It sometimes seems that God’s will is exactly the opposite of whatever it happens I want. I do not mean in reference to some sin, but rather in to good. That is it seems very often that the good I desire seems to be exactly the good God is disinclined to allow. Sometimes this is no doubt because God is frustrated that we would want so little when He wants to give us so much, content with a gold ball when He would give us the sun and the stars with it.
But sometimes it is also not necessarily because we are not to have them, but because we desire them to intensely. The good replaces the God, and this is unacceptable. It happens, usually it seems, that we do not notice this displacement. We still believe in God, still love Him, still think what we are doing inline with His will. And then it of course is all the harder to understand when we sense that we must give it up, that what we do is not enough. We cannot comprehend why we should not fling ourselves entirely at this good. Why it, whatever it is, person or vision, place or deed, why it should not consume us. A
The answer is of course that it is God that must consume us and in our zeal to do something, we have forgot the reason we did it.
And we are told to give it up. And this, this is incomprehensible. I know this is what I am supposed to be doing. Why then should I surrender it. Why should I sacrifice it?
And the answer is simple, Man does not live on bread alone, but on every Word which proceeds from His mouth. But there is a bread that satisfies, there is a bread that is the living Word of God. And this is that bread that has been sacrificed, the bread that has been consecrated at the alter.
Much as the Hebrew of old, we are standing before the altar of God with our goat, with our calf, our dove or lamb. We are standing before the altar knowing that whatever it is we have is good. But we do not seem to understand that in order for us to get any good out of what we have we must first sacrifice it. We cannot eat the raw meat we hold, it is only after His holy fires have consumed it that we may eat and profit from it. God demands that we sacrifice what we so deeply desire and what we know to be His will not because He would take it away, but because He would make it useful. We have gone so far as to determine what it is we must give the Lord, what our purpose is perhaps, and now in order that we may partake of it and profit from it we must give it up so that passing through His eternal light it should become something we may truly enjoy.
We are not then asked to give it up, we are asked to fulfill it. It is partly, no doubt, that we are asked to prove our faith, to prove we see the forest and not just the tree, by giving it up. Much as Abraham was to sacrifice Isaac. But unlike Abraham, the promises made by Christ to us, though we know that this is both His will and our desire, must be sacrificed, burnt, given up, surrendered entirely in order for them to become anything at all.
What Man would find his life must loose it. A paradox? Undoubtedly. But as with all those of Christianity one that fills the air with a sweet aroma. For it is only when we offer our deeds to Christ as a sweet aroma before the Lord that they gain any merit whatsoever, that they become usable in any sense.
…I guess I didn’t read Deuteronomy for nothing after all.