this sounds crazy to some of you reading this. It would have sounded crazy to me too in times past. But 2006 was the year when I began to discover just how big God is. And it’s a path of great joy and peace that I’m willing to sacrifice everything for — if my pride and my fear don’t trip me up.
John the Apostle wrote that perfect love casts out fear, and I sometimes wonder what that means. Maybe it means that in giving up the nice little God-in-the-box that doesn’t challenge or convict you, you instead receive Someone who allows you to face your biggest fears only to find that, compared to the breadth and depth of our Abba Father, they are simply nothing.