Monday, September 27, 2004

Learning to Crawl

I saw "The Day After Tomorrow" several weeks ago now and enjoyed it. It wasn't a great movie, but...I enjoyed it. I've said before I don't know much about movie critiquing, but--perhaps because of the writers' course I've been taking--I could identify one or two flaws in it. But I still liked it and think I'd like to see it again.

Two things I took away from this movie. I believe I heard one of the scientists make the remarkable comment that storms are imbalances that rage until they are corrected.

Until they are corrected. Hm. You mean they don't just fix themselves? I always thought they just sort of...dissipated. If this piece of information is right (I did look around online trying to find something to corroborate this but no luck so far), then my guess is if storms don't just go away, then some opposing force somehow rights the balance and..."fixes" things. (Of course, it might be that the "opposing force" is within them, in which case it could be argued that they do indeed "fix" themselves. I don't know much about storms, okay?) The point is they don't just go away, not without the weather being put back on track, the balance being restored. Something has to happen to fix what's wrong, to correct the balance.

I remember when I prayed fervently for God to help me or heal me or something like that. I don't remember now for sure but it was almost as if I expected him to wave a hand over the problems in my life and say, "Be gone!" To fix me with the snap of a finger so that I was good as new, just like before. After all, the Bible says "if anyone is in Christ he is a new creation" (2 Cor 5:17); "he has crossed over from death to life" (John 5:24). That sounds pretty immediate to me. And it is.

Now wait a minute, this sounds like a discrepancy. Either God heals you immediately or he doesn't. My answer is yes and no. But the yes is the bigger. When you renounce old ways and take on new ways in the obedience of faith, God answers you immediately; he quite literally makes you new. You are reborn, like a new, perfect baby. No more sin, no more problems. That's on the truer, spiritual level. You are brand new.

In the physical world I think he does something quite different.

I remember days or months after those fervent prayers realizing it wasn't going to be so easy. God was't going to go 1-2-3 snap! and I'm better. It's still a hard thing for me to understand, so many years later, and as recently as within the last two years, I've pleaded with God just to come to me, to tell me in a vision what to do. I haven't totally given up wishing he would.

I think I understand why he doesn't. I think you probably know the answer, too, unpleasant as it is. He's letting us grow. Letting us learn to crawl. You don't keep carrying a child around for the rest of his life. At some point, you start letting him--and he starts trying--to lift his head, to sit up, to crawl, to walk--and someday, to run.

Imagine if you got yourself in a real fix. Tangled up so deeply in a bad situation that you can't see the way out. (Not hard to imagine for most of us.) What would happen if God waved his hand over you and said, "Be healed!" and reverted you back to good as new, just like that? Be a lot easier, certainly, yes. But what else? Would you see how you got from safe on dry ground to down in the pit to dry ground again? Would you even know what you did wrong to begin with, so you could avoid doing it again?

How can we ever expect to learn if we're not given the chance to do things for ourselves? I'm not saying God stands back in the theater seats and lets us do it all on our own. Far from it. I believe he's active and involved, even in the physical world--but, at the same time, he's letting us learn to crawl.

Storms don't just go away. You can take my word for that. When your life's thrown out of balance and everything's out of whack is maybe when you need to get a hold of some opposing forces--something to oppose the dark and stormy night in your life--or more specifically Someone. The truth is, we don't have enough strength, enough force on our own, in and of ourselves. We supply the willingness. God supplies the strength.

The last line (?) of the movie supplied the other half, the closure; a beautiful dovetail completing the earlier statement. Two astronauts who've been overlooking the turmoil on Earth throughout the storm from space. After the storm, in the final moments of the movie, one says to the other, "Have you ever seen the air so clear?"

Storms don't go away on their own. They take labor and effort, sometimes pain and sacrifice, to be corrected. But, when you've done the work, put in the time--you've never seen the air so clear in your life.

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