Training / by KR

I was watching a film the other day that has been picked apart and analyzed through a thousand lenses, one that my brother was intimately involved in its sequels – “the Matrix.” Or as the say in Spanish, “El Matrix.” (My second time to see it was in the Domincan Republic) God is a big picture user kind of God. He is always engaging us with these intricate word pictures, images that reflect the deeper reality. Lately, the Matrix has been the vehicle that helps me understand it all.

I gotta tell you something that I have experienced regularly, weekly, daily in this life that I get to live. Every day is training day. The day Neo wakes up after a bad night’s sleep in the Real World, he starts training. He goes for over 10 hours of Tank feeding him program, after program. (And this the famous “I know Kung Fu,” moment where Keanu shows his Ted Logan-ish side.) But I gotta say, my life feels very much like that day. So much new information, and not just information, but new ways of moving and breathing, and operating; new ways of living; new ways of relating; new ways of engaging the lies that come my way, and the ones that bring them; new ways of thinking about who I am, who you are, and our place in the Story.
When I see friends that I haven’t seen in months or weeks, or years, there is always that question: How are you doing? What’s been going on? What are you learning?

It overwhelms me! Not because they ask, but because I feel like saying, “Are you kidding me? How long do you have? How about I tell you just about one day, or maybe one week, because anymore and it could take a long, long time to get through it all.” Training. I know Kung Fu. I feel like God does more, speaks more, re-writes more in me in the span of a week than a hummingbird flaps its wings in a minute, (which is somewhere around 2,300 per minute).

The constant underneath it all is the new-ness. I can’t tell you how many times in the past few months that I have had God say to me in a thousand ways, “I’m doing something new.” If you look all through his letter to us, he is saying it over and over and over again. Isaiah 43: “Don’t remember these earlier events…Look, I am about to do something new.” Jeremiah: “What I am about to do is something new.” “You are a new creation.” And on, and on, and on. What is interesting about the new is that in order to receive it you have to let go of the old. Or as Ransom learns in Lewis’ “Perelandra,” I could make despised the fruit God gives me by holding onto the fruit I had expected.” Fascinating point to that whole book is summarized in The Green Lady’s words at the end:

“God never repeated himself…the same wave never came twice…Why should I desire the fixed except to make sure – to be able on one day to command where I should be the next and what should happen to me? It was to reject the wave – to draw my hand out of God’s, to say to him ‘Not thus, but thus’ – to put in our own power what times should roll toward us…as if you gathered fruits together today for tomorrow’s eating instead of taking what came. That would have been cold love & feeble trust.”

If anything in the everything that he makes me, he keeps taking me into the next wave, the new thing he is doing. And isn’t core to the definition of how we know if something is alive and not dead, if it is becoming more, and not less? Christians love to talk about dying, and the cross. Very few, though, know what resurrection IS, what living is like. Heck, for nearly four hundred years the early Christians didn’t focus on the cross – they knew what crucifixion was like b/c they were getting it all the time – no, for them, it was resurrection that caught them up. Everyone had died, but Jesus was the first one to come back from being crucified. No one had ever done that before. And God said, “I am doing something new…you are a new creation, the old is gone the new has come…”

Neo was a far cry from the timid, frail person that sleepily started his training day. In fact, near the end of one day, he was doing things no one had ever seen before. My experience is that God made me with his unique idea of how I am to reflect his heart, and I wake up wearily, often w/o sleep, and he takes me into the training, the re-shaping of what I thought was true into what is objectively true so that at the end of the day, I am miles away from who I was at sunrise…doing things I had never seen him do before.

No wonder Nelson Mandela said: “Or deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us…You are a child of God. Your playing small doesn’t serve the world.”

And God said, “I am doing something new…you are a new creation, the old is gone the new has come…”