If only we knew God better, we should all be alike.
If only I could hear the voice from the whirlwind and, like Job, hold a conversation with God himself! God is not mute: the Word spoke, not out of a whirlwind, but out of the human larynx of a Palestinian Jew.
* * * *
But all do not have the same point of view.
"The vision of Christ that thou dost see
Is my vision's greatest enemy:
Thine has a great hooked nose like to thine,
Mine has a snub nose like to mine . . . .
Both read the Bible day and night,
But thou read'st black where I read white."
* * * *
"There is an apparent capriciousness and arbitrariness about the work of the Spirit of God which laughs at our modern docketing. The Spirit, like the wind, said Jesus, "blows where it likes" (St.John 3.8), and though we can fulfil conditions and, so to speak, set our sails to meet the wind of the Spirit, yet (to change the metaphor) we can never harness or organise the living Spirit of God. We are indeed sure of His gentle purpose, but the details of His plan lie beyond our understanding and it is at once more sensible and more fitting for us to cultivate a sensitivity to the leading of the Spirit, rather than to arrange His work for Him!"
* * * *
"Sometimes those of us who look for Jesus cannot see past our own noses. The Lakota tribe, for example, refers to Jesus as "the buffalo calf of God." The Cuban government distributes a painting of Jesus with a carbine slung over his shoulders. During the wars of religion with France, the English used to shout, "The pope is French but Jesus Christ is English!"
* * * *
"What God works in one place or in one person, He ought, we feel, to work in all places and in all persons. But we are not dealing with, shall we say, an electrical circuit in which the power of electricity can always be relied upon to do the same things under the same conditions. We are not using an impersonal force, and if there is any question of using, it is He who uses us and not we Him. God is of course really moving with what, from His point of view, if I may say so reverently, I can only describe as celestial ingenuity. But to us, who at the most only know the superficial facts of the situation, His actions may at times appear arbitrary or even capricious. I do not think we need to go "all solemn" about this, or to over-emphasise our own ignorance and sinfulness. It is surely far better to accept with good humour the situation as it is ‑ that His thoughts are higher than our thoughts, and His ways higher than our ways (Isaiah 55. 8-9); and to realise that though we are called to this tremendous task of co-operation with Him, and are no longer servants but friends, we still need to be most humble, teachable and flexible as we follow His leading."
* * * *
"I…entreat you to live and act as becomes those who have received the call that you have received ‑ with all lowliness of mind and unselfishness, and with patience, bearing with one another lovingly and earnestly striving to maintain, in the uniting bond of peace, in the unity of the Spirit. There is one body …one Spirit…one and the same hope held out to you … one Lord, one faith, one baptism .. one God and Father of all, who rules over all, acts through all, and dwells in all….Yet to each of us individually grace was given……"
Paul in Ephesians 4. 1-7 (Weymouth)
* * * *
"One of our human weaknesses is to expect our own experience of God to be reproduced in identical terms in the experience of another. Worse than this, we sometimes tend to think that if another's experience is not the same as ours, it must be either spurious or incomplete. Now here we must be very firm with ourselves and use our common sense as well as our charity. People themselves differ greatly in their capacities and gifts, and also in their particular inward needs. One may need to be provoked and challenged by the Spirit of God, another may need relaxation and the release of laughter by the same Spirit. One may need painful lessons to reduce pride and over-confidence; another may need tender love and encouragement by the same Spirit. We all tend to overlook the beam in our own eye to which we are so accustomed, and so magnify the mote which is in our brother's eye. Only God knows the relative size and importance of the assorted beams and motes that exist between us, and much the most sensible thing to do is to leave God to deal with each individual Christian with the infinite variety and delicacy of His own love and wisdom. If we feel we must do something about the spiritual life of another Christian, the most constructive thing we can do is to keep our hands off and our tongues quiet, and to pray."
* * * *
"We don't see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as He knows us!
But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love." (1 Cor.13. 12-13 [The Message])
Passages selected from Philip Yancey ‑ The Jesus I never knew
J.B.Phillips ‑ Making Men Whole