Longing for the Story to Be True

10th-century-greek-bible
How do you write words which simultaneously veil and reveal truth?
which direct a story line unfolding with perfect timing revealing a powerful meta narrative that transcends the mind that reads it?  that masterfully weaves multiple subplots intricately supporting and enhancing the one main theme?  to speak through different voices, periods, cultures with a unifying clarity? using various literary genres without distraction?  where the story’s truth rings loud and clear to every generation without fail?  that creates a longing in the heart that will never be satisfied unless the story is true?

For all to align, the author must be omniscient in the creation of the story, be driven with a meaningful reason to create, be directing the story with omnipotence which in turns conveys the ponderous purpose and meaning behind it, which will at the same time create in the reader such a forever longing in the heart, earnestly yearning deeply for the story to really be true, that will never be satisfied unless the story is real and true. C. S. Lewis kind of copy, an echo(C. S. Lewis)

Only an author wielding such a true wisdom and power can unveil his story with such detailed control and offer the substance that spans millenniums.  The author must also intimately know the reader in order to stir the mind, imagination and will of the person to seek the mystery and meaning of the story.  Desire is flamed as the message permeates the unknown recesses illuminating the darkest, most secret, and tender places of the heart; and the reader is called to  engage, for the heart of the story allows for no neutral ground, and the truth calls plainly in the streets for a response.

Sadly, there are few brilliant writers considering how many people have been born.  However, there is one book whose author continues to stir controversy, give hope, remain debated or revered depending on the reader: God.  The ancient one true God who speaks a living word “…piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.”  The claim is ponderous, but the influence of this book remains without question.

Why?

Could it be that the invisible reality of the story beckons to what our soul remembers?  Could it be that the conflict of the story is resolved with such desperate, brutal grace that the soul is forever shaken by the unfathomable love portrayed?  It it because we know we could never write a story like that and be authentic, for we could never perform the action?

The Story:   In the beginning, God lived here on earth.  His face was seen by the people he made.  His glory and presence was known and enjoyed daily. In that day, the world was a garden, a true paradise that defied any imagination to envision a surpassing, unparalleled perfect home.  Injustice did not exist.  Hunger was unknown.  Poverty was not conceived.  There was no disease, death, or decay.  God’s beauty filled the earth.  But, like all good stories, there arose conflict that threatened the beauty.  The created wanted control.  Humanity decided to write the story, to be their own master.  It ruined paradise.  The result is that all of humanity now lives in a broken world apart from the perfect community enjoyed in the presence and glory of God.  Paradise is now remote from earth.   When our relationship to God unraveled, our relationships with everything else unraveled.  The ideal became desolate and broken, remote from the real beauty and glory.  Mankind experienced psychological, physical, emotional, social, etc. alienation from God.  So, we became the antagonist against a very good God.

We became like a fish flopping in a small puddle of water,
fish in a puddle
barely able to survive,

with no room for flourishing.

Created for God,
everything else is too small for our souls.

But, all of us try to achieve our potentials.  We pursue power, reputation, approval, relationships, family, success, money, country, causes, etc..  Not designed for such shallow waters,  we were never meant to live for those things.

God redeems in order to habit.   So the story churns on based on the very unchangeable goodness of God, the God who would keep His promises and finish the story.  God redeems and reintroduces home through the hero of the story, his Son Jesus Christ.
Home is a place for the deepest longings of your heart and soul to be met
by His presence;
and the way home is through his Son.

psalm 16.11In God’s presence is joy forever; that is, God’s relational presence & glory is the only environment where every created thing flourishes.  We stay frozen as acorns.  The majestic oak never rises apart from His life-giving blood.

C. S. Lewis cottage palaceOur potentialities will not erupt unless with are in the presence of God, for our souls only dance in His love.  Happy ever after is true in the joy of God’s presence.

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Identifying the Problem

As evening fell his disciples came to him and said, “We are right in the wilds here and it is very late. Send away these crowds now, so that they can go into the villages and buy themselves food.”
 “There’s no need for them to go away,” returned Jesus. “You give them something to eat!”
“But we haven’t anything here,” they told him, “except five loaves and two fish.”

-Matthew 14:15-17, J. B. Philips translation

The wind-beaten faces of the fishermen divulged weariness and concern.  The raised brow of the tax collector questioned the late hour.  The steady gaze of Jesus’ inner circle of twelve fastened on him expectantly.  The men waited for their teacher to speak the words that would close the day.  It had been such a long day.  Hundreds, no thousands, of men had showed up to meet Jesus, some with families tagging along.  Sick family members had reached out to this gentle Healer and Teacher, and now they lingered cured of their sicknesses, curious, and fascinated with this man of compassion.  biblical crowdJesus’ disciples really wanted him to send the sea of listeners away. The men urged Jesus to tell the people to leave, using the crowd’s hunger as a reason.  Their argument highlighting hunger was just a sophism.  Jesus knew that.  The people didn’t need to go away. On another occasion, these same men had pushed children away from the teacher to protect him from being bothered.  But surprisingly, Jesus wanted the little children to be around him. Jesus didn’t push people away. The “sending-away” actions disclosed the disciples’ own impatience and self-protective desires.  It was hard to be around the crowds who continually overflowed with a river of needs.  Send them away.  Let them go get food.  Then, the problem would go away.  But, Jesus didn’t view people as the problem.

