Flying toward thankfulness, you become the rare bird with one wing made of fear, and one of hope.”
I came across this line in a book titled “Love Poems From God” edited by Daniel Ladinsky, and thought, is this not the way we approach our God — is this not the only way we can approach our God? “…one wing made of fear and one of hope”.
How can we not fear God — the Omnipotent, Omnipresent, and Omniscient One. We cannot begin to grasp the magnitude. We cannot pretend to comprehend the majesty. To paraphrase Augustine, if you believe you can define God, it is not God you are defining. If you believe you can confine God, it is not God you are confining. Any God that we can box, point to and explain, is not God at all. We cannot help but fear incomprehensible enormity.
Yet, as Robert Browning writes (Death In The Desert), “Such ever was love’s way, to rise, it stoops”. The question becomes, “How big is your God?” …is your God big enough to stoop?
Our Christian faith is the one faith that not only says that God loves, but claims that God IS love (1 Jn 4:16), and offers proof… God stooped. God became a man; Creator lived as a creation, not because God needed the experience of humanity, but rather, that we needed to see God experience humanity.
And yet, we are still afraid, and God knows that. The most repeated one-liner in the bible when God breaks into our reality is, “Do not be afraid”. Jesus said it as he walked on the water through the storm towards His disciples in the boat, “Do not be afraid, it is I”.
As the storms of our life weigh us down, if we stop and listen we can hear Jesus say, “Do not be afraid, it is I”, and so our other wing comes made of hope. The tension between fear and hope keeps us balanced in knowing that we do not know, and in that tension we can hear God calling us to relationship. In that relationship, knowing is second to experience. God’s love is the experience, and through that experience, we know all we need to know… we know we are loved, and so we fly toward thankfulness, that our God stoops.