Everything Is Symbolic part 6 Happendix

“When the Lord turned again the captivity of Zion, we were like them that dream. Then was our mouth filled with laughter, and our tongue with singing: then said they among the heathen, the Lord hath done great things for them.” (Psalm 126:1)

The wake

What do you want God to do for you? Hopefully by now you know that “all things are lawful…but all things are not expedient.” (1 Corinthians 6:12) In other words, we can’t turn into God’s will whatever we see and therefore want. And with reference to the “seeing”, not everything that would seem for all intents and purposes like it was God “trying to tell us something” is, or was, that.

“Produce your cause, saith the Lord; bring forth your strong reasons, saith the King of Jacob. Let them bring them forth, and shew us what shall happen: let them shew the former things, what they be, that we may consider them, and know the latter end of them; or declare us things to come.” (Isaiah 41:21-22)

When waiting on the Lord for a clear cut answer as to which direction He’d have you take in light of the numerous influences and thoughts vying for your attention and therefore reaction, the best advice I can offer is wait. A hallmark of the Father is that He is unhurried. It’s humans who decide to push forward in a harried rush to accomplish and acquire. I think about how complex and detail-oriented God is. And yet getting ahead of Him and His simplicity is what causes the machinery to fall apart. God is both perfect in timing and perfect in peace. Always look for His peace when seeking out God’s thoughts on the matter. Bring those pieces of data to Him and allow the Holy Spirit to sift through and determine their worth. This is what a happendix is, after all. When once you’ve gone through that test and trial and you’ve waited for God to come through for you, looking back and seeing all the false starts and “signs and lying wonders” (2 Thessalonians 2:9b) and then letting them die where they lay. God’s will for your life is at once simpler and also more beautiful than you could imagine–or make up on your own.

“For thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Let not your prophets and your diviners, that be in the midst of you, deceive you, neither hearken to your dreams which ye cause to be dreamed.” (Jeremiah 29:8, emphasis mine)

“As a dream when one awaketh; so, O Lord, when Thou awakest, Thou shalt despise their image.” (Psalm 73:20)

Not just dreams, but “signs” and “symbols” (all under the banner of “image”) as well. If “Everything Is Symbolic” as I am looking to posit, then this simply means that everything is looking to transmit some piece of information. And information comes from a mind. But not every mind is worth taking said information into our head and heart and running with it. Assuming you believe in God, it should follow that He wants to communicate to you. “God…Hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son.” (Hebrews 1:1-2a) If what you hear or see or sense doesn’t in some way lead you to Him and His (i.e. Jesus), then it’s not true. To be in possession of some type of spiritual gift–a sensitivity of sorts–can be a double-edged sword as it requires we submit more of our time and attention to the Holy Spirit and see that He witness to the truth of the complexity of our lives. Ask simple questions. Receive profound, life-altering answers. I must admit that I have seen some stuff. Things that I thought meant one thing and that could in no way mean anything else. I hate to sound vague but it’s not worth bringing up the specific instances as they were nothing but lies. But what was so scary is that the “coincidences” in question were so much more than happenstance. Here’s the thing. Do what you’re doing. Wait on God and meditate in His word in whatever way you and He have worked out. And He’ll make sense of everything else.

“He that goeth forth and weepeth, bearing precious seed, shall doubtless come again with rejoicing, bringing his sheaves with him.” (Psalm 126:6)

Everything Is Symbolic part 7 Levular

Concession stand

Almost an oxymoron. They say “if you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything”. Like most blanket statements and platitudes, they apply across a thin swath of life experience. And then when you factor in the Holy Spirit and realize that God indeed does have something very specific in mind for each and every situation you encounter (was it any different for Jesus?), you’ll see this homily freeze and shatter. The point I’m getting at is, perhaps there are things–blatant wrongs–that God would have you observe and do nothing about. Granted, there’s all sorts of latitude in this, numerous falsifiying instances in which “not saying something” would end in disaster. Jettison those and think about this with me for a moment.

“I am made all things to all men, that I might by all means save some.” (1 Corinthians 9:22b)

But first, I must confess that levular is a made-up word. Er, I mean, “a word”. Just because nobody else has used it (to my knowledge) and I’ve never heard it before doesn’t make it any less a word. And so whether you’re a prescriptive linguist (one who seeks to preserve the language at large) or a descriptive (one who merely observes and reports from the field), you can’t tell me (me) that levular doesn’t work. Sure, I could use “levelled” but for my point, “levelled” would necessarily be adjectival when normally it’s used as a verb. Like, “I levelled my gaze at him, silencing the argument”. Okay.

