We were in our best dresses. And we were in our best moment . We were at a wedding. It was so magical at the wedding that we thought it might be imaginary. But, it was very real. It was on a Saturday in June. It was in the year 2013. It was at a time , a set time. And it was at a moment in time between the wedding and the reception that we played in the garden where there were swings. We chose two swings and together , each in our own sling, we began to draw our legs back and forth. As we pulled our legs vigorously against the air, we talked of long flowing dresses, peach colored flowers , musty books and lacey napkins. . . Then , we talked about Daddy.
“When I go into that house” she said as she swung upward kicking her feet towards the steepled church “He feels so far away”
I thought of a very big word that I knew:”Transcendent” as I watched her swing glide high towards the tree.
“when I go over there into that other house ,” she pointed her toes to a guest house ,flat and simple, next to the steepled building, “He feels so near”
I thought of a very big word that I knew “Immanent” as I watched her dip towards the dirt beneath us.
“I wonder if He is in both houses ” I shouted to her.”like up there and down here”
” Maybe, but I like Him better down here ” she said and she stopped her legs suddenly.”cause this is where I feel close to Him”
“But,I like Him better up here” I teased “Cause I can see how big He is”
Suddenly , we saw girls in chartreuse dresses begin to linger over a banquet table that was center-pieced with a wedding cake. We jumped from our swings. Somehow it didn’t matter anymore which of us was right. There was a banquet to go to and we were both dressed and hungry. Pulling each other up from the dirt, we laughed and looked back at the swings.
There, we saw a boy at the swing set where we had been. We saw that he had grabbed our swings to halt the motion. Suddenly, our vision was united.
We didn’t need big words anymore to describe it all. God is ever so near and yet ever so vast. He consumes all things and yet makes habitat with man. Only swinging from heaven to earth do we see Him fully. On one hand is His Immanence on the other , HisTranscendence. Where they meet . . .
In a man, Jesus.
“For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit'” Isaiah 57:15
“I can’t tell you what it looks like ” the girl replied. “I just know that we are supposed to have nothing to do with it.” (1) she explained.
“Well, how am I ever gonna know how to ‘have nothing to do with it’ when I don’t know what it looks like?” he insisted with a tone of frustration.
“I don’t know. . . .” she sighed as she kicked the sand. “My pastor said it looks like a rabbit cornered by a rattlesnake. . . that’s what it looks like.” she tried to explain.
The boy was not satisfied “How is a bunny gonna escape being cornered by a rattlesnake?”
The girl stood up “I tell you boy, it takes a miracle!! I guess I need to tell you the whole story or you will never have a clue. . . . .
Here it goes. .Phobia N. Phobia was a bunny. He came from a long line of Phobias. This story will be too long if I name them all. Just a few I will mention that you know . . Acrophobia and Claustrophobia. He had friends outside his family also . These friends were mainly from the Freedom family. (2) They would gather in large open field and play. They taught Phobia a lot and he liked to play with them but he never stayed with them long. Sometimes he worried what other people thought when he was with them (3).His best friend was from the Freedom family. His name was Joshua. Joshua would often dress in silly clothes (4)and scare all the foxes and coyotes away in the field.
One day there was a rumor among the bunnies that a great pack of foxes and coyotes were coming in the field. All of Phobia’s family hid in their different houses. The house of Addiction invited everyone to party until the pack crossed the field . Phobia didn’t want to go there. Instead, Phobia wanted to take Joshua into the House of Distraction where they could pass time. But, Joshua said he was staying in the field with his cousins Strong and Courageous.( 5).
Phobia was frustrated and did not know where to go. He looked to the right and to the left and he saw woods on both sides. They were the “what if woods”. They have always been to the right and left of the field. A sign pointing to the woods said simply “what if the. . .”. Phobia’s mind wandered thinking of all the things possible if the coyotes and foxes suddenly came. He could no longer rest so he ran into the woods (6). He left his family and all his friends from the Freedom family to go into the woods. He took nothing with him.
