As a child making a trip "up north" to our family cottage was always one of my most fond memories. The road trip seemed to end in my mind at West Branch when we passed The Smiley Face! It was (and still is) a water tower, painted yellow, with a giant smiley face looking towards I75. As a passenger, once I saw that image from the car, I felt as if we were finally "up north". Yet it was almost something more magical for me than reality, and it wasn't until my adult years that it changed. One time I took my own children off the exit to go find it, see it, and even touch it! We were able to pull right up to it (in an industrial parkway) and place our hands against the giant water tower. My children thought it was quite fascinating, but I think it meant more to me looking back. Over 30 years, this was something that was not quite real to me; oh it was there, but not until I touched it myself as an adult did the mystery finally vanish, and the reality of it truly sunk in.
I think I do that with God all too often; I put Him off at a distance. I see Him as real, but all too often don't take the extra few minutes to walk up to Him and hold His hand. I tend to let life get in the way to the point where my daily routine is more real than I make Him.
There is a particular passage in Isaiah (chapter 44) that describes the folly of idol worship. The concept, rather specific to carved images, paints a picture of someone taking a piece of wood, chopping it up, cooking his food over half of it in the fire, and carving an idol out of the rest; in which he falls down to worship. The picture it paints is almost humorous to me with respect to the lack of logic it illustrates, yet it ends with a question that I can ask myself today.
"They know not, nor do they discern, for he has shut their eyes, so that they cannot see, and their hearts, so that they cannot understand. No one considers, nor is there knowledge or discernment to say, “Half of it I burned in the fire; I also baked bread on its coals; I roasted meat and have eaten. And shall I make the rest of it an abomination? Shall I fall down before a block of wood?” He feeds on ashes; a deluded heart has led him astray, and he cannot deliver himself or say, “Is there not a lie in my right hand?” (Isaiah 44:18-20 ESV)What lie to I hold in my hand as reality?
I may not sit down and carve an image out by the campfire, but I have carved images in my heart. Struggles that few know, stresses that burden me unnecessarily, and problems that I make more real than the solutions provided by Jesus Christ. My situations won't magically go away, they are real too. Yet just as real is the One who continues to rescue me and guide me, even when my stubborn heart gets in the way.
Making Him Reality,