Thursday, March 20, 2008

God as Paradox

One of the things that I have reflected upon this Lent is the God of the Paradox. God alone is not paradoxical, yet does chose consistently throughout the pages of Scripture to use paradox as a means to continually throw humanity off and take notice.

How often have I put away thoughts or ideas with the excuse that "it's not in my giftset", "I'm not qualified", or the worn-out "and how am I to fit this into my already loaded schedule?"
As I looked through the pages of Scripture at Moses, Esther, Ruth, the Disciples, Jesus (obviously) and others I started looking at my excuses a bit closer. As I started to consider the lives of individuals such as Wilber Wilberforce, Mother Teresa, Hudson Taylor, Billy Graham, Francis of Assisi and others - I realized that none of them were prepared or equipped to do the task that was set before them initially. All had to trust God to provide them the skills, experiences, personnel and energy to carry forth the vision that had been laid on their heart.

Perhaps we (universally speaking, not from a guilt-inducing place) discount too quickly that quiet whisper of the Spirit within our inner being? There has been one project that has repeatedly come up that I long to do yet think that I still am not ready to do it - I lack the full M.Div. for credability, I've no real experience in this area, I'm not sure that others have seen a gifting in this area that confirms that I could do it. Etc., Etc., Etc. From what I hear from others - I'm not alone in this thinking.

I think the real issue is fear. Plain old "in your face" fear. Of the unknown, of failure, of falling on my tukus in broad daylight. Of being called out as untalented. Yet, it seems that these are the qualities and personalty types that God uses over and over again.

Easter saw eleven men and countless others blown away by their expectations. God lived within the man they called Jesus. The man who was dead but now again lives. The one who healed the sick, brought about miracles, made plain and alive the words of Torah. These same people, huddled together in an upstairs room eventually took the simple yet paradoxical teachings of Jesus out of their cities, to the ends of the earth.

Easter is celebrated on Sunday but is lived throughout the week. My prayer for all this Holy Week is that we too would find those dreams resurrected within us and become empowered by the Spirit of the Resurrected One to see what could happen if we say yes to the paradoxical idea.