Saturday, July 7, 2012

He Is Unapologetically My Way

The way of Jesus cannot be imposed or mapped — it requires an active participation in following Jesus as he leads us through sometimes strange and unfamiliar territory, in circumstances that become clear only in the hesitations and questionings, in the pauses and reflections where we engage in prayerful conversation with one another and with him. Eugene H. Peterson, The Jesus Way: A Conversation on the Ways That Jesus Is the Way

There have been times when well meaning people (I am giving them grace here) have chastised me for not moving forward faster or for having questions about what in the world God was doing when I just didn't seem to see the way or couldn't make a decision. I have at times chastised myself and felt like those fishermen friends who rowed all night without coming close to shore. That was until Christ showed up.

Showed up? Maybe He was there all along- do you think? Maybe we just feel alone at those times and aloneness can feel like lostness. Maybe we confuse waiting with inertia and our not "seeing" God with His absence or worse, His disinterest.

Maybe those times are just the warm up. The time to stretch before the race. Maybe it is the busiest time for Christ and we just don't see it. Our heart has not learned to "know" it yet. That takes practice.

One of the most popular religious images (icons) used in Orthodox Christianity is that of Christ Pantocrator*. I am crazy for the art in this but its meaning transports me way further down the road than does its treasured, gold-leafed imagery.

The Greek is translated from the Hebrew names of God YHWH Tzevaot "Lord of Hosts" and for El Shaddai "God Almighty" and frames the thought in terms of His omnipotence. God who is all powerful. I get it.

Here is where it gets good. Here is where I find myself taking the very deepest gulp of air and diving into the wonder of it. The online encyclopedia elaborates:

"Another, more literal translation is "Ruler of All" or, less literally, "Sustainer of the World". In this understanding, Pantocrator (Pantokrator) is a compound word formed from the Greek for "all" and the verb meaning "To accomplish something" or "to sustain something" (κρατεω). This translation speaks more to God's actual power; i.e., God does everything (as opposed to God can do everything)."

Did you see it, the subtle difference that makes all the difference to those of us who wait? It is God who is doing rather than merely a God who can do. I dive and find the pearl that proves I am not really waiting at all in the sense of God-Time for God is always in action. He is the God-Who-Is-Accomplishing-Something when I "see" nothing, when I can go no further. My perception of quiet on His part is in itself God accomplishing something. My God is God being powerful not just sitting on the sidelines capable of power.

My waiting, praying, drinking in the encouragement of the word and word-filled friendships until the way is revealed, be it a step at a time or a sweeping revelation, is anything but passive. He is the Way I take. No apologies needed.

You may think it a small thing but for me it is the white daisy on the canvas that upon close observation is really made up of blue and purple undertones and a foundation that is all about the underpainting. Prayerful conversations discover the wonder of it, that the brush never leaves His hand.

We look at this Son and see the God who cannot be seen. We look at this Son and see God's original purpose in everything created. For everything, absolutely everything, above and below, visible and invisible, rank after rank after rank of angels—everything got started in him and finds its purpose in him. He was there before any of it came into existence and holds it all together right up to this moment. Colossians 1:15-18 (MSG)

To the One who is the Way the Truth and my Life. The God who does everything. May I allow you to do in my life what You are capable of.

* Pan-TOE-cre-tor (This will get you close to the correct way to say it although a Greek scholar would have a fit.)

Christ Pantocrator image

Fresh as a daisy by Karen Margulis


  1. "He holds it all together" as in right this second and the seconds that come after it He is holding on. Holding us and all of our stuff. No looking away for a second. We are not aware any more than we feel the earth turning round each 24 hours while revolving around the sun. We don't feel it but around we go for sure. I don't always feel God is doing anything but that feeling would be only that. He can and is doing the job. JW

  2. Not only does He hold it all together "At extremely short range, it is stronger than electrostatic repulsion, and allows protons to stick together in a nucleus even though their charges repel each other." Smaller than an atom, He holds EVERYthing together including us. For this (and for you) I am grateful. -RS

  3. The God Who Is Being Powerful...
    I want to jump up and celebrate that! Lately, I've been watching Him "being powerful", but now you have me thinking about all the times I wasn't watching Him being powerful, and yet He was doing so anyway...and with no less power than what I'm currently watching in awe. WOW.