A kindergarten teacher was observing her classroom of children while they drew pictures. Occasionally, she would walk around the room to see each child’s work.
“What are you drawing?” she asked one little girl who was working diligently at her desk.
The girl replied, “I’m drawing God.”
The teacher paused and said, “But no one knows what God looks like.”
The little girl replied, “They will in a minute.”
God must think we’re kind of funny when we try to identify Him or his plans. Or figure out the platypus, which I contend is the product of a heavenly inside joke to keep our minds occupied as we wait in a long line at Walmart.
I remember several years ago that someone contemplated the vastness of the universe. Imagine, they pondered, that we live in a solar system that we barely know anything about. That solar system is part of a galaxy. It’s one of several galaxies. The universe is all of the galaxies. So…you’d think that somewhere out there is the end of all of that…a wall at the edge, right?
The question, then, is…What’s on the other side of the wall?
The “other side of the wall” is the stuff that I think God is all about. We have those things we can see and ponder and may some day be able to identify and label; but what about the stuff on the “other side of the wall”?
We like being able to put a label on something, give it a name. We like anticipating how things will work out or figuring out how they work so we can manipulate and master them. We especially like being able to tell God how he can “fix” the problems we have in our lives, right? We can make a list and a timeline that we can check and follow. It’s so very comfortable.
People had ideas of what Messiah would sound like, look like, act like.
Do you think they were surprised when he was born of a virgin and the Holy Spirit? C’mon, that doesn’t even make sense!
Do you think they expected Jesus to be raised in the home of a carpenter – or in the home of a soldier or politican?
Do you think they expected him to “slum it” with lepers, Samaritans and tax collectors – or with society’s elite?
Do you think they expected him to actually encourage his brothers and sisters to walk the extra mile for the army that oppressed them, when they were expecting him to overturn that same government – or to begin an insurrection? (Ironically, this is the very thing Barabbas was accused of when the people chose to execute Jesus instead and free Barabbas.)
Do you think they expected him to go to his crucifixion without a single protest – or would he defend himself and finally rise up to make his stand?
Do you think they expected him to come back to life after three days in the grave?
Now, that is the stuff God’s about! That mind-blowing, are-you-serious, how-is-that-even-possible stuff is absolutely what God is all about.
The Hebrews knew the stories of God’s miracles and deliverance – the exodus from Egypt, the parting of the Red Sea, manna from heaven, Sarah’s conception of Isaac, crazy Noah and his ark, David’s defeat of Goliath. But even then, they were determined to fit God into a man-designed box. Just like we do today, they considered very human, very limited ways that Messiah would or could come to them.
But Messiah didn’t come in a box. He came in a womb.
Now, that’s outside the box! But outside the box is exactly what we need because we’re not fighting a war that’s “inside the box.” The war is not about the possession of land or resources.
The battle is for our souls, for eternity.
For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. Ephesians 6:12 (NIV)
And the battle?
But as it is written: “Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that love Him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9 (NIV)
Like nothing we’ve seen before or can possibly imagine with our five senses and limited imaginations.
“For my thoughts are not your thoughts,
neither are your ways my ways,”
declares the Lord.
“As the heavens are higher than the earth,
so are my ways higher than your ways
and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:8-9 (NIV)
But how unbelievable is it that God would to us as a baby – vulnerable and dependent, yet so very embraceable.
God came down to be embraced. If that’s not love, I don’t know what is.