July 15, 2015

A Nuanced Eternal Mosaic

Having just charged up to Death's door and then slowly backed away, the Lord has repositioned my mortal perspective...again. Lyme Disease is much more traumatic and dangerous than I ever imagined. I guess I'm just a slow learner or if I learn I don't retain it well. Lyme Disease's extended and pronounced fever and joint pain has a way of becoming a life-altering experience. Pain and discomfort have a way of doing that to a person. It took what was effectively an exceptionally healthy and active 46 year old and drove me face-down for a close-up inspection of the dirt I felt I was about to buried in. That being said, when all you really have the energy for is introspective thought, you come up with posts like this one. Read it slowly, it came at great price.
I am starting to fully accept the fact that there is another world behind the world. Yeah, what we call the spiritual. Acknowledging it existed in faith as I had in the past was one thing (a priori). To firmly accept it as a foundational certainty is another thing quite different (a posteriori). I am now leaning distinctly towards the latter because God is continuing to reveal things only He can and it is establishing it as certainty.
When I say accepting it (the unseen) I mean that not only does the world-behind-the-world exist, it most certainly has profound impacts on the here-and-now as we read in Daniel 10:13. It is levels of reality that intertwine and interact like air and fuel mixing to create explosive combustion. You can't always see the individual elements but you can see the end results they produce. These elements or levels include individual people’s lives. What I am saying here is that there are always extenuating circumstances for people’s actions, behaviors and moods. Some driven by the needs or trials of this world…but sometimes driven by the impetus of the other world…of the spiritual. For good...and bad.
Most do not even see it in themselves let alone others. The interplay between the two often blurs into a homogeneous whole sometimes. It takes a spiritually discerning eye to separate out what is natural and what is spiritual. It takes even more discernment to know which is of God and which is against God. It is wisdom of the Spirit. It is the knowledge of Scripture that does this too.
1 Corinthians 2:12-14 “Now we have received not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, that we might understand the things freely given us by God. And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.
As it is said in an old Lynyrd Skynyrd song, “There’s things goin’ on that you don’t know.”
I guess, in a way it is a meta-narrative. In biblical interpretation it is called meta-narrative anyway. When I say meta-narrative I mean a grand narrative that tries to give a totalizing, comprehensive account to historical events, experiences, and social, cultural phenomena based upon the appeal to God’s biblical and universal truth/values. But it is more than that. It is the overarching story beneath the story. It is the multitude of stories that build the larger story like floors build a skyscraper. In God’s case it is His narrative and He is actually above the story or as I said…overarching
Interestingly it is an overarching narrative that delves down to individual lives like mine on a one-on-one basis and it affects us both physically and spiritually. God has allowed our lives individually to affect the divine aesthetic of the over all historical/eternal mosaic. Otherwise we would merely exist for a moment and be gone the next only to be forgotten having served no purpose other than to exist. We are told in the Bible we are much more though. We are part of an intimate exchange between the Father and the Son and our salvation is the diadem in the Father and Son's crown.
Christian meta-narrative believes that human nature, since the Fall (Genesis 3), is characteristically sinful, but has the possibility of redemption and experiencing eternal life in heaven; thus representing a belief in a universal rule and a teleological end result for a repentant humankind. I also believe (backed by Scripture) that in the overarching trans-historical narrative there are multiple realities to deal with in terms of the physical realm and the spiritual realm for every living person.
So even in the grand narrative there are multiple realities or a larger story that gives way to many smaller ones. The grand narrative gives way to smaller and "localized" narratives in each of our individual lives that make up God’s “big picture”. Fortunately or unfortunately, the big picture is so big we cannot fully grasp and understand all the different levels, interactions and interplay. We think we can but we quickly find out that it is impossible.
This then gives way to the understanding that (as I said before), there are thing goin' on that we don’t know…nor can we. There are mysteries of God only He will know and they are not for us to try and unravel. It is at these points that we come to the realization that we must turn things over to God or we will go insane trying to control and fix things that are out of our grasps. This is especially the case in the spiritual realm. We wage war not against flesh and blood but against powers and principalities fueled on by the dark and wicked things of this world.
Good or bad, the smaller narratives of our individual lives whether they be repentant or not make up God’s big picture. There are some chosen for salvation...others not. To discount all the things we can’t account for and see is foolish. Just because it cannot be understood doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist, it just means we are incapable of grasping it or don’t have the proper type of vision.
The only reason I write on this now is because I am staggered by how many situations in my life (including this most recent bout with Lyme Disease) where I thought I understood what was truly going on….well, I didn’t. When I finally did realize what was "goin' on", things were not as they seemed. I came to the conclusion that I hadn’t had a clue to the truth. I was severely off-base about what I did believe.
People who I thought were just grumpy people were much more than they seemed. Some had just been diagnosed with cancer right after losing a sibling to death. They weren’t grumpy, they were in a prolonged form of depression and shock. A stressed-out family was not anti-social, they had children with social disabilities like Autism and Asperger’s and had been treated poorly by the world. They naturally become withdrawn and defensive in an attempt to protect the precious children the Lord had given them stewardship over. Otherwise functioning couples in public had lifelong battles with alcoholism behind closed doors but had become adept at hiding it.
The list goes on. Looks and the surface of things are often deceiving especially in the spiritual realm because at first…there might be nothing there to see. It isn’t until the fruits of a fallen world, sin or depravity begin to manifest themselves in forms of death that anything even becomes visible. These types of events have pushed me back and forced me to re-analyze what I once held tenaciously to as truth. When I was forced to look at the entire picture or narrative it took on a completely different complexion. the much larger scheme/schema became easier to see and much more evident.
As John F. Kennedy once said:
"The greater our knowledge increases, the greater our ignorance unfolds..." 
I have learned (sometimes difficultly) that everyone has a backstory and we must allow for that in our discernment of situations. Things are not always as they seem on the surface at face value. People and history are not two dimensional mosaics but rather multi-dimensional dynamics. There is not only a visual aesthetic but also elements of emotion, logic, spirituality and time to name a few. I do not have all the facts even when I think I do. I need to allow for God’s providence and sovereignty to work not only in my life but in other people’s lives too.
Sometimes seeing what we need to see in situations to even be able to do what God wants us to do requires that we depend solely and completely on Him, otherwise we wander blindly just like the people we are trying to help. To even be able to do this we must admit we are incapable and this requires the utmost in humility. This is exactly why God cannot use a haughty or proud heart. The heart of the haughty must first be broken.
The large picture is made of smaller snapshots just as the building is often made up of smaller blocks and bricks. The Church is made up of individual lives unified in one Spirit. The key is understanding that those lives are sinful and damaged lives that are in route to glorification through repentance but have not perfectly reached that destination. We are rough-hewn stones. It is only the Spirit Himself that allows for us to see the bigger picture and work together in harmony to have a piece (and the peace) of the kingdom as a Church on this side of the grave. 
Therefore we must realize that things in this life will be less than ideal for them, and us, until the Kingdom is fully realized and the physical and the spiritual merge. That is the end result of the meta-narrative. Merger into the spirit-body. We will be returned to the original state intended before the Fall took place in Genesis 3. The Kingdom will therefore be made up of repentant Godly people under the head of Christ. Not quite perfected now but soon to be then. All will be submitted to the authority of Christ. It’s all just part the larger narrative which is to bring glory to God by our salvation through Him because that was the plan since before the beginning of the narrative in eternity past.

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