Saturday, September 24, 2005

Crazy or Normal?

I would take no for an answer,
Just to know I heard you speak,
And I'm wondering why I've never,
Seen the signs they claim they see,
A lotta special revelations,
Meant for everybody but me,
Maybe I don't truly know You,
or maybe I just simply believe...
Now I've never felt the presence,
But I know You're always near,
And I've never heard the calling,
But somehow You've led me right here,
So I'm not lookin' for burnin' bushes,
Or some Divine graffiti to appear,
I'm just beggin You for Your wisdom,
And I believe You're puttin' some here...
lyrics by Chris Rice

Those lyrics say it well for me. I don't need no stinking miracles or wild freak show. I need more of Jesus Christ in my life, and I am pretty sure I can find it in praise, prayer, worship, thanksgiving, confession, forgiveness, service and studing Scripture. I'm not looking for burning bushes or writing on the wall. I simply want to know Him better. What's more, I don't expect any huge miracle display. If I get one, fine. But our lives as Christians are basically normal.

I came across a post at Internet Monk which says much the same thing. Actually it's a three year old post, but it's plenty current. If at all possible, click here and go read it before you read on.

Spencer begins with this:

I'm tired of weird Christians. I am tired of hearing people I work with say that God is talking to them like He talked to Moses at the burning bush or like He talked to Abraham. I'm weary of people saying God speaks directly to them about mundane matters of reasonable human choice, so that their choices of toothpaste and wallpaper are actually God's choices, and therefore I need to just shut up and keep all my opinions to myself until I can appreciate spiritual things. I'm tired of people acting as if the normal Christian life is hearing a voice in your head telling you things other people can't possible know, thus allowing you a decided advantage. I mean, if all this were really happening, wouldn't these people be picking better stocks?

I've always wondered about people who stop and ask God's direction for every little decision. I've especially wondered about the people who claim they hear God tell them the right choice for every little decision. At one Bible study, we discussed whether or not God cared who would win the Super Bowl. The consensus was that God could use any outcome. Not all decisions are God's Will vs. Not God's Will. And I have to admit I'm baffled by those who claim differently.

The fact is that our lives are surprisingly normal. I don't get IMs from God. Do I seek God's leading in my major decisions? I sure do. But I'm sure that much of my life is to be led by discernment -- by using my intellectual prowess filtered through what I've learned by being His disciple.

Spencer sums it up:

[M]aybe you are like me. You are an ordinary Christian living an ordinary life. You don't hear voices, see visions, or believe you are under constant attack by demonic forces. You may have some experiences that you call supernatural or miraculous, but they are the exception, not the rule. When you pray for people, things usually don't change; you change. You have no authoritative insight into what is going to happen in the future. You suspect that if you were filled with the Spirit, you would love God and people more, and do the right thing more often. You'd be more like Jesus. You wouldn't be running around in circles pointing out angels on the roof. The fruit of the Spirit would make you a person others would want to be around, not someone who would frighten animals and small children.

I've always told people that miracles aren't an everyday occurence -- that's why they call them miracles. Yet we seek them at every opportunity. Why?

I think we struggle with the idea of a God who isn't always "in our face." Some of my friends live their lives every day denying the existance of deity, and their experiences seem to prove them right. No stray lightning bolts. No angelic visions. No ladders to heaven. No chariots of fire. They feel vindicated in their disbelief. They wonder how I can believe in a God who must obviously be painfully shy.

But shy isn't the word. The word is probably related to "stealth" or something along those lines. He is present even when we don't notice. And while that makes it difficult for some to believe, it also makes many believers nervous. Then we get people "surfing in the Spirit" or imagining visions or worse yet, believing that some esoteric feeling is always a prompting from God. I know of Christians who sought a divorce because they were certain God was leading them to leave their Christian spouse. The story has been told of the disabled woman who felt like God wanted her to steal a sum of money to illustrate the teaching that we possess all we see.

In desperation to feel closer to God, the normal won't do for too many people. Instead they go off equating God with common inner desires for love, power, money and respect. But God wants more from us than following our gut. He expects us to know Him and to seek Him in prayer, worship and especially in the study of His Word. We know Him not because He gives us feelings, but because He transforms our thinking by the renewing of our minds. It may not be as flashy as a miracle show, but it's the way to truly know God better.


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Connor Wilson said...

Every year my son Dylan and I have been building our Halloween animatronic display. This year we added 12 new figures and my wife had been making the clothes etc. but then I clued in that Halloween Costumes were the ideal solution - ya, ok I'm slow but...This year is really cool because we've done an HP Lovecraft display that I'm sure he'd appreciate but I'm not so sure he'd approve of this - The Necronomicon - Is it just me or is that just plain goofy ? Anyway, everybody is doing their own Haunted House thing now but hey - it's fun and if you've got kids I really suggest you try it yourself if you haven't already. It's a nice change from the usual Christmas Lights routine and a lot of scaaarrry fun. Happy Halloween everybody.

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