What if we dared to be kissed by the frog of our nightmares only to discover the Prince Charming of our dreams standing at the doorway to heaven? And what if he knelt at our feet and the shoe in his hand fitted us perfectly? And as we arose in bewildered response we were transformed into who we were always meant to be. Our spiritual Cinderella persona fell away in the presence of such unexpected love and affirmation revealing a stunning heir to the throne; what then?
Many people speak about God or a ‘Higher Power’ as if he were some ugly toad, croaking in the dark; an irritant more than a blessing, and best to keep a respectful distance away from. Acknowledge his presence by all means but if you stay on the other side of the pond no one gets hurt or offended.
Remember Robinson Crusoe, shipwrecked on a remote island, finding a single footprint on the beach and realizing that he was not quite as alone as he had supposed? The human race frequently contends that the world we inhabit is our island over which we have dominion and authority without reference to anyone else. If you need a ‘Higher Power’ to help you make it through the night then be my guest but that’s a matter of personal preference. ‘Higher Powers’ are almost available in the ‘spiritual section’ of Walmart under a variety of labels: yoga, Buddha, Mohammed, Krishna, self-fulfillment, a 12-Step program, occult forces, psychic readings, Tarot Cards, Transcendental Meditation, Hindu gods and goddesses, shopping, sport, travel, work, sex, business…. It’s a very crowded, lucrative, and competitive market.
Until one day in history a footprint appeared in the dusty earth of Bethlehem and audaciously challenged our assumptions and preconceptions. Jesus Christ embedded his mark on the earth; God’s footprint in the form of an historical person.
Funnily enough our initial response to Jesus may sometimes not be dissimilar to that of Mr. Crusoe stumbling upon the footprint on his private sandy beach. Fear, alarm, and a host of other thoughts and reactions flood our hearts and minds as we consider the possibility that someone else is present in our picture. Indeed, until that moment we may have assumed it was ‘our picture’. With this footprint we are forced to consider the unthinkable; maybe I am part of someone else’s picture? If that prospect is even remotely true I don’t have to scratch my head for long before I’m wondering who the intruder might be and whether they are friend or foe?
Of course God realized that we Crusoe’s would be somewhat startled and alarmed by his revelation. Therefore when he alerted others (Mary, Joseph, the shepherds) to the pending historic visitation of his son, Jesus, his messenger gave words of comfort and reassurance, “Be not afraid.”
So what? Being initially ‘afraid’ is a very common experience as we grow with God or even initially try and figure him and his existence out… So be encouraged and press through when it rises. In counselling people who have been abused one of their greatest fears is that when the truth is out they will be accused and blamed. I wonder whether a similar apprehension isn’t often growing like weeds within the cracks of our understanding? If our boundaries are determined by fear the land we occupy will be very small indeed. Let’s encourage one another to break through as we anticipate more!