The conversation the other night was very human centered.  It revolved around “my choice”, “my free will” and everything “me”….I was talking to a friend who was trying to hold tight and fast to her belief system but what she was unable to comprehend is that her belief system has trapped her.  There may be a God “somewhere out there” for her, but she has made herself the center of the universe.  Everything was about her right to choose.

Now I am not opposed nor do I deny the fact that we have choices to make in our journey of faith, but I just don’t think the adventure starts with us.  I believe there is an initial igniting of my soul from Some Outside Force…the Spirit quickening me to life.

So I asked this friend – so stuck in her choosing world – did she choose to fall in love?  Or better yet….did she choose the initial attraction to her husband?  I knew my husband at 15 years of age and we were good friends.  I never thought I would date him let alone marry him, until one day, something happened to me.  It was an awakening in me and my eyes began to see him differently.  I didn’t choose it…it just happened.

I would contend that this is how it is with God too.  He is always around whether we acknowledge it or not, but we don’t have eyes to see Him.  Through His graciousness and great love for us, He enters into our deepest places and gives us the capacity to see.  It is not always a large movement, but the first move is His.  He begins the dance of awakening in us.

I think this is what is meant in Ephesians when Paul says “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that {faith is} not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not as a result of works, that no one should boast.”  (Eph 2:8-9)  Truly our choices come in responding to what God starts.

And I don’t think this is just for those who don’t have eyes to see God yet.  I think that this is a continual work and gift of the Spirit…always trying to wake us up and open our eyes to something new.  We may ignore the subtle movements, and like my friend, move into a life driven by our power, our choices and our rationale.  But He is a relentless pursuer…He is always trying to give us eyes to see Him and get out of our “me-worlds”.  It is mysterious and wonderful.  It defies explanation, but cannot be denied once it has been experienced.  It is to stand in wonder in the absence of words.

Albert Einstein once wrote, “The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.  It is the source of all true art and all science.  He to whom this “emotion” is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder, or stand in rapt awe, is as good as dead.  His eyes are closed.”

I cannot “do” the spiritual life.  No amount of good choices, hard work, and effort can make it happen.  (Well I guess I can try, but it will leave me tired, disillusioned and stuck on myself.)  This is because faith does not start with me.  It comes from outside of me.  The mysterious emotion that Einstein talked about cannot be mustered, but it is given.  Our job is to lean into it once it happens….to keep looking once we have been given eyes to see!

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