“Behold, I stand at the door and knock: if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me” (Revelation 3:20, KJV).
“Kay,” my former ESL adult education student who holds a Master of Fine Arts degree from her country, was astonished when she discovered in class that the English language includes metaphor, that in English, too, whole new meanings emerge “between the lines” of stories and poems as one looks beyond the obvious. She whose abstract, wall-sized fabric art graces galleries and studios in her homeland was gratified to know that she didn’t need to abandon nuance for the utilitarian-only language of her new country, or so she perceived English at first. She was surprised to learn that the meat and potatoes of simple declarative statements can be flavored with the subtlety of figurative language to suggest other themes.
This prompted me to appreciate again the variety of literature in God’s Word, such as the metaphor in the opening verse from the book of Revelation. It prompted me to appreciate the poetry as well as the plain meaning. And I thought of how the Artist of artists, Poet of poets, Craftsman of craftsmen continually invites His own creation, us, through the seams of the ordinary to take another look…
“For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead […]” (Romans 1:20)
There’s something in us that wonders what’s on the other side of that cerulean sky, that puzzles over the orderly universe of a busy ant colony or a passing flock of birds zig-zagging in unison. There’s something in us that knows that there is more to what we see than meets the eye.
It is our ability to sense the magnificent in the mundane and to compare, abstract, and imagine. We’re wired for it. Delighted and maddened by it. Challenged.
I wonder if God smiled when He set metaphor in motion? When He crafted tangibles that mirror intangibles, sights that suggest signs?
I wonder if God enjoyed an extra minute of satisfaction designing a visible creation that at every turn hints at the invisible when He could have crafted a reality without nuance and left no doubt about His nature and the nature of our response? Instead of only utilitarian sensibility, He gifted us with all of it: awareness and choice and beauty and pain and logic and creativity so that in flowers we also perceive passion, in birdsong on a mute winter’s day, hope. He graced the story of grace with poem and parable in addition to discourse.
God could have employed only mathematicians, map makers, and historians to formulate, chart, and record His plan for man, but He also inspired musicians, poets, and story tellers. In the drama unfolded—and unfolding—a star shines and beckons, oil warms and anoints, a dove descends and hovers above the Beloved.
Threaded in the warp and woof of record is the Holy Spirit inviting us to take a closer look, to lift the mortal veil, as a poet might put it, and peer into eternity.
And God, who even mirrored Himself in a man, His Son, extends a continual invitation to yield to Jesus “through Whom all things were made” so that into the heart’s darkness will come new understanding, new light, new life.
It’s all there in the lines and in between–pulsing with invitation. We’re wired for it.
Take another look at God’s Word today?
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