Blog # 460 Why again
You are sitting at your desk in the den. Your dog is lying on the floor nearby. Close your eyes for a moment, The phone rings. Your dog begins to bark. Keep your eyes closed. Reach over on your desk and answer the phone. The person calling asks you to take a message for your wife. Keep your eyes closed.
You find the writing pad easily enough, next to the phone, but where is the pencil? Open your eyes. There it is right in front of you, easily seen, but hard to find if you could not see.
All you experienced while you could not see was definitely real. The shape and color of it was not dependent upon or determined by sight. It was the same color after you opened your eyes as before. But for you there was no color until you opened your eyes.
I see a parallel between the scenario I have just described and an experience of all of us over against the reality that surrounds us each day of our lives wherever we might be. We are real. And there is something beyond us that is also real. We discover the reality outside of ourselves through sight hearing taste touch and smell. It is a wonderful and complicated process, but one that is so common that we tend to take it for granted until something goes wrong and causes interference. We know ourselves in an even more wonderful and complex way. And here again we tend to take it all for granted until something goes wrong.
Though the process of discovery and response to ourselves, and to all that surrounds us is common to all, it is limited as well in all, and therefore can be experienced in degrees. Some have better eyesight than others. Some hear better. Some have more peace of mind. Some have more pain. Some more joy. But for all of us the process of discovery and response is the same.
Now tie this in with the scenario I first presented. Suppose instead of sitting there at your desk with your eyes closed, you were a person born blind. All in the room would be equally real as the colors and shapes. The colors would be real too and therefore capable of being seen, but not by you. A dimension of reality would be missing for you, not in itself, but in your ability to perceive it.
Our experience of faith is something like this. Both for those who believe, and those who do not believe, the world of psychology and the world of physics is the same. But for those who believe, a whole new dimension is discovered and comes into play. The difference our faith experience is designed to make is more dramatic and consequential than the difference between the experience of a sighted person and one born blind when it comes to perceiving and responding to the reality around the two. And just as what we see does not contradict what we hear, yet can relate to it, so what we know by faith does not contradict what we know by reason or sense experience.
When you open your eyes, you see that your fluffy barking dog is brown. The sound of his bark or the fluffiness of his coat does not stop or go away when you perceive the dog by sight. But there is a new dimension to the reality when you open your eyes. When we believe, there is a new
dimension to all that is proclaimed by faith.
This is true because by nature we are capable of discovering only what exists, not why it exists. And this is true because all that exists is created by the will of our all-powerful God. In other words there is a whole dimension to creation that is real yet beyond our natural capacity to discover, and only known by faith. We can discover ever more perfectly and completely what has been created. We can know the motive or reason behind it all if it is revealed to us and we believe. If we want to experience all that is going on within and around us, we should always have two questions in mind, What?, and why?
The more important, though the less popular of the two questions is why?. This is true because it deals with the goal of all creation, the destiny of it, the everlasting part. The question what? deals with only portions of reality, in segments, the part that is passing even as we discover it, the part that has its purpose not in itself, but in the answer to the question why?
Faith is a gift. It is offered to all of us, but must be received individually and personally. The power to believe was won for us by Jesus. That power is personified in the Holy Spirit. If you did not care what color your barking dog might be, you need not open your eyes. If you do not feel the need to know why, why, why, why of all that exists then you do not feel the need of the Holy Spirit.
Jesus, as one of us, living in a particular moment of history more than two thousand years ago did not know the answer to the question what as well as we do. ( electricity, automobiles and airplanes, I-phones, etc., etc.). But the Word of God incarnate in the humanity of Jesus as one person lived the answer why perfectly in His unconditional trust and total love in obedience to the Father's will. The Father introduced Jesus as My Beloved Son at the river Jordan where John was baptizing sinners and said: Listen to him. Jesus said: Follow me.