Astonishing Simplicity

On day one of vacation, I was already arguing with my books.  It’s what I do.  I pack a library of heavy reads (both physically and figuratively) in the man’s backpack, and he lugs them for me from home to island.  He limits his playful, sarcastic remarks to one or two, and I let it go because it’s a fair trade for the hard labor.  Then from room to seaside he hauls them to our claimed spot at the shore, the place where the turquoise water laps just to the edge of our chairs.  I open them all on my lounge chair like I’m preparing to write a thesis, and immediately begin getting uptight.  Kev settles into his chair, wearing a smirk as easily as he’s wearing the baseball cap on his head and states, “Well this worked out well.”

I think maybe it’s simply that I’m annoyed I didn’t go to Seminary, and now I’m trying to make up for lost time.  I circle, cross reference, find more differed opinions than this brain of mine can handle, all the while reading every other paragraph aloud to Kev.  He squints, ponders, smiles, and nods agreeably, “That’s a good point.”  That’s always what he says.  I keep on reading.

By day two I’m searching for email addresses to get in touch with some of these authors.  I have a few questions.  Why can’t they all be like Bob Goff and include their cellphone number at the end of their books.  God bless that man.

By day three, in the midst of reading Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Kev declares, “From now on, I screen all the books you bring on vacation.”  God bless that man too.  I picked up Melanie’s “The Antelope in the Living Room” right before my anxiety hit a peak, and laughed for awhile instead.  It felt so good.  Laughter is a gift.

We can make ourselves crazy you know.  All this reading of hundreds of opinions.  It can make me question and fret over everything I have ever taught from God’s Word.  I know the obvious solution is to stick with the Source, but that’s hard too, and anyone who says it’s not is lying.  But without question, all of us do get to a point in seeking to know Him that we must strip away every other perspective “on the market” and simply look at the black and white pages of Scripture.  Because my Jesus came for the child-like and not the haughty, and I’m certain that means even a non-seminary mind like mine, ordinary girls like you and me who want to know Him, can and will be made wise by Him.  We’re home now, where the temperature read 26 degrees this morning instead of 86.  The kids and I finally finished listening to Exodus on the way to school.  As The Glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle, I thought of all that would come later with Jesus and His Holy Spirit.  I drove home thinking of the pattern of God, always moving toward and closer to His beloved.  I’m so grateful that all that might and majesty, all that thunder and lightening, the pillar of cloud and fire, all the shining Glory of the Lord which filled the tabernacle that day in the desert, eventually came and filled flesh and was tabernacled among us.

He became approachable.  He lived what He taught, and people were drawn to Him.  He stopped for those in need.  He had compassion on the masses.  He cared about the everyday.  He attended weddings and honored special requests.  He heard those who prayed.  He spent time with children.  He ate dinner with sinners.  He healed the sick.  He declared the ones who hunger and thirst for righteousness were blessed.  He honored women, when no one else did.  He gave to us who would believe in His Name the right to become children of God.  The Almighty came close so that the everyday you and me kind of people, could know Him.

Oh to know Him!

I’m not going to stop reading and learning from great teachers (obviously, none of us should).  I will wrestle this thing out to the end.  But I’m also not going to forget that Jesus came in astonishing simplicity, approaching the most ordinary of people with a simple command and promise, “Come, follow me. And I will make you fishers of men.”

So let’s follow close, and toss our nets where He leads.

I’m staking my whole life on His simple promise.

Amy Heywood