Ruth and I had a conversation last night about Love. We were talking about how people change – how people can experience the love of God and how we can help that happen. It really reminded me of that verse which says something like Paul planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase.
I think trying to get people to have an encounter with God is like trying to drink sand from a sieve. It’s just one of those things which seems to be ruled by the law of chaos, or the law of nature – uncontrollable. It something which cannot be engineered, suggested or even nudged. The only exception to that, in my experience, is the times when we sit and talk and hearts connect. You know what I mean – that completely unexpected conversation which happened when you were walking through town and you saw one of your friends and you stopped for coffee and everything just seemed right. You talked about everything and nothing, and before long, you noticed there was something unusual. It was like the planets had aligned and something clicked. Maybe it was the combination of a perfect amount of aural noise in that particular Starbucks at that particular time of day. Or maybe it was the way that new trainee barista accidentally burned the beans or the milk, and the scent made it’s way out the door, mixed with the homeless woman’s designer imposter perfume she found in the dumpster and instigated a deep emotional response when it hit your nostrils at the exact moment.
I don’t know.
But there’s something about those times – within the chaos – where things suddenly make sense. Like those digital prints where you’re supposed to stare at it from an angle and squint your eyes and suddenly there’s a picture of a unicorn in a field with stars flying out of its horn – things just suddenly click. And when it happens, it’s such a contrast to the normal noise and chaos that you can’t help but notice. You first realise it mentally, and maybe you’re feeling particularly calm and content (which is also weird), and maybe you say something about and maybe you don’t. But it happens, and you probably haven’t forgotten about it. I’ve had a few of those experiences that I’ve remembered.
But anyway, Ruth and I realised that Love is not something that can be taught or told – it’s something that has to come from Love himself – God. If a person is to love others, they must first gain that thing which they don’t yet have. God is love, therefore, to give love, one must gain God. Who can give God? Who has God?
Who can harness chaos or tame the laws of nature in order to construct that perfect awe moment in which we might have an experience with God and get some love – some of Him?
It’s not always mystical – for me, my most recent awe moment was with a friend out front of a Starbucks. It was the middle of the day, we smoked a few cigarettes and drank a few coffees. There were just as many middle-class people as usual, just as many homeless beggars as usual, just as much noise and just as much light as usual. But for some reason, during that hour, something clicked and we both went very clear-headed – like everything all of a sudden made sense and we could easily wade at will through the world’s information and come up with the exact tidbits we needed. We were like a stolen Google search algorithm operating at 8.47bn search results per nanosecond with 100% accuracy. Like things were no longer down to chance, but if they were, that would have been fine as well.
What is it?