I’m going to have to set the stage for this one: I was running late in the evening (as is my wont) and my jaunt took me to the historical district of Wake Forest down N. Main St. It wasn’t quite 10:00 PM but there were a few clouds out. Needless to say, it was quite dark where street lights were not installed. This was even more true where the trees had matured, growing over the sidewalks and blotting out any light. While my eyes could and would grow adjusted to the darkness, every so often a gap in the tree line would allow for a small amount of light to break through and re-disorient my eyesight. This wasn’t my first trip around the block (literally or otherwise), however, and I made sure to lift my feet just a bit higher to make sure that I didn’t fall prey to some mischievous and uneven crack in the sidewalk. What I had not prepared for was what lay ahead.
Just like cloud watching, shadows often resemble identifiable objects; I have dodged many ethereal people in my nighttime runs. This shadow, however, did not a person but rather a dog. As I approached the dog it disappeared, just as most of the other figures I encounter–but not without a bit of foreshadowing. A few steps later there was a medium to large white dog standing in the middle of the sidewalk. I say it was medium to large, but honestly I jumped off the sidewalk, out of the way and ran past it so quickly that I didn’t really get a good look at it. As I passed I did see the owner out of the corner of my eye and let out a surprised and anxious chuckle as I realized what I had just done.
Then my mind started to think: Why did I startle? The dog wasn’t that big and I wasn’t scared of it–if it came down to it, I’m fairly certain I’d have won that fight (big black dog–little white dog, Mike). On top of all of that, I know that Jesus holds all of the world (including my fate) in his hands. Like many people, I encountered a situation that didn’t mesh with my worldview. So I had a couple of options.:
1. I could rewrite what I believed about the world and thus reinterpreting what the Bible has said based on my experiences. By that I mean I could read my experiences and thoughts into the Bible so that it said what I wanted it to say.
2. I could review what I believe the Bible says and then view the previous events based off that. In this case, it is likely that it wasn’t that this experience clashed with my worldview, but that my worldview was incomplete in this point and I needed to fill in some gaps.
I’m afraid that too many times in life we try to rewrite the Bible based on how we feel or what we experience rather than viewing our lives through the lens of God’s timeless truths. The first will leave us in a state of despair hopping from one ideological position to another, lost in a state of relativity. The second gives us hope that no matter what we experience here on earth, God sits on his throne and has a plan to redeem all of creation for his glory.