lyef & thymes

Monday, February 27, 2006

When I look at the stars...

Sometimes, when the sky is really clear, you can look up at the stars and it seems as though someone has pulled a canvas over the sky. And the canvas is all that is keeps us from looking directly into Heaven’s glory. The stars are little
holes in the canvas where Heaven peeks in at us, waiting for the canvas to be moved aside so the welcome party, the wedding reception can begin. Fortunately for us, the veil has already been torn, and the bridgroom is inside the canvas. And He is loving us even now, with open arms waiting to embrace us, holding us even when we don’t know it.

I wrote that during the School of Ministry in 1999, and a friend just reminded me of it. It is amazing to me, because since that time I have moved to the countryside, and then out of the countryside and back into the city. Cities are places of light, always brightly lit up, and the streetlights take the place of the stars. In the countryside the image of the stars makes so much more sense. There are just so many of them that the sky is an amazing display of the Grandeur of God. Cities, it would seem, are a display of the Grandeur of Man, who is made in the Image of God, the "Imago Dei", but in this case, I would have to say that I prefer the stars. But the reason that this strikes me so, enough to write about, is that it displays to me a sense of distance in my view of God. I had a real "here vs. there" sense of God, as though he is sometimes here (nearby) and sometimes there (distant).

Cantalamessa said that "Jesus draws near so we will love him, and also draws back so that we will long for him". This seems consistent with a loving relationship, that it displays both fulfillment and longing simultaneously, but I have seen an error in my way of seeing this patern.

Namely, I saw nearness as relationship, and drawing back as something else, testing maybe. If it is so, that even the drawing back is to the end of causing my heart to long for Jesus even more, then this is loving relational behavior. If this is a test, "will you still love me even if I am mean to you, and cold, and far-offish" then I can't imagine this a love. But there was a time when I could, and therein lies the issue.

I have had so many harsh examples of love in my life that by the time I was in the School of Ministry I had begun to accept that love was pain, and pain was love. My poem/thoughts about the stars were originally written slightly differently than they are posed here. Let me show you the original:

Sometimes when the sky is really clear, you can look
up at the stars and it looks like someone pulled a big
canvas over the sky, and that is all that is keeping
us from seeing God’s glory. The stars are just little
holes in the canvas where God peeks in at us, waiting
to move aside the canvas and smile down at us face to
face. Fortunately for us, the veil has already been
rent, and He is inside the canvas. And He is loving us
with open arms waiting to embrace us, hugging us even
when we don’t know it.

It is still an image of love, but do you see how it poses God as more distant? Now I have an easier time recognizing the nearness of God as love, and the appearance of some sort of distance between us as an illusion. Even if God has allowed me to feel as though he is distant, causing me to long for him, and love him even more, the truth is that he is still just as present with me as before, maybe even more so. He is invisible, so it stands to reason that it is difficult to "see" God at the best of times. But we experience him in other ways, through the bible, through feelings, through prayer, and I feel as though my error was in believing that during seasons in which these things were less accessible to me, that God was somehow further from me, that I had angered him somehow, and now he was in the other room fuming, unwilling to talk to me.

God is never absent from us. Look at what Job had to say "Look, I go forward, but He is not there, and backward, but I cannot perceive Him...But He knows the way that I take; When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold." (from Job 23)

It's amazing love that I am talking about here. God is so faithfull to us, so in love with us, that even the times when we cannot perceive his presence in our lives, it is making us into gold. I tell you, God is amazing. I can't describe how perfect his ways are. Even when I can't see the way, 'He knows the way that I take'.


At 5:19 p.m., Blogger Michael said...

God Rocks.

Are you into Switchfoot at all Jake? - I am reminded of their song "Stars".

See u Friday.

At 6:37 p.m., Blogger rainy dayz can be happy.. said...

Jake ur post moved me to tears.....n

At 6:53 p.m., Anonymous Anonymous said...

distance is just an illusion.



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