So, I want to talk tonight about God's ability to make the secular holy. I got a magazine recently that I think kind of blurs the lines between the two and it got me thinking. Over and over in my life God has used secular songs and books to speak to me.
My wife and I went to Houston to visit friends about two years ago. On our first night there my friend and I decided to go to breakfast. We had stayed up talking and it had gotten really late so we decided to finish it at Denny's (I think). We got there at about 2a.m. so we pretty well had the place to ourselves. I don't remember most of the conversation, but one exchange stands out. I had just re-read the Chronicles of Narnia and he had never read them so I was telling him about one of my favorite parts in The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. Its a conversation between the beavers and Peter, Susan, and Lucy. The beaver tells the children that Aslan is a lion and Lucy wonders if he's safe. The answer to that question is one of my favorite descriptions of God. The beaver replies, "'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you." I love that. Anyway, I had just repeated that line to my friend when he asked me to look down at my arm, I had chill bumps. He did too. What he said next I wish I could remember verbatim, but I can't. I just know he said that was all the proof he needed of the existence of the Holy Spirit. He said our flesh could never respond to truth like that. I had never noticed before, but I have since. Anyway , that's why I think we can see God in the secular. When we come across something God can use to teach us, no matter where it is, the Holy Spirit in us speaks up. That's it.
So, now that that's out of the way I'd like to tell you about my favorite example of it in my life. I read The Catcher in The Rye my senior year in high school, and to this day its one of my favorite books. In the book the narrator tells about a dream he has, in that dream kids are playing tag in a huge rye field. The problem with the field is its on the edge of a cliff. Every now and then one of the kids accidentally runs out of the rye and over the cliff. The guy in the book thinks the perfect job for him would be to be the guy that stands in the field on the edge of the cliff and catches the children before they fall off. He wants to be the catcher in the rye. When I first read it I thought it was a great picture of who God is and what he does. Its, of course, overly simplistic but it was useful to me. That was the image of God I carried for years. I could run and play without fear, I knew God would keep me from harm. The problem arose when I did get hurt. Had God missed? It sure felt like I was falling. See, the problem with that picture is that God is small and the danger large.
That image had become such a big part of the way I related to God that it took a long time to rework it. When I (or the Holy Spirit in me) did my entire perspective changed. God is not on the cliff. He's standing at the bottom, and he is huge. In my mind the cliff comes up to about his shoulders. It seems like a small thing, but the implications (to me) are far reaching. Now God is bigger than the danger. More importantly, the fall is now as safe as the game. Not where I intended to be, but safe. God still has plenty of time to catch me. In this knowledge the fall itself is exhilarating. Not exactly fun, a little unsettling, but exciting all the same. I am never out of God's reach. Never lost. Never without hope.