“And the rest will I set in order when I come.” (1 Corinthians 11:34b)

See, symbols, beyond a certain point are arbitrary. Extrapolate this out at large and you realize that God speaks to different people in different ways. Prophets, with their long hair and loud voice, throwing it out there to whoever “has ears to hear” are a very different medium than the dream. God speaks through one and the other and neither cancel each other out. As God is at once above His creation and also within down to the particle, every way He speaks carries weight and truth and love.

One night I dreamed I saw the hospital where my mom worked. It took place in the neonatal unit but it also looked like the inside of a local department store. You know how dreams are. Furthering the weirdness, the location also bore resemblance to an imagined intersection with the nurses’ desks a strange cross between that and a streetcorner mixed with fitting rooms and the like. I suppose it all means something but the dream continues. In the middle of all this, I enter an elevator that descends into the earth. I remember going down through many levels of rock with each age of the earth represented by panoramic, almost still life depictions of the period. It all felt odd but the take away message was that life is a mix of levels. Everyone is at a certain level. You, me, everyone. It isn’t about comparison, it’s about understanding that what means something to you doesn’t mean the same to me. And yet you can hear God just as clearly as I.

“This is my commandment, That ye love one another, as I have loved you.” (John 15:12)

Level this at the Body of Christ, knowing first that He loves us all the same, and you see, maybe a little, how God would have you only say nothing and pray when once you perceive something about your brother or sister that even they don’t. Or that they would die of fright if they knew you did. At our deepest level is our Heavenly Father. He loves us there. But–and this is just the way it is–even we don’t see down at that level. We are multi-levelled–levular, as it were–and as He loves us at our depth and even speaks to us there, other levels need some Spring cleaning. We attain to them as life goes on. It isn’t about charting this territory so much as it’s about pleasing God and loving ourselves and others with the love He’s shown us.

Everything Is Symbolic part 5 Apophoenix

Everything you notice is God trying to show you something. I would say, as this has played out in my life, that it has to do with what He’s doing in your area, of which you’re part–obviously. If you look at things under the structure He has given in His word, and then post the details within, a pattern will begin to emerge. But first, we must realize the fruits of His Spirit in the here and now.

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22-23)

If you’re looking for a sign, this is it

I believe it all boils down to God speaking. Either we’re crazy and purely matter. Or else there’s a God somewhere and He’s trying to get our attention. He spoke through “the law and the prophets” and then through Jesus. He speaks all the time through what He’s already said as translated into our native tongue (this is “The Bible”) and He uses the Holy Spirit to intimate truths to us on deeper levels than words. But what about the world around us? What about circumstances and situations and literal road signs? God can, and does, use all of it. The important thing to remember in walking in the world and listening for the Father to show us things only He and I see, is to align our emotions with the aforementioned fruits of the Holy Spirit. If we only know the saccharine and fleeting happiness of hearing our favorite song on the radio but don’t know “the joy of the Lord” (Nehemiah 8:10), we need realigning on that line. God wants to use His whole creation to show us His love. And this is where things can get scary and convoluted and weird.

“And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” (Galatians 5:24-25)

Apophenia is a mental disorder that seeks to weave a narrative through random occurrences. In other words, events and instances that are most certainly not concrete and from which anyone could infer something or nothing. There’s obviously something deeper at work in this case and it most likely isn’t a campaign that corroborates your conspiracy theory. An emotional tie that would need to be sated by God and severed from the lie. Again, it’s scary to peer into this state of mind because it’s like an abyss, a black hole. The phoenix, as you may know, is that bird of myth that arose out of its own ashes. A continual cycle of death and rebirth. And portmanteaued for my use means that God can and indeed will make sense of the thousands of symbols and signs He’s allowing you to see.

“And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose. For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.” (Romans 8:28-29)

You’re not crazy, you’re just really sensitive. I am too. I see things I think point to a certain thing and then the Holy Spirit reins in my attention. This is part of what it means to have a gift, a window, on spiritual matters. If you’re not walking with your hand in your Fathers’, being led of Him and following as Jesus did, you will go crazy. There’s no way we can make sense of everything on our own.

Everything Is Symbolic part 4 Randomonium

“And He said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord. And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake: And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.” (1 Kings 19:11-12, emphasis mine)

This is Elijah’s encounter with God.

