Tuesday, August 27, 2013

St. Augustine

The fourth-century church father St. Augustine gives us one flavor of God's power when he tells of the  brutality of God’s call. Augustine says that God attacked him through his senses:

You called and shouted and burst my deafness. You flashed, shone, scattered my blindness. You breathed odors, and I drew in breath and panted for you. I tasted, and hungered and thirsted. You touched me and I burned for your peace.

For another flavor, consider how one 21st-century man describes his call into the ministry. He had been feeling the quiet tug of God for quite some time, but he wasn’t interested. Then, he says, “God started to shout at me.” It seemed that he could hardly get through a day without something in his usual routine suddenly taking on new confrontational meaning — and what had been a gentle “Please respond” became a provocative “Well, what are you going to do about this?” The man says that when he finally yielded, he was blessed with great peace and joy.

We might say that differently. Some might even discuss this in terms of perspective. When we encounter God, we undergo a perspective change, an attitude adjustment. We could’ve said, “Well, I got whupped.” Or one could say, "I've changed and got a new name.”

But God is in the business of perspective change. We encounter God and we’re a different person, with a different name. We might have asked for this, but we got that. We might not have gained what we wanted, but we got what God wanted for us.

We might be sore losers in all of this. No struggle is pleasant. Our pride may be wounded, our bodies may be tired, our minds may be abuzz with new possibilities.

But we are bearers of a new name — “one who strives with God.”