Empty Boxes and Backside Glory

Last week, Matthew and I took our “annual” trip, just the two of us. It’s just a great time of rest, relaxation, and fun with the Love of my life. We dream and talk about the future and which direction we should go as a couple. It’s totally fun, and it helps to keep us moving forward in life together.

We also have a good bit of time that each of us spends on our own. I love to comb the beach for treasures, and Matt loves to, well, sleep on the beach. During my beach combing, I think a lot and I talk to the Lord a good bit. We sort stuff out.

One morning, I had rejoined Matthew on our beach bed in front of the resort, and after a time he asked me, “So what are you thinking about?”

I looked at him and told him, “I don’t really think you want to know.”

He laughed because he knows me. My mind can go strange places, and not everywhere makes good sense to him.

So as he steeled himself for my answer, I told him. I will tell you that what I told him brought up more questions than answers, so consider yourself fairly warned as I share it with you now.

I read a short book on the way to Mexico that fed right into some ideas and ponderings of my own over the last couple of years. Even as a believer in Christ, I feel like there is just more to it than what most of us live every day. We say we believe in the truth of the scriptures, but most of us live a much different life than we see painted there. Many experience a much more wimpy version of what I believe is available to us.

We have accepted a version of Christianity that is packaged in a nice, neat box that we carry around and feel good about. It’s not at all messy or particularly impressive. It fits into our American idea of what it means to follow Christ. We see what we want to see in that box, and we behave accordingly. We are supposed to live within the boundaries of scripture, but most of us live inside the boundaries of that box… never venturing out to really taste and see that He is so GOOD.

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The Bible says we have the power within us because of the Holy Spirit to heal people, but we rarely see that happening. We rarely see anything miraculous happening. Somebody somewhere decided miracles were no longer taking place so we just said, “Oh, okay.” Only that someone forgot to tell those folks in foreign places where healings and miracles happen all the time.

Oops.

Jesus told us that with just a tiny particle of faith we can move the mountains in our lives with the words of our mouths, but we allow those mountains to sit right where they are because we don’t really believe Jesus was telling us the truth. Of course we would never say that, but it’s what we believe, right? Because we may not live what we say, yet our actions belie what we truly believe. Unmoved mountains speak to that truth.

The Bible tells us that when we accept Jesus as our Savior, it is no longer us who lives, but Christ in us who is alive there in us. How is this possible? The Bible tells us that we are right now seated in heavenly places. That’s funny, I thought I was seated on the beach with my husband. What? The Scriptures tell us that we were chosen by God to be His sons and daughters. How? Why? What does it fully mean to be the son or daughter of the Most High God? None of this fits into that neat, nice box, but all of that and more tells me that most of us are cruising on auto pilot and missing out on most of the goodness of being an adopted son or daughter in God’s family.

Over the last few years, I have desired to live outside my box. I want to live the life that is available to me because of Christ. The real one He offered me, not the pale, pitiful substitution that gets marketed so often to so many. I want to have eyes to see and ears to hear. I want to live inside the boundaries of scripture, but outside the boundaries of safe religion. In fact, I don’t even want a box. Just throw away the stupid box.

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So what would I see if I had those eyes that see? What would I hear if I had ears to hear? I don’t know. I told you my musings ask more questions than they answer. But if I am currently seated in heavenly places then that vantage point alone could help me out so much! How can I see what she/I see? Is that possible? Some kind of vision (understanding of present circumstances) must be possible, or Jesus would not have admonished his disciples for failing to have it, right?

When I finished this long and ambling answer, Matthew just smiled and shook his head. I know. I don’t have the answers, but I’m going to keep looking. There’s more to this life than most of us live out. Like Moses, I want to see God’s glory, even if it’s just the backside. What I do know for sure is it’s not in that box. Nothing He wants us to see or hear is.

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