‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’
Jeremiah 33:3 (NIV)
Jeremiah 33:3 is one of the first verses I ever committed to memory when I was a teenager and a fledgling Padawan disciple of Jesus. When I read it this morning as part of this chapter-a-day journey, it was like meeting an old friend on the page. The words are like a well-worn, favorite comfy sweatshirt I slip on when I’m not feeling well and it seems to bring emotional as well as physical warmth.
Last week in my post “Oh! The Places You’ll Go!” I wrote about the ways that a verse can be pulled out of context and take on meaning that wasn’t intended in the original writing. At the same time, I recognize that words themselves are metaphors. They have a life of their own, and sometimes they can be layered with meaning.
When I memorized the words, ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know,’ I didn’t consider it a momentary truth, but a life-long mission. I couldn’t help but correlate it with Jesus’ words:
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.”
So, here I am over forty years later still asking, still seeking, still knocking, still calling out to God in the pursuit of great and unsearchable things that I don’t yet know. And, to quote U2, “I still haven’t found what I’m looking for” as I have discovered the well of great and unsearchable things to be bottomless. That’s why I’m still on this chapter-a-day journey. Every time a trek back through a chapter, I’m at a different waypoint on the road of Life. The chapter meets me in a different place, and since my last time through I’ve added layers of knowledge and life experience. The chapter always has new things to reveal to me and builds on the foundation and layers from my previous visits.
In his book, Imagine Heaven, John Burke speaks with individuals who have physically died, had an afterlife experience, and then returned to their bodies. Some of them describe in their heavenly experience a kind of “knowing” that just sort of happened simply by being there, as if they were constantly being filled with knowledge and understanding. It makes me happy to contemplate what that will be like.
In the quiet this morning, I am reminded that there is no arriving on this earthly journey. I’ll always be a wayfaring stranger just traveling through. I’m constantly meeting individuals who are looking for some kind of arrival in life, a destination on the timeline of this earthly life when everything comes together at a point when you put your feet up, lay down your backpack, and feel some kind of satisfaction that you’ve made it. That fledgling Padawan disciple thought that too, if I remember correctly. The further I got in the journey, the more I’ve come to realize that the journey doesn’t end here. The journey is one from birth straight through until this wayfaring stranger crosses over Jordan. If I look to the horizon and see a point of arrival short of that, it’s just a mirage.
If you know anyone who might be encouraged by today’s post, please share.