If I asked when does life begin, people would rush to their area of political belief. I read recently that in the olden days people believed that life was only valid after a mother felt her baby kick within her. That explains society quite a bit if you ask me – only the kickers survived? Life means many different things in our modern world. Joy has been replaced by debates and votes, making life something humans determine rather than what God breathes life into. God still holds the keys to life and death and only He determines our start or final day.
NASA is exploring life in space and the latest discovery is that there just might be “life” on Mars. I’m not ready to go there yet and my mind cracks up whenever I think about that. They found hydrogen peroxide there which makes one think there is a mama and a few boo-boos up there somewhere, right? When I questioned some friends about what “life” meant to them one suggested that it is a prison term and how long someone has been sentenced. A “lifer” is one that goes to jail and does not ever come out. It’s great to have friends from all walks of life to give depth to our perspectives.
I asked my favorite theologians (child 1 and child 2) and they both said God was alive because He created them and lives inside them. They were both proof positive that God was alive. I agree. When I pressed for less Sunday school-like answers this is what they told me. Child 1 stated that he has breath in his lungs and since God put that there He must still be alive to generate such breath. I was so stunned I could barely talk. Then child 2 stated that he sins a lot and when he asks God to forgive him he feels less guilty and gets a peace in his heart and it gets all clean inside. Grace has “got” him. That proves God is alive because only God could fix his heart. Their answers made me happy that they are aware of who God is and the difference that God’s life makes in their lives. I did not realize peace could be so easily explained. “I felt guilty and now I feel free”. Fair enough.
Movies like God’s Not Dead help remind us what God is up to, but have you ever wondered if God ever ran out of energy and just ceased? Did God’s life source run out last month and we are all running on fumes? What keeps God moving, doing miracles and loving? He’s the God that is un-caused and sustainable in all seasons. Eddie James sings all about the various aspects of His life and existence in, “I Am” ( www.youtube.com/watch?v=eHz2_HLw7fg ).
Could we fathom a world without His presence? He is pre-existent and was there in the beginning, wholly unlike us and eternal. But is He living, still? Job tells us in Job 19, one of the earliest books of the Bible, “I KNOW that my redeemer lives, and that in the end He will stand on the earth.” If anyone deserved to think for a second that God was MIA it was Job. It looked like God was off the job or had gone out for a break when terrible things happened to him. A few verses later however he equates God’s existence with the yearning in his heart. How does one long for a God one has never seen unless that being is wholly alive within us? It is personal to him – MY redeemer lives and ultimately in the end will triumph- He will stand on the earth. He could have appealed to the mighty mountain or the bubbling of a small brook but instead states that his heart knows that God will stand – that is faith! Do our hearts resonate and beat to the meter of God’s living power?
GOD IS LIFE
The God of life is seen walking with Adam and Eve. He intervenes all the way through the Bible and then Jesus makes many statements telling us that He is the bread of life, the way the truth and the life and gives eternal life. But how do we know God is life and alive today to impact us? Here are a couple things to consider:
- He provided life through creation
- He provided Jesus to give us life everlasting (salvation)
- He provided the continuation of life, breath and sustains us
- He provided eternity and Heavenly life with Him
- He provided reconciliation – a lifeline to continued relationship
- He provided the Holy Spirit for communication and wisdom so life is fresh and directed on a daily basis.
That sounds theological but let’s slow down….
This morning we found snails in our garden. A true gardener would have been disappointed but we were thrilled to investigate and understand the little creatures. They looked like rocks. They appeared dead. Our youngest told us they were “alive”. How do you know, we asked? Because we can see them move once in a while and they leave a trail where they have been – oily slime. “Sometimes this little snail moves, then we know mama that he’s alive.” He moved. If they feel safe and welcome, they venture out of their shell. We make room for them and then they slowly come out.
Sometimes we don’t feel or see God, but He still exists, still lives. My dad used to have a magnet inside his pick-up that said, I believe in the sun when it is behind the clouds, I believe in God when He is silent. Maybe we have to slow down, get quiet and make room for God. Maybe He reveals Himself on His schedule instead of ours.
One day I was trying to remember a scripture that a friend had shared but could not find it. The next day I got ready for work and tried to look it up again, but could not find it in my Bible or on my phone. Doubts and struggles clouded my belief that a mighty God could help with a certain problem I was facing. Later that day, I went into a random room that just “happened” to have a Bible, I flipped it open and it “accidentally” fell open to that scripture I had been searching to find. If coincidences only happened now and again one would dismiss that as random but when these things happen often it is pretty clear that there is divine orchestration that is grander than our human minds can imagine. God is very ordered, anything but random. The same God that sets the tides by the moon also designed our DNA. That same miraculous, detailed God longs to give us life – not just in the land of glory but in the here and now.
We see God’s life when we look at the Northern lights. We see God’s life when we look into a babies face. We see God when the altar is full on a Sunday morning. We hear life when a bird sings, when a sinner repents, when a saint passes. We experience life whenever a sovereign God moves, when the loud saints pray or when the quiet whispering ones stay silent. There are millions of expressions of the life of God around us.
When life ceases to exist, God still remains. Until then, we need His breath, His heart, His life. When He is given invitation, room, time … life increases. This life is meant to bond us together, to create a loving, living intimacy with the Lord of the universe. Dead faith does not have life giving daily talks. Dead religion comes from dead hearts, those whose relationships with God have no living fountain flowing. Fresh faith comes from vibrant, living interactions with a vibrant, living King. Dear Lord, show us Your life, give us Your Life, and use us to show forth Your life to others. Amen.