spiritual life

Inside or outside context

“Just because you don’t understand it doesn’t mean it isn’t so.” Lemony Snicket, The Blank Book

The giggling coming from behind the magazine drew my husband’s attention. “What are you reading?” he finally asked.

“The headline says ‘fight your cough,’ ” I said between laughs. “I though it said, ‘fight your couch.’ Wouldn’t that be a perfect fit for this context?!” He moved to see the magazine’s cover and rolled his eyes when he realized it was yet another copy of Outside.

He’s still puzzled as to why I love reading about the exploits of Millennials. My idea of adventure is trying a new spice blend, not rappelling down a rock face or backpacking through grizzly country, after all.

He used to do that kind of stuff. (His original idea for our first date was a 60-mile bike ride along the coast of Lake Michigan.) I never did that kind of stuff. (Our actual first date was a dinner party at a friend’s beach house — the evening after he did the bike ride.)

“Research,” I reminded him. He snorted, but it’s true. Outside gives me an inside view into larger-than-life young maleness in particular, a necessity for a romance writer.

I mean, where else can a writer find out what the kind of guy who free solos El Capitan eats for breakfast? Or learn that a triathlete might deal with heartbreak by running city streets all night long?

The young men’s words and actions show what’s in their hearts. The same way our posts and tweets and books reveal us. And, the same way scripture reveals God way better than someone else’s post or tweet or book.

Have you ever thought about that latter truth? How, taken in their full context, the actual stories and quotes of the Bible give a picture of the very heart of God? They do. The book of John alone is a breathtaking look at a God who can love humanity beyond measure while still holding a standard.

And, when we look at that God, that kind of balance between love and judgment, it’s so much harder to take His identity out of context. It’s true. Inside the context of His Word, it is impossible to mistake God as a hater the way one can if standing only on the outside looking in through the fog of the current culture.

Take a look for yourself. See God as He is in His own context.

8 thoughts on “Inside or outside context”

    1. At least if we let Him be there. We can close our hearts if we want. Although, God does do some arm twisting now and then. Look at the story of the Apostle Paul. God had to temporarily blind him with a flash of light to get his cooperation. But, it worked… 🙂


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