Life Beyond Ourselves (Part II)

Peter-on-waterIn my last post, I noted a connection between Peter’s walking on the water and a great typing groove.

At the moment that his feet felt his weight supported by the sea’s surface, Peter entered a supernatural experience. And for all of a few moments, he lived comfortably in a realm beyond himself. But it all ended as quickly as it began, and the unraveling began with something perfectly innocent and natural: some logical questions.

WHEN FINGERS > BRAINS

As I commented last time, typing at its finest involves fingers flying faster than brain waves. In that moment, the act of analyzing my movements is the wrecking ball that destroys the speed and ease. There’s nothing implicitly wrong with thinking – it’s just that there are realms beyond understanding, where mental clutching and grabbing snuffs out the beauty and power to which we’ve gained access.

In his later years, Peter wrote (perhaps even typed at break-neck speed 😉 ) that in Christ, we are invited to participate in the divine nature (2 Peter 1). He speaks explicitly of being freed from the corruption that saturates the fallen order. But I can’t help but wonder if his mind didn’t wander back to his brief taste of water-walking. Certainly, those were some participating-in-the-divine-nature moments! And surely he recalled the ease with which he lived in those moments.

Until he began to think.

And it was his very logical thoughts forming very reasonable questions that ended what he might have later labeled as the very normal expectation of Christ’s people: Participation in the divine nature — life beyond ourselves.

MORE THAN NATURAL

By grace, God invites us into a life far too big for ourselves. As children, our mothers bought us too-big clothing, assuring us that it was really just too-big-for-now clothing. The mom-mantra was spoken over us: “You’ll grow into it.”  And we came to know that, quite naturally, we would.

But grace is hardly natural.

To be sure, God calls us into a life too large for who we are. But unlike childhood clothing, there is no natural guarantee that we will grow into what He is giving.  In fact, left to our own soundest thoughts and stablest tendencies, we will wiggle ourselves out of it.  Our doubts will be well-founded, and our concerns will seem wisely-conservative — and they will do exactly what Peter came to learn: They will lead us from the supernatural to the natural. They will do away with “beyond ourselves”, in exchange for “within ourselves” — and we will feel the loss immediately.

We live in the afterglow of the Resurrection, the age in which the Spirit responsible for the original Creation hovers over the depths once again, eager to bring order and form to every life where faith awakens.  And within my spiritual schizophrenia , my gets-it self offers my frightfully-slow self a few words of counsel:

TRUST. And direct that trust toward God’s power before you direct it toward your ability to comprehend. Getting this backward creates a bottleneck in one’s spiritual life.

GRACE. God gives it freely, but be active in pleading for receptivity to this logic-defying gift. Any efforts to create formulas or square equations will be decimated by divine grace, so let them go.  Or you can do it after God breaks your calculator.

GRIP. Loosen it. None of us are big enough to be main characters in the grand Story. There is only One of those, and we find our wondrously appropriate identities solely in relation to Him. So breathe. And listen. And respond. God is good, and you are His.

YOUR TURN: How does Peter’s sea-standing experience speak to your life of faith? What have you learned about living, by grace, beyond yourself?

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