Case studies

But look again at all the activity going on in the top passage. I’m sure there some sort of order and structure to the things, the pandemonium that happened after “the Lord passed by”. Nahum (1:3) says that “the clouds are the dust of His feet”. In other words, the clouds are a symbol that God has already come and gone. I find that if you really want to see God, you have to wait. Stand where you are and make a conscious decision to follow Him. And God will take you at your word and put you through the paces required to actually see Him. Because He’s coming. He’s coming for your prayer or desire or what-have-you and the only thing you can do to stop Him is doubt. Don’t worry about committing a “sin”. Doubt and unbelief happen far below any actual un-pleasing outworking in our behavior. It’s that kind of meticulousness you need to build up in order to see Him and not get distracted with any details you might think are Him but aren’t really. This isn’t to say Elijah was hoodwinked by the “wind” or the “earthquake” or the “rocks”. I can’t say Moses had any less a quality encounter than do we when we seek the Lord’s face.

“And Moses said, I will now turn aside, and see this great sight, why the bush is not burnt. And when the Lord saw that He turned aside to see…” (Exodus 3:3-4a)

There’s a bit of a difference to the two men’s interaction with the Almighty. Elijah encountered God only after the activity ceased whereas Moses spoke to God in the midst of the fire. I don’t really have anything to say on the matter except that it’s how God chose to do it. This isn’t to say that all the things you feel are God speaking only to you, aren’t. Quite the opposite actually. They most likely are indeed God. But until you know how He’s already spoken–both through men like Moses and Elijah and also Jesus–it’s hard to discern His voice through all the activity. Don’t stop. God will calm the storm of input if you hold out for His voice only.

“Seek the Lord, and His strength: seek His face evermore.” (Psalm 105:4)

Everything Is Symbolic part 3 Stochasm

The word refers (obviously) to that one thing that seemed to point to whatever God was doing in your life. That which you felt was only for you and maybe showed up in a dream. A little detail that when boiled down to its elements, meant something symbolic and stood out in your mind upon reflection. Does anything come to mind?

“In all Thy ways, acknowledge Him…” (Proverbs 3:6)

In reality, the word stochastic actually exists. Statistically speaking, it refers to a set of parts, lots of them, that look for all intents and purposes, like a bunch of randomness doing its thing. A stochastic exposition on the randomness you’ve observed can only be done in retrospect, I should add. Extrapolate this notion out to the whole of life and that is indeed what a lot of it (life) outside our’s looks to be: random. Cars driving down the road, making their way to and from God knows where (if you think about it, pray for the drivers). Zoom in. That red car driving by. You don’t recognize the driver but while stopped at a light, you noticed the plate bore some number that corresponded with the scripture God had on your heart today. This means something, but what? Nothing? It doesn’t mean anything. You turn your collar up and keep walking. What’s that you say? You had a dream about the same? When…? Last night? Because if you dreamed about such odd details after the fact, I could see how some meaning might emerge. Some meaning to you and no one else. Heh. Think what you’d do if you ever met the driver. You could run up to them as they got out of their car and spill this whole story to them. And they’d walk away thinking you’re crazy. But you’re not crazy. You feel God is speaking to you. It’s like a language that utilizes everything as opposed to mere letter and sound.

“Incline not my heart to any evil thing, to practise wicked works with men that work iniquity: and let me not eat of their dainties.” (Psalm 141:4)

And here’s the stochasm. Falling into these minor details that–while truly random–will get your eyes off God and off that which He wants you to focus on. Namely, Him. I must admit, I am very perceptive. I notice things and also I think everyone else sees the same stuff I do. This is wrong. While I believe in God and along with that, believe He indeed does see everything, I can’t tell you what others are paying attention to. This would mean I would need another person’s opinion as to what I see and feel. And if I’m pressed in to God, I don’t.

“And it came to pass at the seventh time, that he said, Behold, there ariseth a little cloud out of the sea, like a man’s hand. And he said, Go up, say unto Ahab, Prepare thy chariot, and get thee down, that the rain stop thee not.” (1 Kings 18:44)

Another definition of stochastic is as follows: “the random variable”. That one part out of the whole that was the focal or turning point for the equation. Here’s the thing about God. If you’re waiting for deep and powerful things from Him–the answers of which involve more than just you and yours–you must look out for these signs. Assuming your heart and motives are right, God will show you things, signs and symbols in the natural, that herald the answers to your prayer and waiting. But it doesn’t necessarily have to directly correlate to your blessing as a “little cloud…like a man’s hand” does to “rain”. You follow me?

