Wednesday, July 30, 2014

In the Grip of God

Out of the blue came this perception of being "in the grip of God."  At first I was not sure what kind of image the words created.  The words seem to speak to me of God breaking into the mundane nature of our ordinary circumstances in such a way that ignoring His presence was not possible.  Not only did it speak of the inability of ignoring His presence, but it carried with it a compelling to need to act.  The more I wrestled with what it meant to be "in the grip of God," the more I realized that it was filled with a moment of facing with faith what might well seem to be improbable and impossible.
In my search for Biblical models, I thought of Abraham.  How could a man build an altar and prepare to offer his son if not in the "grip of God?"  And, then there is the story of Jonah.  Surely, the story makes us realize that such a moment confronts us with the choice of obedience or death.  Elijah is still another who knew what it was to be in "the grip of God."  Imagine what it must have been like for him to stand on a mountain and pray into a blue sky for a rain cloud.  Only a man who knew he had no other alternative would dare do such a thing.  In my search for Biblical models, one other came to mind.  Mary, the mother of Jesus, had to be such a person.  In that moment of being visited by an angel with an impossible word, she shows how "in the grip of God" people respond to God's call to embrace the impossible.

To be honest is to confess this word is something about which I am still working.  I have read about the Biblical folks and I have seen some ordinary folks jump and do what they never thought they would and which for them seemed to have no rational reason except the reason of obedience.  It was more like a moment when there was no choice but to act.  Perhaps, it is a more common place experience than it seemed in the beginning.  When God takes hold of us, it may be frightening, but turning back may be so much more frightening that only going forward is an option.

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