Judas (not Judas Iscariot, but the other disciple with that name) said to him, “Lord, why are you going to reveal yourself only to us and not to the world at large?” Jesus replied, “All who love me will do what I say. My Father will love them, and we will come and make our home with each of them. (John 14:22-23)
Read: Matthew 8:1-4, Matthew 9:1-17, Mark 1:40 – 2:22, Luke 5:1-39
Relate: I wonder how many people view God as some sort of character like the Phantom of the Opera? If life is a stage, they consider God some mysterious individual, perhaps just a rumor, that is always behind the scenes sometimes helping things to run smoothly (miracles, answered prayers, etc) and sometimes muddling things up (disease, natural disasters etc). There have been those who have spent a lot of time money and effort to actually get a glimpse of this man behind the scenes. Most have completely failed. Even those who have seen a brief glimpse from a distance have really only seen a mask.
Carl Sagan describes Him as something like the invisible, incorporeal, heatless, silent dragon in the garage:
He: I have a dragon in my garage.
She: Really? Let’s see it.
He: You can’t. My dragon is invisible.
She: OK, so can I touch it?
He: Nope. My dragon is incorporeal.
She: Fine. My uncle has some heat sensitive glasses. Dragon’s breathe fire so…
He: Won’t work. My dragon is heatless.
She: Then I guess we will have to be very, very quiet so we can listen to it’s breathing.
He: That won’t work either. My dragon is more silent than a ninja.
Over and over I’ve heard people say something along the lines of, “If only God would reveal Himself to me I would believe in Him.” Garbage. Hogwash. The other Judas asks Jesus in His final hours of this life, “Why are You going to reveal Yourself to us, but not to everybody?” Jesus’ answer? “Because you love me.”
React: I am absolutely convinced of these two truths: 1) God will not give you more of Himself than you desire. 2) God will give you as much of Himself as you desire. God longs to be with us. He wants to reveal Himself to us and to be in relationship with us. Despite what John Donne writes in his fourteenth holy sonnet, which I love, God is not a rapist. He will not force Himself on us.
So when things are looking dry, when I feel like God is distant. When it seems like my prayers are bouncing off the ceiling and when I listen I hear only distant silence… the real question is what is getting in my way with getting closer to God? What is wrong with my pursuit of Him? Is there something else in my life at that time that I feel like I need more? If so, God, help me to lay it down.
God, give me a greater desire for You. Help me to want You more. Help me to want to want You more. You are the rewarder of those who earnestly seek You. Help my seeking to truly be earnest. I long for You and You alone.
17 thoughts on “More Than A Phantom”
Amen, amen, amen! If we ever get into “relationship” with Him, by choice, we’ll understand exactly how much He loves and how He wants us to live! Thanks B.J. I love reading your commentary on John’s Gospel.
Amen. A friend always tells me, “God is a gentlemen, he doesn’t go where he isn’t invited.”
Well, I wouldn’t exactly say that. After all, God knocked Paul off his ass and blinded him to get through to a man running passionately in the wrong direction.
True. But, He doesn’t too that too often does He? He likes us humbled and broken before Him…in general. But, He is the creator of the universe and He certainly doesn’t have to answer to our expectations.
What’s up with Christians that use foul language? I don’t get it. Especially in their writing where its not as if they slipped up. Call me old fashion but it just makes one come across as harsh and irreverent.
If you are referring to my comment above I said exactly what I intended to say. I purposefully did not say “donkey” because harsh and irreverent more jarringly presents the truth that the Holy Spirit is not always a gentleman.
Yes, it’s quiet clear you said what you intended to say. Just saying, there can be many faucets of God presented in any conversation. Your response to someone that took the time to comment on your post, which was obviously meant to agree with the things you were saying, came across as pompous and know it all. The Holy Spirit may not always be a gentleman but love is not rude. Just saying.
I read your comment wrong to begin with, I thought you said he knocked him ‘on’ not ‘off.’ Seems a lot less harsh when reading it correctly. My apologies.
That’s OK. The rebuke still stands. I constantly need the reminder to be aware not only of what I am saying but also of how it is perceived.
Love in the way you intrigue through your beautiful effects of picture. God is a gentle God. His love can be felt surround me.
Really like the straightforwardness of this post. You are equipping believers with a male perspective concerning this passage, only to emphasis the importance of God’s purpose is not always man’s agenda and He will get a person’s attention however He deems appropriate. Remember, all knees shall bow and tongues confess…hopefully, as graciously as one can…in the moment. Bless you, BJ.
“The ends crowne our workes, but thou crown’st our ends,
For, at our end begins our endless rest,
The first last end, now zealously possest,
With a strong sober thirst, my soule attends.
‘Tis time that heart and voice be lifted high,
Salvation to all that will is night.”
~ John Donne, from Holy Sonnets, La Corona (9 – 14)
*nigh* (not “night”)
My favorite poet. 🙂
I was praying this morning for my congregation and those all over the world who meet together that God would meet with us. He reminded me as He often needs to – that He longs to meet with us more than we long to meet with Him.
So I adjusted to pray that He would take us at our word and do the things we sing and pray even when we are just mouthing word…
I’m going to respond to you with PSALM 88, and tell you that while much of the theology in your article is correct, the flaw in it can kill. Sometimes, no matter how much you want God in that moment, and no matter how obedient you are being, he will LEAVE YOU without a tangible sign of himself. You will suffer, and he will appear to be absent, and you will cry out in faith, and he still won’t show up, until the moment when his purpose for that suffering is accomplished. Proof? Joseph in prison, Psalm 88, the time of heaviness mentioned by Peter in 1 Peter, Jesus delaying until Lazarus was not just sick but dead, etc. God’s promise to come does not carry with it a promise of instant fulfillment, but of eventual fulfillment. If we believe otherwise, if we believe that God will always show up instantly and reveal himself immediately when we call, that we won’t have times where the darkness goes on and on even though we are walking in obedience… then when those times come we may deal with them badly, or beat ourselves to death trying to somehow find a sin or a sloth of soul that isn’t actually the cause of where we are.
The nature of our hope is that it is in things NOT YET SEEN. Proof of God is all over the place, but in the present age our faith will be tested, sorely.