This is Jesus as human. Telling stories that fire the imagination. Waking up ‘heart eyes’ so ‘mind eyes’ don’t take over everything. He communicated His message to curious and sometimes hostile audiences by playing with words and humor in ordinary events. And He did it as Himself…fully God, fully human…fully, gladly, confident.
This life of wholly giving ourselves to the way God made us and to what He’s made us for really messes with us sometimes. There’s just no way to give thoroughly without also being seen thoroughly. And we get real worried about that. Therefore, much of our energy goes toward maintaining an image of how we think we should be seen based upon the constructs of culture, teaching, peers, and history.
I love Psalm 107’s picture of sailors heading to open ocean. Minding their own business, doing their job, they head out despite dark sky and choppy seas. But soon a storm comes up with hurricane-force winds and monstrously high waves. In all their years, they’ve not encountered this. Desperation fueled by terror pumps adrenaline so they move faster, daring elements so out of their control they can’t be measured.
Six years ago, I tried to learn how to scuba dive in four feet of water. The first lesson was to learn how to sink! “Relax! Give yourself to the water.” The instructor used everything from metaphor to a hand on my back to hold me under (with mask and breathing tank) as I tried really hard to relax. Have you ever tried to calm down and loosen up when you’re fairly certain you’re going to die?
If hilarity were a blossom in God’s garden, wonder would be its stem, rooted down deep in the soil of redemption. Sometimes, our transactional view of the Christian life (which presents a problem, God’s solution, and our response) causes us to miss this. The problem is obvious: we’re sinners. The solution unexpected: Jesus took our punishment and died in our place. We then respond by learning to love and follow Jesus.
Not much good comes of eavesdropping. In Sarah’s case, not only did she get caught, she got exposed. Deep longing, weary of standing fast, she had let go of the child dream. Arms long-empty found other things to hold. But that didn’t stop the missing, the aching, the longing for a role she could never have…mother. Her laughter on hearing the angels prophesy a son for her was a familiar composite of ache, anger, defeat, and resignation.