In everything she does, she can feel this aching knowing that there has to be something more. All of the things that she’s put in place to give her a sense of purpose only seem to echo off the walls of empty rooms. For her, it’s not about going to church or finding God. She does that. She is that. But there’s still something missing.
The ‘kingdom of God’ is a completely ‘other’ existence. We all have to start out in one ‘reality’ before we enter the other.
We are born into the first one and are fully equipped to navigate it. There is an order to things there. First birth and then death. Work hard, learn everything you can, achieve, succeed, give back, stay fit… A long life of possibility and a systematic way to get the most out of it.
We’re spiritual beings, so we tap into whatever speaks to us. When it fails to reach the depths of our spirit, we get more aggressive, more militant. There are always ways to fill up our time with physical actions we hope will deepen a spiritual experience. If you’re busy enough, you don’t have to think about the hollow echo. If you can hear it, you add another noise, another trinket, another sound absorbing layer.
People turn to extremes to numb their emptiness. The workaholic, socialholic, chemiholic or churchaholic, it’s all the same.
Churches are great at loading your life’s truck bed up with as much as you can handle. It’s as if to keep you too busy to sin. You may be empty, you may have questions, but if you’re not sinning then who cares?
So why are you now trying to out-god God, loading these new believers down with rules that crushed our ancestors and crushed us, too? Don’t we believe that we are saved because the Master Jesus amazingly and out of sheer generosity moved to save us… -Acts 15:10-11
There is a completely ‘other’ existence and it doesn’t need anything from the ‘birth to death’ reality to sustain it. The actuality is, hanging on to any part of the ‘birth to death’ way of life keeps you plugged into it and, as long as you are plugged in to it, you cannot ‘see’ the ‘other’ existence.
It’s more likely for a person who doesn’t know the religious song and dance to catch the subtle breeze of ‘something else’ long before the church-going trust fund babies do. It seems that God likes to whisper His secrets into the ears of those the rest of the steeple-topped world don’t even notice. There is a point where you think you know so much that you start to take over and rewrite the book. Trying to ‘out-god God.’
How can we sum this up? All those people who didn’t seem interested in what God was doing actually embraced what God was doing as he straightened out their lives. And [those], who seemed so interested in reading and talking about what God was doing, missed it. How could they miss it? Because instead of trusting God, they took over. They were absorbed in what they themselves were doing. They were so absorbed in their “God projects” that they didn’t notice God right in front of them, like a huge rock in the middle of the road. And so they stumbled into him and went sprawling. –Romans 9:30-32
I’m trying to use these scriptures from ‘the Rock’ to challenge your thinking, to send your rock solid assurance in yourself sprawling. It’s not simply to be a punk trying to knock out windows to no end. I want to knock down walls so you can finally see this ‘other’ existence.
Paul had to be struck blind for a while. Jonah had to be swallowed by a (metaphorical?) fish. The Israelites had to walk through hell on Earth. Job had to suffer immeasurably. The prodigal son had to squander his inheritance. Hosea had to marry a prostitute. Jacob got his hip dislocated in the wrestle. Eli had to lose his sons. Moses conversed with a burning bush. Lazarus spent four days rotting in tomb. Peter had to deny the man he said he’d never betray. I had to be knocked flat on my face in the mud. We all have to experience what it is to have everything we know about life and faith be ruined by the wrecking ball of God in order to see the Truth of this ‘other’ existence. If it hurts, so be it. If it leaves you limping for the rest of your natural life, what of it? Let it all be counted as loss when you gain real life in the end.
The very credentials these people are waving around as something special, I’m tearing up and throwing out with the trash—along with everything else I used to take credit for. And why? Because of Christ. Yes, all the things I once thought were so important are gone from my life. Compared to the high privilege of knowing Christ Jesus as my Master, firsthand, everything I once thought I had going for me is insignificant—dog dung. I’ve dumped it all in the trash so that I could embrace Christ and be embraced by him. I didn’t want some petty, inferior brand of righteousness that comes from keeping a list of rules when I could get the robust kind that comes from trusting Christ—God’s righteousness. -Phillipians 3:7-9