Monday, January 24, 2011

“How idle it is to call certain things God-sends! As if there was anything else in the world” ~Augustus William Hare and Julius Charles Hare, Guesses at Truth, by Two Brothers, 1827

“You have to shake it,” Lydia giggled, shaking out her wet toothbrush. We were swapping stories from the day. She told the tale of a Wal-mart adventure, picking out cottage cheese. A simple task, usually. Ahead of her, a little old lady intently read the label of a cottage cheese container, then deliberately put it up to hear ear and shook it. Lydia selected her carton and was just ready to move on when the lady halted her. “You’ve got to shake it,” she declared. “You can’t tell if it’s good unless you shake it. It could be all dried up and hard in there. Shake it until you hear it sloshing around.” Politely, Lydia answered, “Okay.” “Now,” Madam La Shaker urged, “Let me see you shake it.” Obligingly, Lydia shook the cottage cheese and nodded her head. “Good girl,” her instructress beamed and moved away. Later, Lydia spotted her tapping fruit.

I’m afraid hers were far more entertaining than mine.

“The church is God’s graduate school for angels,” suggests William MacDonald. We’ve seen it in Ephesians, as Papa has taught, that God demonstrates his multi-faceted wisdom to the heavenly hosts through these helpless, erring, ignorant little people He calls by His name. Peter echoes a similar sentiment when he proclaims that the gospel which was given through the prophets was something into which even angels long to look. And Hebrews tells us that God assuredly does not give help to angels—but He does give help to the sons of men.

I’ve been pondering the subject of God’s invisible servants lately. It’s awesome to think of the Almighty God dispatching these holy, sinless beings as our servants. Not because we are greater than they. David says we are a little lower than the heavenly beings. But because God is greater than they and He has so decreed it. These faithful ministers who valiantly fight to protect the elect, to defeat the enemy in territory he would feign claim, are being taught God’s wisdom through His mercy toward us.

I wonder what it is the angels see. Without a doubt, I know I must be completely ignorant regarding the battle that rages in the spirit realm, while I float glibly through life, whining when I don’t get my own way, sobbing because God feels distant, wondering where is the answer I asked from the Lord, trying to grasp circumstances and see God’s plan in them and suddenly being amazed when God breaks through and celestial light pours over the scene of broken human life. Behind the scenes of my tiny existence is raging a cosmic battle.

A shining moment in the hallway of my memory stands the moment I discovered a portal into the spiritual world. Daniel, a man the angel Gabriel said was greatly esteemed by God, fasted and prayed for an interpretation to a powerful vision. For twenty-four days. Twenty-four silent days in which it seemed God had overlooked him. Then suddenly one day, Gabriel stood before him, saying, “Do not be afraid, Daniel, for from the first day that you set your heart on understanding this and on humbling yourself before your God, your words were heard, and I have come in response to your words. But the prince of the kingdom of Persia was withstanding me for twenty-one days; the behold, Michael, one of the chief princes, came to help me, for I had been left there with the kings of Persia. Now I have come…”

And shall I reveal what I understand from this passage? Almost nothing. Except that battles rage in the heavens and our souls are kept and God’s purpose is not thwarted.

So be it.

My words, my meaningless words, they falter,

Here before Thy heavenly altar

How can I praise the Ancient of Days

In a way that will honor Thy Masterful ways?

The angels surrounding Thy eternal throne,

Cover their eyes, crying “Holy, holy.”

Heaven is lit by the light of Thy face,

Yet none can gaze full on Thy infinite beauty.

I let my words fall to the ground at Thy feet

And trust that their silence is ever so sweet

As a fragrance that flows from the love Thou bestows

On a weak-kneed scribe with no skill to compose.

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