Everything Is Symbolic part 2 Mattrous

“For if He were on earth, he should not be a priest, seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law: Who serve unto the example and shadow of heavenly things…” (Hebrews 8:4-5a)

What’s the matter?

In other words, were Jesus still here on earth (like, the way He was prior to dying), He would be, like, a celestial or mystical bridge to the Father–a direct line or portal, in other words. Actually, that just sounds wrong. And I’m being partly facetious. Look at the rest of the passage. There are still symbolic acts taking place with regards to the “priests that offer gifts according to the law.” Remember: “it is not possible that the blood of bulls and goats should take away sins.” (Hebrews 10:4) And so Jesus dies and rises again and ascends to Heaven. Tangentially speaking, He tells the disciples in John’s Gospel “for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you.” (16:6-7) So there’s that. I don’t mean (or want) to compartmentalize and/or shun the Holy Spirit (the Comforter). He figures into the point I’m trying to make majorly, in a moment. But look at the reason Jesus had to leave. Because He was the sacrifice. And now that He has arisen, the necessity has…dematerialized.

Is anything “the matter”?

“And the voice spake unto him again the second time, What God hath cleansed, that call not thou common.” (Acts 10:15)

Forgive me. Firstly, here’s five dollars for the word (it now is one, by the way). Secondly, it’s simply an adjective meaning “of or pertaining to matter”. Reason why we need a new word to wrap around the concept is because the whole stuff has now been redeemed by Christ. That He would be sinless in spirit (“When as His mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.” Matthew 1:18) and work out that holiness and perfection into the natural world is what it took to wrest the Creation back from a never-ending spiral of atrophy and apoptosis. And here’s where the Holy Spirit enters the picture. It’s still “appointed unto men once to die…” (Hebrews 9:27). Holding up the matter that is our bodies as the earth crumbles for lack of care is pointless. Again, forgive me for pointing to the utopian escape of Heaven. But if your mind goes there in solace, you’ve missed the whole point. Because the matter at hand is Christ. He is the focal point. The opening words of the eighth chapter of Hebrews are as follows:

“Now of the things which we have spoken this is the sum: We have such an High Priest, who is set on the right hand of the throne of the Majesty in the heavens.”

See, He did all He did for you. He lived your life. He’ll give it (and His) to you as a gift if you ask.

Everything Is Symbolic part 1 Seismicosmic

It’s not an actual word. But if it were, it’d have to do with the internal workings of a celestial body, whatever type it may be, with reference to the space around it. It’s that way as a child of God. You, having accepted the Lord into your life and innermost being, are destined to affect those within your orbit. And beyond.

“Whom having not seen, ye love; in Whom though now ye see Him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” (1 Peter 1:18)

Everything we do has repercussions. Literally, every thought that passes through our minds sprang from some influence that was acted upon by another person or event and issued from such. The thing is, when you take God’s thoughts into your head and heart, the actions resulting from knowing and meditating on them will cause you to do what you do. And it may not be anything different than that for which you’re already wired. But the spirit in and around your actions, as a child of God, will be utterly, remarkably different. God will be living through you.

Take an idea, any idea from the top of your head that you want to see become a reality. From getting up from the couch to go lay down for the night to a business venture to a relationship you’d like to begin. Think about that idea as nothing but the firing among synapses in your brain. Now think about those impulses as symbolic of what you’re doing. And before I go any further with this, I really can’t couch this in any sort of “hard science” and I certainly have never heard it explained the way I see it. Think of it as sort-of a “fact-based fiction”, if you will. A phrase I heard recently I’d like to borrow.

“These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.” (John 15:11)

Now think about joy. God’s joy comes to us from without and isn’t affected by the things happening or not happening in your life. And certainly, there are things that we do in obedience to God that ensure we remain in the flow of God’s joy. But God’s joy is something that comes from His heart and has no mirror or equal in our world. It’s part of the atmosphere of Heaven that permeates and pervades existence because of the Holy Spirit. In other words, it’s all around you and you only have to ask the Lord to give it. To develop it in your spirit. He gives us Himself and we in turn begin to feel as does He.

The reason why I think “everything is symbolic” is merely for the fact that what you see is not the plane from which things…begin. This is the first in a periodic series of posts in which I will endeavor to explain this idea.