Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Down by the Sea: Part 2

God created us to engage in a relationship with Him.  The only way we can enjoy this relationship, which is to live forever with God, is to walk with God in the tension of God's Sovereignty/Human responsibility (GS/HR).  As with all tensions, it can be uncomfortable for us to remain in it.  But also as with all tensions, if one chooses to relieve the discomfort by eliminating, or reducing one side or both of the tension, both sides are completely lost.  When one undermines the GS/HR tension in some way, both the proper relationship with God is destroyed, and consequently any proper relationships we have with each other.

If I choose to believe God will impute His love into me as I passively sit by, then I have effectively eliminated the HR side of the GS/HR tension, and all relationships crumble.  Love cannot be coerced--either kindly or not.  Thus, if we attempt to remain totally passive, there will be no pure relationship between us and God--the relationship He created us to have--and the relationships we will have between each will necessarily grow more destructive.

If we swing the pendulum the other way to avoid the tension, and believe God expects us to find our own way, and will some day decide if we did our best or not and reward us with a relationship with Him, we should see the only basis ultimately for relationships we involve ourselves would be standards set by ourselves.  Perhaps this is comfortable, but doomed to failure because only God can set the standard for us to relate with Him and others because He created us, and only God is love.  Consequently, once again, if we remove ourselves from the tension of GS/HR, all relationships come crashing down.

Perhaps an analogy is in order.  I propose we take a little trip down by the sea and find out what we might learn there about all this.  In simplistic terms (please don't get all technical on me) the seashore is comprised of 1) a tidal pool, 2) breakers, and 3) the tide.

For our purposes, the tide is the force symbolizing  the relationship God has created us for.  God wants us to enter "the swim," so to speak.

One way we never enter the swim is when we sit in a tidal pool.  Even though the pool is quiet, restful, and comfortable, as long as we remain in it, we won't go anywhere.  We might feel the effects of the tide, as the pool fills and drains with the flow and ebb of the tide; and we might believe that by experiencing these effects we are actually a part of the tide.  But we would be mistaken; the tide is much much more than its effects; we delude ourselves if we believe otherwise, and keep ourselves out of the swim.

Now, we could take on the breakers, and make great sport of taming them through our prowess and athleticism.  We might feel very alive as we courageously struggle against the tumult.  We likely feel the draw of the tide as part of all the powerful sensations surging around us.  Tragically though, we become so caught up in our own efforts, we not only lose sight of the beauty and power of the tide, we actually fight against it, and even boast in our overcoming it.  In the end, we feel exhausted, frustrated, and disillusioned from the monotony of our efforts; we languish in the pounding surf.  It all becomes no more for us than as the old Bard penned, "Much ado about nothing."

When we feel the pull of the tide and allow ourselves to be taken into it,we actually enter the swim.  We become a part of something much bigger than ourselves.  We don't know where it will take us, but the endless discovery becomes for us a pure delight.  We must keep ourselves from being drawn away from the tide by fear or the many other distractions we chance upon along the journey.  We involve ourselves in this way with the tide, but it is the tide that carries us; it is the inexorable current that pulls us ever onward--not ourselves.

In the same way, we only engage in the pure relationships God created for us to enjoy with Him and consequently with each other when we willingly give into the the pull of God's love, and love Him back by obeying Him.  By so remaining within the tension of GS/HR we are caught up in the very love binding the Trinity.  The beauty, meaning, and life we find within the swim of God's love is beyond all dimensions because the living, Good, and creator God is eternal.

Come on! Join me down by the sea.  Then let's jump in, and let it carry us away into all its vastness.