An Early Christmas Meditation (Floating in a cloud of grace)

6 Oct

An old post of mine, very early for this Christmas season (but this weekend is already Canadian Thanksgiving, so here we go!!!):

Hebrews 11:6:  “But without faith [it is] impossible to please [him]: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and [that] he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

I woke up today thinking about how we are made for relationships, especially a relationship with God.  It is our default setting, as it were, although you wouldn’t always be able to tell that, looking at the majority of people, especially out and about at Christmastime.

I thought about how we live in the midst of love and grace and blessings flowing out from the heart of God 24/7.  How those things are just raining down on us at every moment of our lives.  How our default setting should also allow us to perceive that action 24/7, but how it so often does not.

What stops us from the realization that a Holy God is actively loving us and wooing us at all times and in all places?  That would be sin, inherited from our first parents at Eden and allowed to grow freely in us sometimes to the extent that we would look right past a downpour of blessings from God Himself without even perceiving that they are there, then would turn inward on ourselves so much that we end up feeling deprived.

If this awareness of God’s downpour of blessings and love could be called a sixth sense, we could relate it to the other senses and explain what happens when sin shuts out awareness of God.  A blind person, born blind, won’t know what a sunrise looks like.   A deaf person, born deaf, won’t be able to relate to Handel’s Messiah, except perhaps as a mathematically brilliant progression of notes.  People born with altered senses of smell, taste, or touch have various distortions in their perceptions. For example, many children are born with a sensitivity to rough textures against their skin.  These are the children, like my son, who always need tags cut out of clothes or they are driven to distraction by the feel of that bit of fabric against their necks.

Yet, we acknowledge that sunrises still exist, even though some people can’t see them.  Handel’s Messiah is performed hundreds of times every Christmas, even though some people can’t hear it.  And clothing tags really aren’t knives, even though some children perceive them as though they were!

So it is with God.  If we miss perceiving His presence or if we acknowledge His presence but don’t perceive that He is loving and full of grace and shows His love by raining blessings down upon us 24/7, He doesn’t cease to be nor cease to have His loving nature.  That is merely a perception issue on our side of things.

I love my atheist friends, but I am going to address the objection that most of them would make at precisely this point in my meditation.  They would say, “I am not going to believe in a God who would allow 69 people to die in a roadside bombing in Iraq yesterday, some of them children at the very beginning of their lives . . .”  You know what is funny?  There are many mysteries in life, some of which we may never understand until we can ask God Himself those questions someday, but the questions always reflect the bias of the questioner.  I can illustrate this by saying I have never had an American atheist friend say, “I am not going to believe in a God Who would allow me to be born in a country where the poorest person is richer than the richest person in the Third World.  And Who has allowed me to hold a good job for most of my life that pays more than 75% of the people in the world make, even if it is just restocking merchandise at night or something else that I don’t consider a dream job.  And Who has placed me in the heart of a loving family who would do anything for me.  And Who has given me a nice home, good quality clothing,  and abundant, delicious food.  Who has allowed me to be educated as far as I personally have chosen to go.  All this and I don’t even believe this God exists.  No, I am not going to believe in Someone who would be that good to a person who wants nothing to do with Him . . . ”

See the dichotomy?

Sometimes we have to begin with tenuous steps.  Maybe we don’t fully believe there is a God or that He is a good, loving, grace-filled God.  Hebrews 11:6 (and the entire book of Hebrews in the New Testament) addresses this very thing.  Maybe we have to start by asking God, if He is out there, to show us the way to Him.  By acknowledging that perhaps He has made that way very clear but something in our own perception is keeping us from seeing it.  By telling Him we are willing to find out we are wrong.  And willing to follow Him when He shows us the way to Himself.

It would make me happiest at this Christmas season to hear that some dear friend of mine has become a believer in Jesus.  It’s all there in His Word.  He didn’t hide His redemptive message in a cave somewhere.  He came to plainly show us how to live in relationship with Him.  He made the way for us to do that.  And He rains His blessings down upon us 24/7.  If we can perceive them.  If we will perceive them . . .

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