The Glory Road Blog, A Kingdom Highway
December 9, 2016
“Ask, and it will be given you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you” (Matthew 7:7, RSV).
When we were children, we sometimes fussed, pouted, or whined, and when our moms asked, “What do you want?” We couldn’t say because we really didn’t know; our mothers didn’t know either and it was quite a noisy mess. Now that we’re grown, for some, things are not much better, as witnessed by the chaos often exhibited at Black Friday sales, people jostling and elbowing each other to get to the sale item. Jesus assured us that if we seek, we will find, but how can we find it if we don’t know what we’re looking for?. What are you seeking? If you have some undefinable angst left in your psyche, some lingering longing, like an itch you can’t scratch, you haven’t found “Je ne c’est quoi.” That’s French for “I do not know what,” but it resounds in all languages. (No, I don’t speak French, but apparently, Siri, the iPhone genie does). All the troubled and tragic situations in life, from addiction to depression, marital woes to migraines, and financial lack to low self esteem can in some way be attributed to an indescribable longing for: you fill in the blank.
In his book, The Divine Dance, which continues to bless and enrich me, Fr. Richard Rohr makes a shocking statement in the chapter entitled “The Relentless Drive of the Spirit”:
“I believe there is little consciousness of the Father in our postmodern milieu. There’s not much underlying okay-ness to the felt-sense of the world right now.
There’s little belief in the Son, either; little trust in the Paschal mystery.
“It is the spirit in history that seems to be driving as forward, Not giving up on us, God within and in the spaces between. I’ve been grasping at metaphors to help us. The spirit is like a homing device put inside of you, and all creation, too. For all of our stupidity and mistakes, there’s in everything this deep, internal dignity, convinced of its own value. This divine indwelling keeps insisting, “I am what I am seeking!” This is surely what Jesus means when he says that all true prayers are already insured of their answer. (See Matthew 7:7-8, and I John 5:14-15).” End Quote.
On the face of it, that statement is too bizarre by half. How could I be what I am seeking? But it has been bouncing around in my spirit since I first read it and when that happens, I know from experience that the Lord is leading me somewhere I need to go, and you’re welcome to come along with me.
The first scripture which comes to me in support of Brother Rohr’s conclusion is Paul’s statement to the Colossians, in which he said, “I became a minister according to the divine office which was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now made manifest to his saints. To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory” (Colossians 1:25-27, RSV). Shortly after being baptized in the Spirit, I realized that it was Christ in me doing His bidding, but I thought it happened because I was a Christian wanting to serve Him. Paul said, however, that this mystery, the word of God (Christ) being fully known, had been hidden for ages. One dictionary definition for the word “ages,” is, “a very long time.” Perhaps since the world began, for the Hebrew writer said that, “…in these last days he (God) has spoken to us by a Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world” (Hebrews 1:12, RSV).
Paul declared that we were chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world (See Ephesians 1:4). That would mean that we were partakers of this mystery from then as well, but it took living our lives on Earth, being dragged through many hard times and cactus patches, much prayer and soul searching, for us to learn to seek God as the answer to all our problems, for He Himself is the very thing we have been seeking. But where is He and why is He sometimes so difficult to find? Ezekiel prophesied, “I will not hide my face any more from them, when I pour out my Spirit upon the house of Israel, says the Lord GOD” (Ezekiel 39:29, RSV). He no longer is hiding His face from us, meaning He is discoverable!
How thrilling that the Heir of all things and the Creator of heaven and earth lives within us and always has, though we were not aware of it until He quickened this truth to us by His Spirit. Jesus said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30, RSV), and “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father” (John 14:9, RSV). That can only mean that God Himself lives in us as well. We’ve got the whole family, the Trinity, as it were, living within us, giving us access to the power and glory of Almighty God, and yet, we continue to live like spiritual paupers at times. Maybe He has not opened our eyes yet to see what this indwelling means to us, for us, and through us, perhaps because we were not yet ready to receive Him.
For those of us who have been actively seeking God for most of our lives, we have surely looked for Him in all the wrong places much of the time: in relationships, in a career, in financial well being, in social status, in being a member of the right church. God does not live in a church building, a temple, a cathedral or a mosque; He does not live in some far off heaven, removed from our daily lives and needs and concerns. He does not live in one denomination or group of believers to the exclusion of all others. Our hope of Glory, lives in all His children, all the time!
When Solomon completed his magnificent temple, he “stood before the altar of the Lord in front of the whole assembly of Israel, spread out his hands toward heaven and said: ‘But will God really dwell on earth? The heavens, even the highest heaven, cannot contain you. How much less this temple I have built’” (I Kings 8:22, 27, NIV). That makes Paul’s declaration, the more magnificent: “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” (I Corinthians 3:16, RSV). How is it possible, that the God who created the Universe and everything in it, should live in us His children? It is only by the Spirit that He does and only by the Spirit that we can grasp the significance of it.
It makes Brother Rohr’s statement that we are what we are seeking, not only relevant and true, but also logical, if you can ever say that anything spiritual is logical. The deep things of God are usually never grasped by the mind, but only by our spiritual awareness, given to us by the indwelling Holy Spirit.
This revelation is not to make us proud. On the contrary, it is totally humbling for the human ego to realize that there is nothing in and of ourselves that we can claim which gives us access to Father God. It is only in Christ, in whom we were chosen before the foundation or the world, and before we had done any obeying or disobeying, that this extraordinary gift was given us. Jude 24 always makes my heart sing because He chose us, He gifted us with Himself, and He keeps us close to Himself always: “Now to him who is able to keep you from falling and to present you without blemish before the presence of his glory with rejoicing, to the only God, our Savior through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and for ever. Amen.”
It takes a life time to unwrap God’s incomparable gift to us. It reminds me of a little chorus we used to sing in Sunday School and Vacation Bible School.
“This little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine; this little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine; this little light of mine, I’m going to let it shine, let it shine, all the time, let it shine.”
My beautiful niece Angie Blattner, now an ordained youth minister in a Denver, Colorado, Methodist Church, has such a heart for God, a passion for sharing with her young people, through words and deeds how to love Jesus in real time by ministering to the poor and downtrodden, and each other. She published this compelling thought on her FaceBook page. It blessed me and I feel led to share part of it here.
“Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We were born to make manifest the glory of God within us. It is not just in some; it is in everyone.
“And, as we let our own light shine, we consciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our fear, our presence automatically liberates others.” Author: Marianne Williamson
So, I ask you again, have you found it? Hint: “it” is a Who, not a what.
Father, You are what we’ve been seeking; Your gift to us in Christ is so deep and so rich, so magnificent, that we can scarcely take it in. Open wide our spiritual eyes, and the new heart You have placed within us; let Your light shine forth in us, so that we may pour out Your love, mercy, kindness, and freedom on all You send our way, to bless them as we have been blessed. Together with all the Saints on this side and the other side, we say, “Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God for ever and ever!” We add our voices to “the voice of a great multitude, and as the voice of many waters, and as the voice of mighty thunderings, saying, Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.” To Him be the glory now and forever, world without end. Amen. Jan Antonsson
Jan Austin Antonsson
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