King of All the Wild Things

“And the wild things roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws.”
― Maurice Sendak, Where the Wild Things Are

WILD! He is a wild thing. God is King of all the Wild Things, King of Kings and Lord of Lords! This can be a little scary for some people. I have worried, in the past that this Wild God might make crazy demands on me, like sending me to Africa to starve as a missionary or into the depths of the deepest, darkest scariest places of the world, or asking that I forgive a friend or family member who’s hurt me…

“Can you pull in Leviathan with a fishhook or tie down its tongue with a rope? Can you put a cord through its nose or pierce its jaw with a hook? Will it keep begging you for mercy? Will it speak to you with gentle words? Will it make an agreement with you for you to take it as your slave for life? Can you make a pet of it like a bird or put it on a leash for the young women in your house? Will traders barter for it? Will they divide it up among the merchants? Can you fill its hide with harpoons or its head with fishing spears? If you lay a hand on it, you will remember the struggle and never do it again! Any hope of subduing it is false; the mere sight of it is overpowering. No one is fierce enough to rouse it. Who then is able to stand against me? Who has a claim against me that I must pay? Everything under heaven belongs to me.” ~ Job 41:1-11 NIV
He is WILD! How can mere humans stand before him? How can we even lift our eyes to Him who sits on the Throne of Thrones? How can anyone hope to have a “relationship” with such a fearsome and dreadful being as God? It’s easy to read parts of the Old Testament and see a vengeful, vindictive Zeus-like judge and not a Lover, Creator, or Savior. Where is the mercy? Where is the compassion? Where is the love? His demands are impossible! His being is unapproachable! Even the idea of an all-knowing, all-powerful God is frightening and overwhelming!
“’When Israel was a child, I loved him,and out of Egypt I called my son. But the more they were called, the more they went away from me.They sacrificed to the Baals and they burned incense to images. It was I who taught Ephraim to walk, taking them by the arms; but they did not realize it was I who healed them. I led them with cords of human kindness, with ties of love. To them I was like one who lifts a little child to the cheek, and I bent down to feed them. Will they not return to Egypt and will not Assyria rule over them because they refuse to repent? A sword will flash in their cities; it will devour their false prophets and put an end to their plans. My people are determined to turn from me. Even though they call me God Most High, I will by no means exalt them. How can I give you up, Ephraim? How can I hand you over, Israel? How can I treat you like Admah? How can I make you like Zeboyim? My heart is changed within me; all my compassion is aroused. I will not carry out my fierce anger, nor will I devastate Ephraim again. For I am God, and not a man— the Holy One among you. I will not come against their cities. They will follow the Lordhe will roar like a lion. When he roars, his children will come trembling from the west. They will come from Egypt, trembling like sparrows, from Assyria, fluttering like doves. I will settle them in their homes,’ declares the Lord.” ~ Hosea 11:1-11 NIV
It seems that God, like the rest of us, is a complex, and unique personality, who needs time and dialog to get to know, as are each of us. 🙂 I have personally found that the more I learn, the more I see there is to learn, like reaching the elusive horizon in a ship, there is always further to go, more to explore. The majesty and grandeur of God should instill a sense of wonder and awe in us. However, he is not coldly majestic like an iceberg, or distant like the reaches of space, spangled and studded with the starry host. God is kindly and merciful to us, exemplified and condensed once and for all in the birth, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Christ is the missing piece of the puzzle, the lens which makes the mystery of God become a bit clearer.
With our perspective updated, in the light of His greatness, our struggles and pain do not have to spell our doom. Likewise, through the lens of Christ, we can trust and depend on Him. The fearsome wildness of the Creator is tempered by the Gift of the Son. Through this Gift, we ALL have a Father. By this love, we have all become His children.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son. This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.” ~ John 3:16-21 NIV

In Defence of a Little Violence

I know what you’re thinking. Violence is wrong. In most cases, I would agree with you. The world is already brimming with violence. The news is full of sordid stories of greed, lust, wars, famine, want and oppression; all forms of violence seem to be glorified in our culture, and I mean the HUMAN culture. SO much violence, so much terror exists in the world, that sometimes we just want to retreat into a little, dark hidey-hole and shut it all out.

OK, so, we’ve done that. Here we are in our little, dark hidey-hole. We’ve shut out the world, and everyone we think will do us any harm. What’s going on in the world outside while we’re stowed away? If we took a peek through our spiked walls, across the moat full of crocodiles, and over the tops of the trees of the remote forest we’ve selected, we will see a dense cloud of dust, and hear the barely discernible clash of weapons, and the cries of pain and battle. We’ve done a good job insulating ourselves from the outside world. BUT, nothing positive has been accomplished. In fact, our side has lost yet another warrior for the cause of peace and justice.

Sometimes, a few of us manage to stay out of hiding, but we might just as well be for all the good we do. Mediocrity is not a word that should be used to describe who you are. You were not meant to be a sideline, a victim, or an afterthought.

You were created to be a WARRIOR!

At times, the best course when facing a senseless evil is violence. (This is the part where you really have to be paying attention.) I’m not advocating anarchy, or threatening a public official or stalking a celebrity. The world suffers from this canker enough already. I’m not advocating any kind of public demonstration with signs where people stand around and say “It must stop” or “It must start”. All I am saying… give ACTION a chance. If you grab up your friend when they’re hurting and hold them in a hug so fierce that they feel Jesus pouring through you; or get in your angsty teen’s face and tell them with strong words how amazing and irreplaceable and loved and appreciated they are; or you cook and bake for the family you know that has just lost their father or mother; or you take a troubled kid (we all know these) under your wing and teach them how to be the kind of person who makes this world a better place; you are taking a violent step into this world of woes.

You get involved. You take a stand. You stand in the gap.

You invest in someone else, and you do it ON PURPOSE.

“Frightening” is a word that only begins to describe the lives of some of the people around you, next door, behind you in church, or even in front of you while they check your groceries out at the store. We need to get out eyes off of ourselves and turn them outward to the people around us and do the right thing. Demonstrating is usually spurred by feelings that something is very wrong and must be changed. Thinking something is wrong is not the end, however, but only the beginning. Don’t be discouraged! You stepping in for someone may make all the difference.

For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:3-5