Iconoclast

My idea of God is not a divine idea. It has to be shattered time after time. He shatters it Himself. He is the great iconoclast.                        ~ C.S. Lewis

Sometimes I can feel myself teetering on a precipice. I’m drawn to the edge.

I’m not in danger of stepping off and falling into disbelief.

I believe.

That’s solid ground. I’ve believed for a very long time. That can lead to a  different kind of precipice.

It’s the perilous step from the realm of mystery and grace into the free-fall of knowledge and stringency. It’s the allure of a place where I used to live; a land where I could firmly plant my feet and explain the will and actions of the Creator of the Universe.

There are times when I long for the easy comfort of certainty. When I miss well-ordered theology that allowed me to predict God’s moves, determine God’s mind, act as His interpreter.

There are moments when complacency overtakes contemplation. When I’m lulled into worshiping my favorite predictable, explainable, understandable, small god.

There is always an edge. I’m called, again and again, to practice a little iconoclasm; to deconstruct my preconceptions and misconceptions and icons.

He is the great iconoclast. God is the great Mystery.

Restoration

Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage: but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.  ~C.S. Lewis

To be honest, if God asked, most of my life I’d have been content to be made into a decent little cottage. I was willing to see what I showed. From all appearances, it seemed to be a neat and tidy place with a leak or two and a few cracks in the plaster. But He saw the neglect; the rot and the decay I continued to putty and paint over.

He walked among the shards of promises unmet and unkept. He stepped into the wreckage of my self-worth and neglected gifts and piece by piece began the work of rebuilding. He didn’t bring in a bulldozer. That would have been my vote. Instead He took upon Himself the tedious task of restoration.

There have been times when I thought the pain was too heavy for these weak walls, but in those moments, God always added a support beam. Board by board and brick by brick, He’s rebuilding His dwelling, true to the original schematics.

That’s grace.

My Restless Heart

Without warning, I was trapped in the book of Ecclesiastes. All was vanity. I found myself absentmindedly repeating the words again an again: “There must be more. Surely we were born for something more. More than waking in order to work, working in order to eat, eating and sleeping or order to wake and work again. More than graduating to have a career, marrying to have children so they could eventually graduate, work, marry and have children of their own.

The cycle of survival wasn’t enough. I already knew Jesus as my Lord and Savior… what more could there be? I hadn’t merely inherited my faith in God. I had searched and struggled, scrapped and clawed my way to a living walk with Him. I still sensed there was more. ~ Victoria Brooks

More. Have you felt it, too? Have you longed for more, not only when things are going wrong, but when everything is very right?

In quiet moments of prayer and meditation, and in joyful moments of worship and fellowship and blessing; even then, I carried with me the sense that there was more.

More than waking in order to work, working in order to eat, eating and sleeping or order to wake and work again. More than graduating to have a career, marrying to have children so they could eventually graduate, work, marry and have children of their own.

Like Victoria, I’d grown up with and into my faith. It was real. I wasn’t looking for a moment or an experience or a feeling. I wasn’t actively looking at all. Still, I could feel a tentative tug at the hem of my heart. Was there more?

I kept coming back to the words of Augustine.

You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they rest in you.

My heart was restless. I realized that I’d confused contentment with complacency and my version of abiding was biding time until heaven.

Would it do? Yes. Was there more? Yes.

I began a journey that, by its nature, requires there be no ending this side of home. It was, and is, a journey of grace. Thank you for traveling with me.