Living in the Tension of Both-And

This post is a little choppy.

My thoughts and emotions are kinda all over the place.

It’s like trying to gather a couple dozen spooked cats and get them to cuddle together in a quiet, soft spot.   It’s a nice idea but not likely to happen.

But, here goes…

At this moment, it feels like 84 degrees in Austin, Texas AND it feels like 54 degrees where I sit here in the Midwest.  The reality is not either or.  It is BOTH-AND.

However, I can only be here OR in Austin.

I am present in only one reality even while another reality is currently active elsewhere.

God is present and true where I live and breathe right now, AND He is present and true in Austin.

 

Doesn’t seem too hard to grasp – our minds easily accept this.

Where BOTH-AND becomes tricky is in scenarios like this:

God’s faithful pray for healing – honoring and believing Him  AND the person prayed for dies.

We sing and believe the lyrics of God’s power in Sunday morning worship songs AND people are living through painful relational brokenness.

Reciting our faith mantras within our church community gatherings ring true of the God we trust WHILE we have that sinking feel of helplessness watching one superpower cruelly pummel innocent women, children and elderly under it’s evil pursuit of a stretch of land that is not theirs.

I don’t get it.

That mind-blown emoji comes to mind.

How can I be disappointed and disillusioned when God doesn’t act in ways that make sense to me, yet trust His promises that there will be a day when all will agree He has never ever been at fault?  

I recently read an article on thegospelcoalition.org providing helpful thoughts about this.

The Bible’s Beautiful Both/And   https://nam12.safelinks.protection.outlook.com/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.thegospelcoalition.org%2Farticle%2Fbibles-beautiful-both-and%2F%3Famp&data=04%7C01%7C%7C24ab373a162d421489a908da1b23927c%7C84df9e7fe9f640afb435aaaaaaaaaaaa%7C1%7C0%7C637852136856587988%7CUnknown%7CTWFpbGZsb3d8eyJWIjoiMC4wLjAwMDAiLCJQIjoiV2luMzIiLCJBTiI6Ik1haWwiLCJXVCI6Mn0%3D%7C3000&sdata=4FLVUx%2FlJSvBTRDZIXWqsEp2wLQAGSmIhoSU5FtEGoU%3D&reserved=0

Quoting James K.A. Smith – “We can’t think our way out of this mess.”

“Smith isn’t advocating an anti-intellectual faith; he’s calling for anti-intellectualism in connecting to Christian truth.”

This article and these quotes help me SORT OF start to get my head around it all by stimulating the synergy of God’s Spirit and His true Word and God’s ability to remain an untainted existence in a grossly faulty world.

The big truths that seem to contrast each other in our worlds, coexist and harmonize under the umbrella of God’s expertise to somehow absorb it all into His infinite capability to craft this mess into a work that will prove Him ultimately, as I John 1:9 declares, “…faithful and just…” .

And all  through Jesus.

Who also lived through and with the greatest ironies of reality.

He had lived in ultimate luxury in the heavenly home of the Trinity, AND chose to shrink down into a finite body, limited by the smallness of earth compared to eternity, and LOVE us sinful folk.

He remained perfectly innocent of offending God His whole earthly life AND did not resist when accused with lies and punished then executed like a scary career criminal.

And then He turned it all upside down – He could have used his mistreatment as an eternal indictment against us all and incinerated humanity on the spot.  He didn’t.  He was perfect.  He was wrongly accused and killed.  AND He continued to love.  AND He saw His wild rescue mission through to the end (resurrection and a seat at the Father’s right hand).  AND He’s gone the extra mile to allow His Spirit residence with us to guide us, calm us, remind us…of HIM.

I will continue to meditate on this and perhaps you will feel the same shift internally I am beginning to experience – that BOTH-AND is feasible, real, and….  wonderfully freeing.

Some of those spooked cats are settling down after all.

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