JUNE 12, 2020 / MULYALE MUTISYA
Who would have thought that the creation we see would come to existence by God’s spoken word? Who would have thought that an Almighty God would be born in a manger? Who would have thought that a rugged cross would be a symbol of victory? Who would have thought that salvation would be acquired by believing in your heart and confessing with your mouth that Jesus is Lord? Who would have thought that receiving would be a matter of asking according to His will in His Name by faith? No one! That’s why the Big Bang Theory seems more reasonable, that’s why Superman and Batman qualify as realistic saviours in our world. That’s why rituals seem more believable, measurable and tangible compared to faith. And that’s why a harsh, distant and ever-grumpy God seems to fit our description.
God’s simplicity is so simple that it cannot be grasped and unbelievable that it can be elusive. Throughout the Bible, God manifests in the most simple of ways. The walls of Jericho were bulldozed not by heavy machinery but by priests going round it seven times blowing trumpets! Goliath, a giant from Gath was taken down not by ammunition but by an unarmored shepherd boy wielding a sling and five stones. This caused the over 9 feet giant to ask David, ‘Am I a dog that you come at me with sticks?’ (1 Samuel 17:43). Sometimes, we dismiss God in a similar manner asking Him, Aren’t you God?
We expect God to come in earth-shaking and mind-blowing forms. And sometimes He does, but more often than not, He comes in simple and almost mundane ways. Elijah will tell you that, ‘the Lord was not in the wind…the Lord was not in the earthquake… the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper’ (1 Kings 19:12). One of the reasons God comes in simple whispers is because He wants to relate with us. He has been known to be a covenant God, a God who is more interested in building a relationship with us instead of imposing his sovereignty like a dictator. He beseeches us, ‘Come now, let us reason together’ (Isaiah 1:18) because He wants us to understand His mind more than anything else. By understanding Him, we are then molded from the inside-out instead of having quick exterior fixes while our inside crumbles.
We expect the complex so much that when we pray for open doors, we anticipate the doors to come wide open with a slam that we fail to realize that sometimes it opens with a silent creak. I once saw a quote that read, Life is so subtle sometimes that you barely notice yourself walking through doors you once prayed would open. We expect God to thunder down from heaven for solutions and yet at times we are the solutions. Like Moses, He sometimes asks us, ‘What is that in your hand?’ (Exodus 4:2).
Other times, we expect the Lion of Judah to roar fiercely, failing to realize that a lion never roars to its cubs, but roars to its threat. To the teachers of the law, Jesus asks, ‘Which is easier to say, ‘your sins are forgiven’ or ‘get up and walk?’ But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins’ (Matthew 9:5). Jesus, declaring both statements to a paralytic who receives healing is a clear demonstration of God’s sovereignty and simplicity at once.
As God comes down-to-earth, literally, to relate with us, we humans are going in the opposite direction. We try to be complex and go ‘heavenward’; we build Towers of Babel all around us in order to reach God- to our detriment. We seek God in science because the complex excites our natural senses. We seek God in religion so we can record for ourselves how many steps to go before we can reach heaven. When we fail, we lament and say, God is cruel, God is unjust and even that God is not real because He seems unreachable- too far off. We look up to find God only to find that He is within and around us. All it takes to see God is child-like faith. Jesus says, ‘except you be converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven’ (Matthew 18:3), probably because children relish in the simple, making it easy to relish in His sovereignty.