The surprise party
Recently I attended a surprise birthday celebration for a more-experienced young person. I didn’t know most of the people there, because attendees were from every stage of her life, but I saw a remarkable pattern emerge as the microphone was passed around from table to table. Each story, account, and testimony reflected the persistent truth of her character and personality. Sometimes in the account she was the conscience, sometimes the co-conspirator, but always, always the deep-hearted friend of God. Sometimes she was the friend, the mother, the classmate, the co-worker. But she was unequivocally her.
If you didn’t know her when you sat down at the party, you would feel like you knew her when you left. You would know what to expect of a friendship with her. You would know what would make her smile. You would know how she would respond to need and pain and hardship. In seeing the widespread influence of this humble, gentle soul, you would see how big and strong she really is. Likely, you would realize that you feel endeared to her and that being in her presence would bring out the best in you.
What does a birthday party have to do with the Bible?
I realized that this is exactly what the Bible is. It is a chain of scenarios and accounts of who God is in relationship with us, and is, in Himself, a relationship in the relatable identities of Father, Son, and *Advocate. It is a unified testimony of solid, steady, unmoving Love. Daily use of spiritual disciplines (practices, tools) are important because I need to understand and engage in the relationship my ideal Father wants to have with me. It’s my father-in-law sitting with his surgeon, who is telling him the plans he has to remove his cancer. It’s my son eagerly learning Taekwondo discipline from his sa bum nim. It’s me leaning into my husband for strength and comfort. God has something enriching and life-changing to give and he wants to see us experience the joy of seeking it, experiencing it, and sharing it.
When I read my Bible, I am deepening my love and trust relationship with the Logos, the Word, Order, Reason, and Meaning of all existence, and yet, also the One who made himself small and fragile enough to relate to every joy and ache of my heart. He also surrendered himself so completely as to give his own life to ransom and heal all of Earth from Satan, the thief, the Father of Lies, who has stopped at nothing to steal, kill, and destroy every good and beautiful thing we have. I want to know this God. I am endeared by him and being in his Presence brings out the best in me.
*In John 14:26 the Greek Parakletos translates as, “an intercessor, consoler:—advocate, comforter”