Monday, June 18, 2012

Approaching the Unapproachable

Mike opened his laptop next to the podium, and I noticed two extension cords winding their way in two directions. The Power Point slides revealed bible college-style notes about why we should study Revelation, whose Revelation it is anyway, the different methods of interpretation, the strengths and weaknesses of each, and the dizzying views of the rapture. This was not going to be an average sermon.

We are cracking open the book many Christians rarely read, let alone understand. Should we stay away from it because it's too difficult? Too controversial? Theologians come to many different conclusions, after all, and I'm no theologian. The Book of Revelation has monsters and symbols, and it's weird. There are lots of reasons to keep our distance.

But I'm glad to be dusting off the end of our story, finally. I'm tired of not knowing what I believe and thinking this book too lofty for me. I've been too timid to wander into controversy or boldly form my own educated opinion. I have the resident Teacher, after all. I can approach Revelation, and yes, I think I will. God is making me brave after all these years.

I'm also tired of being scared. I've been a Christian for thirty-two years, and the judgment terrifies me still. What does that say about my relationship with God? I fear the answer to that, too.

I've written before about the continuum of intimacy with God and His holiness and the tension between them that I'm never quite sure I have right.

I love God. I know I can go to Him in prayer about anything, and have I ever--for three decades now. Divorce; tragic, premature death; cancer; rearing children; and cratered, gaping faith questions. I have never been afraid to be real and open with Him about my messy struggles. Who better to answer those questions anyway? So when I wrestle with my faith, I've always done it before the Lord, for better or worse.

But that makes me fear what will happen when my deeds are tried by fire when I stand all alone before Him on that day, the Day of the Lord. It makes me cringe even now.Will He see doubt and failure and label my indignation at my not knowing everything as the pride it really is? I'm quite sure I will wet my pants. (Well, what will you do when you stand before Him?) 

And then Mike said this: "Revelation acquaints us with the glorified Christ like no other book. The gospels acquaint us with the Jesus who carried our sorrows, paid for our sin, and suffered our humanity. The Revelation shows us there is so much more to this resurrected Jesus."

I don't know that Jesus well enough. But I can and I'm ready to. And I like what that says about my faith.

What is it about your relationship with God that you're afraid to approach?

I'm linking with Michelle's Graceful Monday Community today.
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