I’m Finite, How Are You?

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“Everywhere I go I see you.” Rich Mullins

Lately, when people have asked “How are you?” I’ve been tempted to alter the usual “Fine” to “Finite.” That’s just how life’s been in recent months, a bit of an exercise in appreciating limits.

I’ve been reminded again and again that some of what I’ve held on to with both hands has been more like sand than solid rock. Like the old cartoons, I have thrown high my rope, climbed it hand over hand into the sky, only to find there was nothing up there. Like the cosmonauts who went to space and announced that they had discovered God wasn’t there, I have looked in the wrong places. Or looked the wrong way.

Our brother Jack Lewis said the cosmonauts might as well have looked in Hamlet’s attic for Shakespeare.

Are you there God? It’s me, Boris. You know, the one with the beard.

Where is God?

God is invisible, but only in a certain sense. He is active, present, vocal, and, well, obvious. In Romans 1, Paul makes it plain that men are accountable because the truth about God’s presence, power, and provision is clear.

This is why not being thankful is like rebellion, which is like witchcraft. It’s a perverse response. It’s one I’m frequently guilty of having.

“God is hidden in vocation,” Luther said. He is there, working to serve a billion ends by a billion means. He is there when the farmer plants, reaps, and sells. He has called the farmer to it. He is there when the driver transports the bread to the store. If the driver blesses God when he buys gas then he is right –even if it’s five dollars a gallon. God is feeding people. Sometimes he sends bread direct from heaven, but more often it’s from a grocery store or a mom’s oven. He calls a lot of people along the way for this work.

God can give water to his children from a rock, but more often he uses faucets. Still, it is no less from him.

I’m not saying I understand all this, but I’m getting more comfortable with the presence and provision of God in what our modernist minds have called “natural,” or “ordinary” places. Is any place ordinary? Is fog or moss ordinary? Life is magical, charged with glory and light. No amount of indoctrination can fog that up forever. The true Story will escape.

Again, Romans 1 talks about what you have to do to ignore the hand of God. You have to hold it down. Actively. You have to suppress it. It will bubble up through every hole unless you run around like mad plugging here and stepping there, scheming, stomping, working like crazy to keep it down.

Though we are finite, God is providing for us everywhere we turn. In major ways. In minor ways. How can we be blind to it? Maybe you, like me, need to be reminded. Maybe we need wizards, not so much to put a spell on us, but to remove one.

Sometimes it’s books or songs that tear away at the carefully crafted shackles we have allowed around our wrists, the bonds that blind us to the evident wonder of God’s great provision. Sometimes it’s a holy encounter with a saint. Sometimes it’s math, basketball, corn dogs, Victoria Falls, making love, babies, adoption, a painting, a person failing well, a fancy car, poetry, or water, or bread, or wine.

St. Augustine confessed that he was wrong to marvel at the miracle at Cana, where Jesus turned water to wine, and not at the miracle that every single cup of wine has always been changed from water to wine by God. This is the God who sends rain, gives sunshine, and causes grapes to grow. It’s he who always makes water into wine. It is he who gives us daily bread.

Speaking of wine and bread: The sharp point of God’s provision is celebrated by Christians everywhere in these two gifts. Bread and wine.

It’s in the cross that we see the greatest provision for our greatest need. Jesus is the sharp point of God’s provision. But it’s not only there, it’s everywhere.

Ask for eyes and then look around.