I used to indulge in the simplicities of childhood. When a friend once asked how old I feel inside I readily replied 6 or 7. Stressed out? Bust out of the coloring books and crayons. Frustrated? Mash up some play-doh. Bored? Blow some bubbles. Fly a kite. Sing a song. That is actually how my favorite word became 'believe'. I wanted to believe in everything. Now, I don't mean everything. I mean believing in Santa Claus, Fairies, and that stuffed animals and doll babies become real if you love them. Believe that animals can talk at midnight on Christmas Eve. Believe in magic, in possibilities, in dreams. By embracing the impossible, the world comes alive with color and wonder. That's why children see endless possibilities, and adults can't get anything done. They have a belief system that allows them to believe in the fantastical. That's why I love the word 'believe'. It speaks to all of that. The wonder of it all.
But the impossible that I believe in, truly believe in, is the biggest impossibility of all. And it is the only one that can give me a sustainable source of passion and joy. This is the impossibility of a God revoking His God-given rights. The Creator. The Omniscient-Omnipotent-Omnipresent becoming flesh, becoming contained in a body with aches, pains, and limitations. It's impossible to suggest. It seems fantastical, but that's what I believe.
And even more impossible is the wonder of the Cross. What kind of God allows Himself to be taken prisoner, questioned, beaten, flogged, spat upon, mocked, stripped naked, and nailed to beams of wood for all to see His shame? There is no God in all of mythology that would do such a thing...but this is what I believe.
Perhaps it is the love of God that is the most wonder-ful. I can't quite wrap my mind around such love, but when I get close I feel over-whelmed by it. It seems unreal--a love so passionate, so determined, so good as to move heaven and earth to be with me for now and always and forever. As far as I know there is no other religion or belief system that claims such a wondrous thing. A God that loves His creation, His people so much that He came up with a way to remove their sin. Not with thunder and lightening, not with endless tasks and works, but with self-sacrifice. He gave Himself so that I might live and know His love. Impossible.
This is the word the White Witch murmurs upon Aslan's appearance after His Resurrection. Impossible. But I believe it. More assuredly than I believe in Santa and Fairies and all that other stuff. Those things are silly and fun, keeping me grounded in youthfulness, in the joy of childhood, in the simplicity of childhood. But what I believe in Jesus Christ keeps me grounded in eternity, and should keep me rooted and established in love--in joy.
And it's this joy that I'm missing. I've lost the wonder of the Cross. The extraordinary has become ordinary. The impossible has become commonplace. The unfathomable has become familiar. And with that all the passion has fizzled out, like throwing water on a flame.
I'm called to live life abundantly--that's why He came. Eternity doesn't begin in the grave, it begins with grace. And to live any other way is to squander what I've been given. To walk around with a somber face and melancholy is to extinguish the flame of wonder. Sometimes a misguided sense of religion and righteousness makes me want to be serious and all-knowing about my Savior, but this isn't right. The resurrection shouldn't produce a serious, well-measured amount of thanksgiving but uncontainable joy in celebrating the impossible becoming possible.
My favorite scene in the book The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe is just after Aslan has come back from death and the Stone Table has been cracked. Lucy and Susan are in awe, speechless, overjoyed. And after Aslan briefly explains how it is possible (deeper magic from before the dawn of time) there is wild celebration. He is just as exuberant as Susan and Lucy. But they don't just watch Him revel in what He's done, they join with Him in the celebration. Aslan plays with the girls, chasing them, throwing them up in the air, as a father might with his daughters.
It was such a romp as no one has ever had except in Narnia; and whether it was more like playing with a thunderstorm or playing with a kitten Lucy could never make up her mind.He romps, he plays, he rejoices in being alive....and he invites Susan and Lucy to join with him. And I am extended the same invitation from our Aslan. I can play and rejoice, dance and celebrate with Jesus. I am invited to believe in the impossible and when I truly believe I have no choice but to celebrate. My world comes alive with color and wonder.
Now, I know that not every day can be a wild dance--life can be immensely hard some days. But I have to think that maybe it should be. What I mean is perhaps that's what we were designed for. Because of our fallen state and our fallen world things will get in the way, suffering happens, stress happens and gets in the way of the exuberant celebration. But we were made for celebrating, for rejoicing, for dancing. And I think if I can keep that in the middle of my beliefs I can find a way to live life with enthusiasm. Even in the hard days there is still a moment to embrace the impossible. Maybe the hard days are the ones when I need to impossible the most. After all, Susan and Lucy had just lost all hope...Peter, John, and Mary had lost all hope...but then in an impossible, wondrous, fantastical moment the impossible was broken and made possible.
I think this is the beginning of that appetite for living--taking of the Bread of Life. From the Cross comes all color and wonder to bring my world alive. And from God--the creator of all things good, including passion and abundant life--can come the wellspring of enthusiasm for living life as I was created to. I was made for the wild dance, I was made to live my life in color, I was made to live life exhaustingly.