It’s a pretty day again outside, though still on the cold side. Yet I’m thinking of taking a short walk before church anyhow, and musing on the Psalm I read this morning; 77, I think it was. As I read how the psalmist’s voice rose to God in the day of his trouble, and how his soul refused to be comforted, I was struck afresh with how profound it truly is, that even the writers of the Holy Word of God, moved as they were by the Holy Spirit to sing and to pen their words, did not always have their feet set in the concrete of doctrine. They moved, they kicked and screamed (it seems), they fought to understand why God is the way He is, and sometimes they mistook Him.
But the important thing is the Search. I began a new book last night by an author whom I’ve read before, and whom I respect quite a lot: Walker Percy. He was a Southern writer of a deeply philosophical and spiritual persuasion–not in the Flannery O’Connor vein of spirituality, rather, I would say, more profound and less mystical. I began his first novel, “The Moviegoer,” in which the main character early on observes the random times in which he felt “the search.” One day he woke up, dressed for work, and began to grab all his usual traveling companions–wallet, watch, pens, etc.–but was struck with a new strangeness as if all these things were not his own. He adopts the methods of a detective, peering at all these objects as if they were clues to a greater, deeper meaning.
Of course, the narrator in the story realises that he may be searching for God, but refuses to say for certain–he says, because everyone else has already answered that question for themselves, and he’s afraid of showing his own ignorance in the matter. He remarks (fictitiously, but the point is sound) that they have taken surveys in which 98% of Americans claim that they believe in God, and the remaining 2% are agnostics or atheists–thus leaving not even 1% of us engaging in the search! Rather good point, if you ask me. What is wrong with the search?
What is wrong with the search, when even the psalmists of the Bible itself were searching for this God of promises? Sometimes even for us, it will require a search to discover Him beneath the trappings of a wounding friend, a natural devastation, an ordinary flower or a candle burning low. Sometimes we must have a hard look to discern Him within the wrath and the grace and the peace and the trouble in which He is often wrapped. “To have found Him and still be looking for Him is the soul’s paradox of love.”
But the enemy of the search may just be the ordinary everyday. So what will you do with that?