31 January, 2008

like water spilled on the ground

If I had to name my sophomore year thus far, I would call it “the overthrow.” Or whatever is an appropriate word for the upheaval of one’s previous conception of Life.

Perhaps it is just a symptom of being a sophomore, but everything I thought I knew has gradually been revised this past semester. Along with my understanding of People, my concept of God and His character has been drastically upset. I thought I had God figured out in high school. I knew the Bible fairly well and knew all of the “right” answers to any question you had about the way He maneuvered. I prided myself on knowing exactly who God was. This naïve assurance was due, in large part, to the benefits of a life of sheltered happiness (actualization of ignorance as bliss).

And then you come to university and realize the world is not as happy as you thought it was. This past semester has taught me that people are sad and people are in pain and that sometimes God doesn’t seem to listen.

I became very frustrated because God was no longer fitting into the compartments I had once used for Him. He seemed to delight in defying my previous definitions of Him. His judgment was impossible to reconcile with my former understanding of Love. His spotty, seemingly random sowing of blessing was irritating. His silence was the most infuriating of all.

Doubt trickles in and you begin to wonder if it is just mythology after all.

But then you have a day like this one. A day where a word, a shudder of the heart is flooring—because it is an aggressive reminder that God is incredibly, impossibly real.

That moment for me today was reading this verse. These are the words of the wise woman from Tekoa who has been commissioned by Joab to persuade David to bring Absalom back. Though the majority of her speech is telling David a parable, she breaks off from the story to add this little observation.

This is what she knows about God’s character:

“Like water spilled on the ground, which cannot be recovered, so we must die. But God does not take away life; instead, he devises ways so that a banished person may not remain estranged from him.” 2 Samuel 14:14

Today this is all I know about God's character: He will make a way to bring me back to Him. This is a crazy idea for me tonight, but it is a sustaining one. And so I am okay with a God that I cannot understand. But even though He persists in mystifying me, I will unflaggingly pursue a more intimate knowledge of His nature. I think that’s all He really wants from me in the end.


Anna Lee said...

Oh Abby. He loves you so much.

hunter said...

thanks for that.

i spent one night last week down by the lake, hobo style, trying not to freeze and promising not to move until God answered me... putting the fleece out so to speak.

i left at about 5 because i had to go home and get ready for work, but i realized later i was acting a lot more like an infant screaming at his parent than jacob wrestling with the angel. i didn't get any answers. i got a vicious cold. but eventually, even though i had no answers, i had this very curious peace about things.

ps... try and find a way to listen to the song 'the silence of god' by andrew peterson. aside from the relevant subject matter, there are some really nice metaphors in it, esp. the third verse.

Anonymous said...


Alex said...

good stuff here, my friend. i feel like the suffering and struggles of students and friends is what makes me hit those icy patches of doubt myself.

sometimes the journey into mystery is a painful one, it strips us of what we thought we knew for sure before. to walk into that mystery by faith is not easy. it's much easier to slouch into cynicism or to cave into the onslaught of doubts and questions than it is to stand up-right before God, ask the hard questions, take a deep breath, and take the next step into the un-understood (is that a word?)