“There is no need for them to go away.”

No need?  Didn’t the crowd need to eat? Had the men spoken fact that was also untrue?

Then Jesus asked the disciples to do something startling; he asked them to feed this gathering of thousands, quietly unveiling their greatest need.

Feeding of the many. John 6:1-21. 1999 Mark A Hewitt. Lino cut & water colour.

Feeding of the many. John 6:1-21. 1999 Mark A Hewitt. Lino cut & water colour.

Again, the men spoke fact and fiction, “But, we haven’t anything here, except five loaves and two fish.”  True, but not true.  Let the men remember the Creator of the fish and the grain, the one who had already exhibited great power in healing disease.  Let their minds comprehend the fullness of the godhead that stood beside them with dusty feet in flesh and bone. Would they only rely on a single donated lunch to feed a crowd?  Would their vision remain limited to what they could see?  Would they understand the true need?
a need far greater than what they saw now.

Jesus simply replied to his friends stating the remedy, “Bring them too me.”  bread brokenness

Then the Lord of Creation blessed the food, broke the loaves, and gave back to his disciples enough bread to fill the crowd’s bellies full. The men walked through the vast crowd seated on the grass- giving and receiving-giving until all were satisfied, then receiving back the leftovers.  Each man looked down at the basket they were carrying. Each basket rim touched by the leftovers.  Though the offering was small, when it was surrendered to Jesus there had been more than enough to meet the need. Discerning the true need opens the eye to the remedy.

The Difficulty of Forgiveness

Forgiveness
is
difficult.
eye tear

The act of forgiveness requires two things:  mercy and justice.  It is impossible to divide love from absolute purity and goodness.  Is this not why hearts offended beat in turmoil? The heart gasps from the plunge of the sword into its warm, life-giving strength and feels the pain searing deep into the most secret, vulnerable and intimate places.  The heart weeps bloody tears because of the betrayal.  Bravely, it erects strong, steely barriers of protection to shield its Self from further injury.   Is this why the ancient struggle surrounding estranged hearts exists?  As much as one might want a relationship to be restored, we cannot do the required delicate and intricate heart surgery needed for both sides of the parties involved.  Let’s say my heart has been brought to a place of forgiveness, and I choose to forgive the person who has wronged me.  I can choose to relate to the person with a heart of forgiveness, but I have no capability to affect change in the other person.  Forgiveness only leads to reconciliation when both parties have experienced heart changes.

Jesus teaches about forgiveness and helps us dissect the heart.  His teaching reveals the heart’s greatest need.  Against external deeds of wrongdoing, Jesus offers a spectacular forgiveness.  It is unlike any other offer of forgiveness; for Jesus testifies, “I tell you, every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people.” (Matthew 12:31).  He strongly states that there is no particular external deed that is off limits to the power of Jesus’s free forgiveness. Simply put, there is no offense so great that it cannot be forgiven by God. No matter what the offense, nothing will put a person outside the reach of Jesus’s all encompassing embrace of forgiveness and healing.  Jesus is the ultimate forgiver.

Yet, Jesus also acknowledges the perplexity of forgiveness when he says, “Whoever speaks a word against the Son of Man will be forgiven, but whoever speaks against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven.” (Matthew 12:32).  Here the knife of dissection moves internally to analyze the heart.

Unless a person confesses that he or she has done something wrong, they can never undo the damage.

Although I am completely incapable of affecting another person’s heart or affecting change on both sides of the conflict; God is able to not only forgive and justify the sinner, but he is also able to breathe life into the soul clinging to dust.  The Spirit of God informs the heart of its great offense, and the heart must listen and admit its wrongdoing (John 16:8). Jesus is basically saying that the Holy Spirit speaks truth, and a heart must turn and agree with his verdict.  A heart must not deny or speak against the truth spoken.  But, when the heart of man denies its part, blameshifts the wrong, and uses self-justifying excuses, there is no other remedy.  

Humility
is the key
that unlocks the heart
wrapped in denial.

Proverbs 27.19

 

A heart must desire forgiveness before intimacy will be restored.
Is your heart listening or resisting
words of healing and life?
Any wrong can be healed,
but without humility
nothing can be healed.