In my wife’s family, there is a tradition of having a jigsaw puzzle going during the holidays—one of those huge ones—so that if someone wants to get out from the midst of things, they can sit and work on it. There are few things in ordinary life that feel as satisfying as everything fitting together and falling into place.
Oh, if life were like a jigsaw puzzle where everything fits together neatly. Then again, maybe it is; it just happens to be one where you have lost the box, can’t remember what it is supposed to look like, some of the pieces are missing, the cat/dog chewed on a few, and you are pretty sure 90% of the pieces are just different shades of gray.
Believe it or not, life does work like a jigsaw puzzle on its most basic biological level. Here I speak of how molecules interact. Even your DNA, where an A amino acid will only lock with a corresponding T and a C only with a G. Molecular biology tells us that if you don’t want two things to interact, or if you want to encourage two things to do so, you have to change the shape of the interface site.
For those of you who didn’t hang out with pharmacy students during college, think about it like a key and lock. For a key to open a lock, the teeth have to interact in a certain way with the tumblers in the lock. The wrong shaped key won’t open the lock and might not even fit in the hole.
Yes, I have a point.
In both the case of the key and the molecule, the point of interaction might be small, but it carries with it a much larger body, all of which is necessary for action to be accomplished.
Now let us think about God. God is big. Far bigger that we can comprehend. Far more that we can comprehend. That is what I was talking about last week with God as the Other.
We, however, are smaller. Perhaps in some ways just as complex and mysterious, but not the same.
God wants to interface with us. We at least say we want that as well.
Often, however, the interface is imperfect. The place where God is meant to lock into us is misshapen, maybe it’s mutated or has some foreign bits locked into it. In the body, this is where genetic diseases occur; things have worked well enough to make a person but not well enough for that person to be healthy.
In our interaction with God, we have the power to alter that site of interface. Our imagination and knowledge change how God interacts with us. Not because of some limit on his power, but because we have allowed him access only in certain ways.
This is why I encourage people to spend time thinking about God in new ways, to learn as much as they can about the Bible and Christianity. It doesn’t matter if there seems to be an immediate application; the knowledge of God is transformative on its own. If we imagine a small God, a weak God, a God who is distant, then we have only allowed God to interface with us like that. If we remove ignorance and preconceptions from our lives, then God is freer to enter our lives in bigger and grander ways.
How have you prepared yourself to interface with God? What gets in the way? What are you willing to do to change that? Perhaps it is time to get out from the midst of things and puzzle it out.