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Author Topic: Running Naked in the Garden (or, you will never find Him like that)  (Read 190 times)

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Offline JERRY C

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You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:13 NIV)  If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land. (2 Chronicles 7:14 NIV)

   I sat at the dinner table and enjoyed the conversation.  Beside me was a USAF jet mechanic who worked on F16’s.  He was a first-time visitor at church and my daughter invited him over to eat with her family and us.  We talked of his home, California, and his family, Chinese, first-generation immigrants.  He was just glad to escape downtown, urban Los Angeles.  He joined the Air Force and had traveled to Japan, Africa, … and was now stationed in Montgomery.  He had come to church, based on a Google-map search, and wanted to make new friends.

   As we enjoyed the Thai food (what a coincidence?!) that Sarah had planned for dinner, our guest began to reminisce about how his grandmother set a very similar table with lettuce, sauces, vegetables, ground pork …  It really was a very good meal!  The conversation turned to church and what Matt was looking for in a church.  He said that he wanted Bible study, to answer questions.  The teens had directed the church service that morning and talked of how God has the answers to all our questions, even if we might not know the answers, yet.  Wow!

   The conversation turned to questions about the nature of God, the problem of pain and suffering, and other “surface issues”?  My son-in-law quipped that he was glad that I was there to be the “answer man”!  We went to the book of Job, and I pointed out our inadequacies to know all the answers.  Matt was surprisingly familiar with the apologetic/theodicy nature of the book?!  Then he quipped that God seemed “bi-polar” when you look at Him in the NT and OT …  (I was thinking about Marcion) and I responded with an academic answer.

   Then, I went a little deeper with a question.  Matt had mentioned his parents being Buddhists, and I asked him what attracted him to Christianity, with his family’s spiritual background.  Very quickly he retorted that he did not like all the rules in Buddhism that made no sense to him.  He wanted to be free to party with his friends and play.  The conversation soon took a detour into banality boulevard.  But, not before I added – Job put his hand over his mouth and just shut up; and,  “… the secret things belong to God…” (Deut.29:29) is one of the favorite verses of old Rupert. 

   We soon finished dinner, and my wife and I packed up to return home.   We kissed the grandkids good-bye, and hugged our daughter and snl, David.  As we drove west, Melanie asked me what was troubling me.  I was thinking about Matt.  I was perplexed about his answers and motives.  I was concerned that I had failed to connect with him.  Later that night, as I lay sleepless, it began to dawn on me that the problem was not head, but heart.  He was not looking for Jesus; he was just running from Buddha.  As long as we make God an argument, an academic conclusion, a synthesis of propositions, … we will never find Him.  We are not looking for Him; we are hiding from Him, wanting to run naked through the garden.

"Then they will call to me but I will not answer; they will look for me but will not find me. Proverbs 1:28

I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me.  Proverbs 8:17

For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for me will find it.  Matthew 16:25

"I am unworthy--how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth.  Job 40:4

« Last Edit: Wed Aug 12, 2015 - 21:53:01 by JERRY C »

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