Why does God do what he does? The question and its answer tells us everything we need to know about God, and what we should already know about ourselves.
That’s the conclusion I came to this week, anyway, following another wonderful Friday morning chat with my dear friend John Sorensen. That question was not my actual question. I asked John why God went to such great lengths to set me up for a series of five different analogies in my life that lined up in perfect order with five analogies used by the author of a book on prayer.
One coincidental analogy can be explained as the definition of coincidence, and consequently unworthy of notice. Two are worthy of notice, but not consequential. Three can be called consequential and therefore of some certain importance. Four can be catalogued as certainly important and so deserving of further analysis.
Five coincidental, noticeable, consequential and analytical analogies used in life that, in the same timely order, are delivered in the reading of a book must top the charts of importance and attention. My cursory analysis came up with three options. This remarkable set of happenstance items points to a set of weird imagery parallels, a logical unremembered mental plagiarism turned into life events, or some exceptional divine purpose.
Imagery parallels describes a hand wave dismissal of that which cannot be explained, but must be described. Unfortunately, for believers, such relativistic gobblygook cannot be applied to such an incredible array of co-incidences. We believers do not believe in coincidence as a random conjunction of stuff. We believe in co-incidence as a masterful interplay of the divine and the created which takes place due to the ultimate reality of God as Trinity.
Unremembered plagiarism, though, can clearly be a logical explanation for what took place. John Eldridge’s latest book, Moving Mountains, outlines in the first seven chapters a series of analogies that are not uniquely bizarre. Rather, they are common descriptions of things that happen in real life that he uses to make a point. I did not start reading the book until just a week ago, but I have been meeting almost every week over this time. All of my uses of these analogies took place in discussions with John Sorensen. He has already finished the book, probably over a year ago.
The five analogies that I have discussed with John over the past six months, though, were all analogies that I brought up. I used them in our conversation to help us with getting our points across. John did not make the connection of my analogies to the book. I asked him. He didn’t remember the analogies.
I’m not going to identify the five analogies. They are unexceptional. One, for instance, describes using a five foot long crow bar to break up ice on a driveway. The specific detail could be considered odd, though. It’s not a common breakfast conversation tool to describe patience.
Since I don’t believe in random coincidence, and I’m certain that plagiarism does not qualify, my fall back conclusion is that God purposely kept the reading of Moving Mountains (John Eldridge’s recent book on prayer) on the back burner of my life until recently in order to stun and startle me. I have had this book on a reading list for a year. I didn’t get it until just a few weeks ago.
Each of these analogies is odd. Each were identical. Each were a specific part of my life’s experiences and also a specific tool used by Eldridge. Each of the analogies is cleverly applied by Eldridge, but of no new information to me in an inspirational sense.
So, I asked John Sorensen, “Why did God do this?” What reason would God arrange for me to delay my reading of this book until after I had personally used five very similar analogies in the same order as Eldridge’s first seven chapters, culminating in an analogy I used just last week (the crow bar on ice).
These analogies are not just identical to things that I have experienced, but they are also things I used as analogies in my conversations with John Sorensen. That sentence deserves an exclamation point, but I’m trying not be be sensational.
“Why did God do this?” I asked my friend today.
John did not hesitate. He smiled at me and told me that the same question had come up recently from another friend. He felt the prompt of the Holy Spirit then to say, “God loves you.” John explained that sometimes God does things like this to make that point. He added that there might be more going on, but at the root of such fabulous and unquestionable co-incidences, God wants to make clear that he loves you.
That’s why I think our questions about, “What is God up to?” tells us that we deeply want to know God’s intentions. That explains us. Our curiosity centers on a desire to know God, and everything else about us fans out from there. We struggle with the unknown as we begin to grasp bits and pieces of God. God is not unknown, but will never be fully known.
The biggest bit and piece we have about God – God is all about love. That’s primarily, and substantially, at the center of who God is. God loves us exactly how we’d like to be loved … and then a whole lot more. God loves to a measure that cannot be restrained by catalogues and explanation.
Nonetheless, we know that God’s love, even though unrestrained, is wholly knowable.
That said, then, what in the dickens is he up to next!!!!!
(exclamation points have now been gathered up and placed into one very excited sentence.)