It is not easy to wrap your hands around a God who is evident in all of creation, who when asked for a name says, “I AM.” It’s not easy to grasp a vision for the world that is a kingdom or an empire bigger than Rome and as small as a mustard seed. (By the way, the word Jesus used for the Kingdom of God is the same word that was used for the Roman Empire – basilea). It is not easy to fully know and understand God’s plans and His purpose for the world and the Kingdom within the world – let alone His specific plans for our own lives. Ah! But, who ever promised that this would be easy.
God is God and we are not and part of the fun – yes, I said “fun” – of walking with God is working to wrap the finite around the infinite, the temporal around the permanent, the finite around the infinite. And, to discover that it is not easy to wrap your hands, or your understanding for that matter, around Him. He is not your best friend. He is not the big man upstairs. He is not a heavenly butler who waits on you and meets all your needs. He is not the answer man for every problem and issue. He is not who you want Him to be justifying your way of life regardless of what it is. He is God! He is GOD! And, He did not come to earth as Jesus to help you feel safe, secure or comfortable.
This Jesus did extraordinary miracles which resulted not in peace and happiness but “shock and awe.” Onlookers are “amazed” at His first healing. They are “overcome with amazement” after the raising of the dead girl, “utterly astonished” at His walking on water, “greatly astonished” at His teaching on wealth. Even worse, the disciples are “frightened” after Jesus’ stilling of the storm and “terrified” at the transfiguration. The woman healed of a blood flow is at first filled with “fear and trembling” and on the first Easter morning the witnesses are seized with “terror and amazement” and they run from the tomb “for they were afraid.” (all from the Gospel of Mark) This is not “Jesus meek and mild” or the good, old plastic religious Jesus.
This Jesus apparently either shocks people into stupification or frightens them so that they run for their lives. Sounds almost like the God of the Old Testament but He roams through the pages of the New Testament – a testament of love and forgiveness. He swirls, a tornado touching down, lifting homes and businesses off their foundations, leaving only bits and pierces of the former life strewn along the path. Maybe because as I write this there are reports on the news of a tremendous afternoon and evening of multiple tornadoes touching down in Massachusetts west of the Boston area … but it strikes me that Jesus is like a tornado ripping through what is and overturning much and often creating tremendous shock and awe and little comfort or security.
Trying to grab hold of and understand God (even when born as a man) is like trying to wrap your arms around an F5 tornado.