An Alarming Route to Christ
A question worth asking is how people come to God. Once they know him, even a little, the problem is simplified. You may feel far away from Christ, but at least you're armed with prior experience. As George MacDonald writes, in his archaic English:
Remember the things thou hast seen. Truly thou knowest not those things, but thou knowest what they have seemed, what they have meant to thee! Remember also the things thou shalt yet see.As long as reflections of God remain within our thoughts, within our memories, the path toward him will not grow too faint. But suppose it has. Suppose the path has faded; or suppose it has yet to be blazed. What then? What impulse is there to push us on toward God—a god whom we do not see, and do not seem to remember?
Prayer may seem foreign. Piety may appear a relic. But there is still an upward avenue left to us. It hinges on the fact that there’s a subject on which we may speak with authority—ourselves. When God seems a pathless destination, we should remind ourselves of who we are; or, perhaps more aptly, of who we are not. Something like this:
There was once a person whom I wished I was, and thought I was becoming. I could see him in my mind’s eye; on rare days, I could even see myself moving closer, shade by shade, to that young hero. :: This morning, I still remember him, but only as the man I’m not—and wish I were. This I can’t deny: whatever I’ve become, it’s something else; something duller; something less.
Sharp jolts of self-reality can have a brightening effect on the spiritual landscape. I look in the mirror, and God’s absence stares me in the face. Suddenly, I feel the desperate impulse gathering in me to search for him again: I'm not who Christ made me to be.
I may have obscured God’s face, but I can see the reflection of his “withdrawal” in my own. My soul is becoming a self-caricature, and it frightens me enough to get me on my feet.
With the adrenalin of alarm pricking me, I jump toward God—and discover he is waiting.