Now Ramai Rasha was a very mature snake (7). His every sense had been trained to kill bunnies. He was slithering deep in the woods looking for a creature to devour (8). Suddenly, he picked up on a certain aroma. Though Phobia was just entering the woods, Ramai could smell unbelief.(9) It’s a bitter odor, but for Ramai Rasha it was an appetizing odor. Once Phobia was in the woods and could no longer see home, his family and his fellowship with the Freedom friends, he felt only himself, “Phobia Phobia”. He began to sweat and the aroma became strong off his fur.
The paths in the woods became very confusing to Phobia. There were signs but they did not seem helpful at all: “What if you die. . .” “what if you are found foolish” what if you go hungry” “what if you never can go home ” “what if you lose your mind” “what if you lose your tail” “what if. .” road signs were everywhere. They turned Phobia in so many circles that he found himself at a dead end”(10)
“And who do you think is there waiting?’ asked the girl
“No” the boy said “Ramai Rasha?!”
“Yep” the girl said sitting down to dig her feet back into the sand as if her toes were in search of a treasure.
His victim came right to him . He hardly had to slither an inch. He arched the neck of his body to strike. But, as is custom for the Rasha family, he paused to ritually pronounce words over Phobia reminding him how lost and deep in the woods he had come. (11) Phobia could have run but he stared without a blink and heard every word. So Rasha uncoiled to move in closer and then repeated aloud every wrong turn Phobia took and reminded him how alone he now was. Eventually, all the muscles and nerves in Phobia wearied and motionlessness became tremulous. When Phobia began to feel his body shake, he knew that Rasha would strike.
“Is Phobia going to die?” the boy asked desperately
“Yep, But not like you think. That is usually what happens but it was different for Phobia. “
As Phobia felt his hind legs give way under him, he remembered a name of an invisible Bunny that everyone in the Freedom family talked to in the field. He tried to just think the name silently for dread of moving his lips before Rasha. But, suddenly the name escaped his mouth. He cried “Perfect Love”! (12)Suddenly, a large foot, a very large foot entered the scene and it descended on the head of Rasha. (13)
Phobia rose to his feet and ran with the greatest speed he had ever known. He ran back to the field. There he told Joshua everything. Joshua was so very excited. He said to Phobia. “You just aren’t the same looking bunny”(14). I am going to give you a new name. And on that day, Joshua renamed Phobia “Pistis” which in the Greek means Faith.
“So,” the girl brushed her hands and pulled her feet from out of the sand “that’s what the preacher said Fear looks like” “and faith. . .” she continued “it’s the opposite . It is what happens when everything is under the foot of Perfect Love, Jesus.”
“wow” the boy said “i just ain’t ever going into those woods”
“Well , if you find yourself there. . ” the girl said looking down at her sandy foot “don’t call me, call Jesus, He’s got a bigger foot!!!”
2 Timothy 1:7 FOR GOD HAS NOT GIVEN US A SPIRIT OF FEAR; BUT ONE OF POWER AND OF LOVE AND OF A SOUND MIND.
John 14:1 Let not your heart be troubled
John 8:36 So if the son sets you free you will be free indeed . “PHOBIA” Greek word for fear
John 12:43 for they loved the glory that comes from man more than the glory that comes from God
Ephesians 6 (the armor of God)
Joshua (chap 1-3) 1:6 be strong and courageous for you shall cause this people to inherit the land
Isaiah 30:16 and you said “no, we will flee upon horses;” . Therefore you shall flee away . . .
Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field that the Lord has made. Hebrew word for deceiver=Ramai & for wicked one =Rasha
1 Peter 5:8 Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion seeking someone to devour
Hebrew 3:19 so we see that they were unable to enter rest because of unbelief
Romans 8:6 the mind that is set on the flesh is death
Rev. 12:10 . . .the accuser of our brethren
1 John 4:18 There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear. .
Genesis 3:15. … He shall bruise your head & 1 John 3:8 . . the reason the Son of God appeared was to destroy the works of the devil.