O.k. So for most of my life, I passionately desired a savior – ultimately the Savior-God of the Christian faith – but I ended up creating for myself an altogether fantastical savior-god, who was everything I thought I wanted but was, of course, largely under my control precisely because he was the creation of my own imagination, thus ultimately unfulfilling.
However, I also failed to make any connection between this heroic, fictitious savior and the Savior-God of Christianity because the Christ Jesus of history and holy Scripture didn’t seem to “fit the bill” of my heart-longing and soul-desire. And though I dare not be too dogmatic as to why, I still think I can give some very possible reasons.
For one thing, quite honestly, he was the incarnate God of history, the central character of the Gospels, the Messiah who had already come, who had suffered and died and risen again, who had already returned to heaven in glory … and that’s where he remained.
So, so much for personal relationships. Christ Jesus was King of kings and Lord of lords, seated on the right hand of God the Father, the Almighty, who would come again some day to judge both the living and the dead… Yes, all very good, and I believed.
But none of this seemed especially personal and, besides, growing up I was perennially cautioned against “emotionalism,” which seemed to come very naturally to me. So if I could not have an “emotional” relationship with the real Christ, then I could certainly have one with my own savior-god, albeit self-created fantasy, and no one could interfere.
And this is probably another reason, too. No one could intrude upon my relationship with my own fantastical savior-god whereas they could, and in a very real sense had already, affect my relationship with Christ Jesus. The one, I did not have to share … at all; the other was for everyone, for all times, not just me.
Besides, to think that the King of kings and Lord of Lords, seated on the right hand of God the Father … etc. et al, would passionately love and adore me, be my guardian, and lover of my soul … would recognize something unique and special in me, nurture me, and personally help me grow into someone wonderful and completely satisfied…
Well, this wasn’t even on the radar screen. (It still seems utterly ridiculous.) I could accept the doctrinal tenets of the Judeo-Christian faith, succinctly given in the Apostles’ and Nicene creeds, but not even the possibility of that kind of relationship because I did not even begin to believe the Christ-God of Christianity intended that kind of relationship … not really.
But as one of the great Medieval mystics, Dame Julian of Norwich, wrote:
Again and again, our Lord said, I am he, I am he, I am he who is highest. I am he whom you love. I am he in whom you delight. I am he whom you serve. I am he for whom you long. I am he whom you desire. I am he whom you intend. I am he who is all.
And this is true, but very scantily clad by mere, cold, hard doctrine … if at all. But, I wouldn’t have believed it then, anyway. I didn’t. I couldn’t. Precisely why God continually reached into and through my imagination – yes, he was there all along – over and over again, until finally I did understand and make the connection.
Indeed, as I have quoted so many times before, vocatus atque non vocatus, Deus aderit. Called, and even not called, God approaches. And he did, and he does, and he shall…