Introduction: The Edge

I believe all of us on this earth, who are honest with ourselves, would admit that we go through certain seasons in the midst of our lives. Some of those seasons are filled with joy and happiness and prosperity. Some are not. Some of those seasons are filled with depression, hopelessness, confusion, and weariness. During these seasons we can feel like we have been beat down. The weight of life and its responsibilities seems to be crushing us. We become exhausted with the very thought of getting out of bed and living the day. The things that we thought we understood about life no longer make sense and we seem to be growing more and more confused. We question the meaning and purpose of life itself. I have been through these seasons myself. I believe that when we are in the midst of these seasons, it helps to reflect upon the things that we know for sure to be true. It helps me to focus and dwell and ponder upon the things that I know for certain are true and that I can build my life upon. The things I have no doubt about. The truths that I hold so dearly to that I would die for. Undoubtedly, many of these truths I learned the hard way and they all should have some root in the scriptures. For the purpose of an introduction to this blog, and a suitable title for it, I am going to call these specific, unchanging, and unquestioned truths to be the “edges”. I am calling them the “edges” because during our journey on this earth, and most certainly during those seasons of despair and confusion that cause us to question the very meaning of life itself, I believe it is helpful to think of the Christian life like a puzzle. When one begins a puzzle, he does not just start putting pieces together. That would not be the most efficient way. The smart person starts with what he knows to be true. He starts with the edges. He may not know for certain where each piece of the edge goes. But he knows one thing for sure. They will be on the edge. That truth is unquestioned. He can now separate those pieces and he will have a starting point. He has a point of reference. He now has something to build upon. And that is what we all must do when we are in the midst of the storm. We must go back to those truths that He has taught us and that we know cannot be shaken by any storm. They are objective and they are unchanging. They are non-negotiable. They are the rock solid foundation even when the structure seems to have fallen.
What I mean when I say the Christian life is like a puzzle is this: The goal in any puzzle is to fit the pieces together so that once the last piece is put in place, the complete picture is visible. If the Christian life is like a puzzle then it would be fair to say that the picture we are assembling is one of Christ Himself. That is the goal, to see Him more clearly. And in light of that more complete vision and revelation of Him, we will love Him more fully. We will know Him more deeply and intimately.
Of course, this analogy of a puzzle is not a perfect one. I can think of at least 2 ways in which it breaks down. One, when a person pieces together a puzzle, he usually has the box in which to use as a point of reference. He already knows what the complete picture will look like before he ever begins the task of piecing it together. He is able to use the picture on the box as a point of reference during the process. We don’t have this luxury. Some might say that the Bible itself is our box and I think that would be an accurate statement on some levels but I also believe that no matter how deep our knowledge of God is, as He has revealed Himself to us in the scriptures, it will always be incomplete until we see Him face to face. Just as the apostle Paul says…

”For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face…”1 Cor.13:12

I am of the opinion that while on this earth it would be fair to say that we will never come close to seeing the whole picture. We will never even finish the edges of this puzzle. But, it only takes a glimpse of Him to change us. The discovery and realization of just a fraction of one of His attributes will change us forever. He is like an ocean of goodness from which only a tiny droplet of its water is enough to satisfy the soul and give us the strength we need. He is like a puzzle in which just after seeing the edges begin to come together, we become overwhelmed with the greatness of what we see and the anticipation of the completion of it…… what we will see on that great day!
The second way in which this analogy breaks down is this: If I give to someone a box containing a puzzle and on that box is a picture of Abraham Lincoln. The person knows that upon completion of the puzzle he will see a picture of Abraham Lincoln. However, he does not expect that by seeing Abraham Lincoln, he will actually be in the presence of Abraham Lincoln. However, the goal of Christianity, or at least one of the primary goals, is to actually enter into His presence as we assemble the puzzle. The scriptures plainly teach that we have access to Him today. They teach that He actually speaks to us. The Creator speaks to His creation. They teach that we may approach the throne now! The greatest of saints throughout history did not merely have an academic understanding of the truths of Christianity. That would be the equivalent of simply viewing the finished puzzle of Abraham Lincoln without actually knowing Lincoln himself. But the greatest of saints actually dwelled in His presence. They communed with Him. They dwelt before His throne while on earth. That is the place where change happens. The sin in our hearts is brought to light in His presence. The prophet Isaiah stated…

Woe is me, for I am ruined!
Because I am a man of unclean lips,
And I live among a people of unclean lips; For my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts. Isaiah 6:5

But don’t lose heart. It is also in His presence that we find forgiveness and grace to conquer that sin. It is the place where we are infused with strength by the sound of His voice. It is in His presence that all of our worries and the cares of this world simply fade away. Our daily to-do list begins to seem utterly insignificant in light of what we see. Our questions no longer seem relevant in His presence. King David wrote….

…in Your presence is fullness of joy. Psalm 16:11

…One thing I have asked of the Lord, that I shall seek: That I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to meditate in His temple…” Psalm 27:4

Really? There was only one thing that David sought after? Wasn’t this the point from the beginning? Didn’t God walk with Adam in that beautiful Garden? And again we see the point at the conclusion of the story…

…And I heard a loud voice from the throne, saying, “Behold, the tabernacle of God is among men, and He will dwell among them, and they shall be His people, and God Himself will be among them…” Revelation 21:3

To dwell in His presence has always been the goal. This is the solution that Christianity offers to those dark and ominous seasons of life. His presence is the answer! And that is the goal of this blog. I am by no means professing that I have assembled all the pieces or have any knowledge of Him that is not freely available to all of His children. I merely hope to be able to offer up some piece of truth that I have found to be an “edge” in my own puzzle. And I hope that upon discovery of this truth, you may be able to see Him more clearly than you did before. May we all enter into His presence and behold the glory and the beauty of the King!
Application Exercise:
Spend some time reflecting on the “edges” in your own life. What are the 2-3 most significant and impactful truths or lessons that God taught you about life OR about who He is? No more than 2-3. This will force you to truly evaluate the significance of them upon your life and your heart. Write them down and spend time reflecting upon them. How might those truths serve as a foundation or point of reference for what season of life you are currently in or the storm you are currently facing?
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