The Fresh Air of Consideration
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Humans are amphibians - half spirit and half animal. As spirits they belong to the eternal world, but as animals they inhabit time. Ė C.S. Lewis
An alligator emerges silently like a reptilian submarine from cool waters and slinks onto hot white sands. Heís an amphibian, a denizen of two worlds, neither of which he can deny if he desires to live.
Human beings live in a world of time, forcing themselves like hostages to believe itís their primary, their only world. But theyíre tortured by the eternity in their hearts (Ecc. 3:11) from which they can never escape nor erase. Every graveyard passed is a reminder of timeís temporary status. Even the most arrogant, the most evil, must surrender consciousness nightly to a world of breathless dreams ridden like roller coasters across dark inner landscape over which they have no control. This nightly excursion alone is enough to teach us our frailty and membership in two worlds. Yet though the ox knows his owner, and the ass his master's crib: but Israel does not know, my people do not consider. Ė Isa. 1:3
To consider in the Hebrew usage is to be able to distinguish; to be able to tell right from left. Obviously thereís an expectation by God that we understand who we really are and what our purpose is in the natural, seamless way an animal knows its owner. For God to say that we donít know what even a beast knows is hardly complimentary. But God never was one to bite His tongue. Yet through consideration we can come to an understanding. Weíre capable of doing so. Often, we just donít.
Yet itís no simple thing to grasp eternity. Or perhaps itís too hard because weíre too busy to humble ourselves enough to see it. We canít do it just any kind of way. Even when we seriously try to think on it our minds run up muddy hills of limited imagination only to slide back down exhausted. Our most earnest efforts to comprehend eternity seem only to burn off like morning fog, leaving us where we were in time, walled in by sensual evidence. And we only think we understand time because everybody basically agrees itís measured by clocks. But it passes slowly for a kid on Christmas Eve and way too fast after forty. It flows like cold honey when youíre on a job you hate while hours feel like seconds when lovers talk. Einstein showed that it passes slower the faster you move and really canít be separated from space. Time is actually space-time. Ok. No physics lessons.
The good news is that God never intended for us to comprehend eternity or anything concerning it with our feeble minds any more than He expected Moses to be able to gaze into His face without dying (Ex. 33:23). Just as Moses could only see Godís back parts, we see eternity indirectly.
For now we see through a glass, darkly (1 Cor. 13:12). In this life we wonít ever comprehend eternity completely. But we donít have to. God knows our frame; that we are but dust (Ps. 103:14). Thatís why He has set it up so that we can get doses of eternity wrapped up in events in time. Our job is to consider them so that we donít take them for granted or remain blind to their meaning. If we consider them, they become Godís appointed way for us to step out of what many have allowed to become a secularized mindset and get a breath of fresh air. This inhaling of fresh air enables us to get the most out of time and eternity instead of being dominated by time.
He judged the cause of the poor and needy; then it was well with him: was not this to know me? said the LORD.- (Jer. 22:16)
There it is. Some people try to get intimate with God through emotional exertions, operating under a vague sense of undefined spirituality. One may believe heíll break through to God spending hours before an altar on an empty stomach. But God clearly says that to carry out actions in time, like judging the cause of the poor and needy, is to know Him. You get the eternity wrapped in the obedience.
Nevertheless he left not himself without witness, in that he did good, and gave us rain from heaven, and fruitful seasons, filling our hearts with food and gladness. Ė Acts 14:17
God has provided simple events and witnesses within time that point to eternity for us. If we let those appointed things do the work we are free to glory in them and enjoy the freedom they bestow even while we must be time bound. We donít have to drive ourselves trying to develop some imaginary mystical connection with God. The connection is wrapped up in the simple things Heís appointed in time. Because they are simple, pride overlooks them. Without proper consideration we donít see them.
The natural man receives not the things of the spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. Ė 1 Cor. 2:14
So if weíre having trouble receiving these things through lack of consideration, could it be that weíre relying too heavily on the natural side of our amphibious makeup? And could it be that when we thought we were leaning on the eternal side of that makeup that it was still the natural side trying to get into Club Eternity on a fake ID? Deep down, we knew that. Because when we finally come to ourselves like the prodigal son, we knew we were fronting all along.
God doesnít create a new connection. He redeems what was already here. When Jesus was asked what to do to inherit eternal life He didnít outline a more in depth commitment to fasting and prayer or meditation. He directed the person right back to what was given to us in time that points to eternity.
You know the commandments, Do not commit adultery, Do not kill, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Defraud not, Honor your father and mother. Ė Mark 10:19
If we had manufactured someone rising from the dead ourselves we would have had them appear with flashing lights and showing off great powers. But what was the case with Christ? After His resurrection His own associates donít recognize Him though He speaks with them. Then after He expounded on the Scriptures and performed the time bound act of breaking bread that pointed to His eternal sacrifice, their eyes were opened (Lu. 24:25-31).
In various ways the unbelieving world always puts its stale spin on things and constantly changes the final chapter on the same old played out stories. It would have us believe that reality is like a cheap hotel room full of cigarette smoke, bad conversation, loud music and sweaty bodies jammed into too small an area where we ignore the claustrophobia, vomit in the corner and the overdosed fool blocking the bathroom door. What matters is that, in all the colliding kitsch personas, a few are manipulative enough to impose their wills on the rest. To act on the desire to get out and get some fresh air is to offend with an action that says thereís meaning outside the room.
To consider in the biblical sense is to step outside the room of time and get some fresh air while never really leaving. Moreover, consideration renders the glass a bit less darker so that eternityís light reflects through better, enough to be sufficient just as His grace is sufficient (2 Cor. 12:9).
Without it you start believing in the cheap hotel room and the door is hard to find.
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