So for the past couple of weeks whenever I run to the island here on campus, I’ve had this urge to jump in the lake . It’s been pretty hot out and according to science running makes you even hotter. And it drains you of valuable fluids. And it makes you want to pass out. A quick dunk in the lake is almost necessary.
But people. Oh the people. Every time I make it to this tiny island there’s some couple making each other giggle or some person enjoying the peace and quiet with a good book or some creepy fisherman about 5 feet away from shore (maybe he’s just a normal fisherman, but come on! We only have 5 feet of shoreline). Anyway, I end up persuading myself not to jump in and limp on home.
And that brings us to today. As I dawdled out into the drizzling rain and laced up my sneakers (are sneakers the official shoe for sneaking?) the last thing on my mind was going for a swim. I decided to run out to the island on a whim, and made a lap around the lakeside path. The oddest thought came into my head as I slowed down to enjoy the view – Ben, your life is about to change. Why don’t you walk the rest of the way…
I laughed at myself for how ridiculous of a thought it was. A little dramatic much, right? Admittedly, though, there was this tiny part inside of me that thought my future wife was about to round the corner. But I quickly laughed that off too… Heh…
With the odd taste of that thought in my mind, I made my way around the island to our tiny beach. The rain gently plopped on the placid water. The ripples broke up the dark, gray surface. Clouds hung calm in the air, and everything was quiet. I dipped my fingers and was surprised to feel a slight warmth in the lake.
Without hesitation, I plunged in. And then everything was cool and dark and silent.
Now the earth was formless and empty, darkness was over the surface of the deep…
This brilliant man, Jonathan Edwards, has some hauntingly beautiful thoughts on the Spirit of God moving in this passage. He says this formless emptiness is actually in chaos – it’s confused. It hasn’t been touched by God yet, hasn’t experienced true harmony or beauty, so it’s trapped in empty confusion.
And that’s me. If you read my last post, you know how confused and blind I can be. I’m stuck in the darkness of my confused heart, trapped by the chaos of my I can make it happen mindset. It literally compresses my heart to a breaking point – I’m under the surface of the deep.
…and the Spirit of God was hovering over the waters…
Edwards illustrates this stunning image of the Holy Spirit. “’The Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters’, or of the chaos, to bring it out of its confusion, into harmony and beauty.” (emphasis added) He adds this to complete the picture, “The Deity becomes all act; the divine essence itself flows out and is as it were breathed forth in love and joy…and there proceeds the third person in the Trinity, the Holy Spirit.” The Spirit of God is the essence of all that is good and perfect flowing out of the divine dance into our feeble hearts. The Holy Spirit is love on the move. He sails over the surface of our deep water, and draws us up and out of this chaos.
As I came up for air that thought came back to me. Ben, your life is about to change. So I stood there, knee deep with soft sand covering my toes. And I had a moment. Ha. The gentle rain seemed to wash away the months of pain and confusion. The wind breathed new life into my skin. It all felt like some sort of rebirth – like I was being pulled up and out and into a new world.
As it turns out, I’m still in the same world. But the sweet thing is I now have another story with God. It may have been a silly little moment, but he let me have it. And though it may come small and slow, he still draws me up, he moves over these deep waters, and he breathes harmony and beauty into my chaos.
He’s changing my life.
Quotes from Jonathan Edwards’ Discourse on the Trinity