Monday, March 28, 2011

Transcendently Oblivious

I was maneuvering through the small room crowded with round tables and chairs with a plate of pulled pork in one hand and plastic utensils in the other when I first noticed her.

In the corner of the room was a small stage, and on that stage was a lone woman with her guitar. She was strumming and singing. The room was full of women on lunch break from a small women's conference held in a local church. Everyone was getting settled into their chairs, opening their bags of chips and talking about the experiences of the morning. Absolutely no one paid any attention to her.

She had her eyes closed. A half-smile played around her lips as she swayed on her stool. She was really just playing two chords over and over and singing her own spontaneous praises to the Lord. Her voice was nice, but not beautiful. And she definitely wasn't a master of the guitar. But she didn't care at all. She just played and sang the entire 30 minutes it took us to eat lunch.

Sat there, eyes closed.
Singing to her audience of One.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

And then it hit me...

"Can I ask you something?"
The young woman who sat across from me surprised me with this question as we were (I thought) wrapping up our time together.

"Sure," I replied.

"Why do you believe what you believe?"

Wow. As a "Professional Christian," I suppose this is the part where I should have dusted off my apologetics notes and made a case for the historical Jesus, the veracity of the gospel accounts, the evidence for the Resurrection, etc. -- but I honestly didn't even think of all that.

I thought of the Truth - the real reason I believe. Ironically, I had never said it aloud before. You know how sometimes you're actually processing as you speak and at the moment you hear yourself verbalize something, the idea has just crystallized for you? That is what happened to me at that moment. I heard myself speaking and I instantly knew.

The reason I believe in the God of the Bible is because I love His story.

Does that strike you as heretical at first? Hear me out.

I think we ALL love stories. We pay to see stories in the movies; we escape our own realities by watching others' stories unfold on tv or by immersing ourselves in books. When we meet people, we want to hear their stories. We love stories because stories matter - they really matter to us. We connect with the characters, the plot, the twists and turns that capture our imagination and thrill us.
And of all the gods offered up by all the religions out there, there's only One who is the ultimate hero - the One who is on a no-holds-barred rescue mission to save the arrogant rebels who snubbed His love and then found themselves on a collision course with Death.

There's only one God who loves like a daddy - the kind of daddy who would fight the bad guys and risk everything to save His kids. There's only one God who says, "Let them go! Take me instead!" and sacrifices Himself -- actually lays down His weapons and lets Himself be taken away to be tortured and killed so that His children can be freed.

There is only One conquering hero who came to earth with a rescue plan to win us back.

I believe that story because something deep inside me resonates that it is true, it is RIGHT, it is real. I want to see it again and again and again in movies, in books, in life. And so do you. You shake your head at the arrogance and ignorance of the victim who runs headlong into trouble. You worry when the hero puts himself in jeopardy, but you couldn't respect him if he didn't. You cringe when it appears the antagonist has finally gotten the upper hand. You marvel at the love and courage it takes for the hero to sacrifice himself to redeem the victim. And you rejoice when he overcomes!

The story of the One True God is written inside of all of us. It's what we all need, whether we realize it or not. The Bible unveils this story over thousands of years with layers and layers of foreshadowing. It's a story told by poetry, prose, character development, declaration, and history. It's easy to get bogged down in the minutia of the bible, but the truth is this: if you had to boil the Bible down to its essence, it's an amazing revelation of Someone so noble, so worthy of admiration and adulation, so powerful yet so loving that it's easy to see He's the ultimate Hero. He's the One who proves His love by compelling, forceful action.

You and I are made in the image of the God of the Bible.

His story is the one we most want to be true.

And I believe it is.