Monday, May 15, 2006

Calvin Miller on "The Depths of God"


In his book Into the Depths of God (2000), Calvin Miller tells the following story that I found both interesting and very beautiful:

To play with God's depth is to be overwhelmed with his vastness. I remember once flying over the state of Montana with a Japanese businessman from urban Tokyo. "Does anybody live in all this empty space?" he asked.

"Not many," I replied. On we flew.

"Nobody?" he asked.

I nodded. We flew some more.

"So huge, so beautiful, so vast," he said.

I knew what he was trying to say. I knew those words: so huge, so beautiful, so vast. It is what I feel each time I encounter God. I lie down to sleep, but do not pray "the Lord my soul to keep." Instead I stalk a greater immensity in a near nightly ritual of euphoria. His blessings swarm about me in a wonderful lightness of being. It is an odd insomnia sponsored by sheer joy. My mind at first begins splashing through some tiny rivulet of God's grace. Gradually the stream grows . . . and Gloria in excelsis! I am in an ocean too wide to measure, too deep to fathom. I am deliriously adrift on the sea of his endless being. Yet I always step out into this ocean from the tiny beachhead of my heart. I am amazed that in the center of my shallow tidal soul I have such immediate access to the vast oceans of his presence (14-15).

This book seems to be filled with such moments. Just a few lines down Miller says:

First Corinthians 2:10 contains one little word that lunges at us with challenge: "But God has revealed it to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God." Deep is the dwelling place of God. Deep is the character of the ocean. Hold the metaphor for a mement and savor its lessons. . . . For deep is where the noisy, trashy surface of the ocean gets quiet and serene. No sound breaks the awesome silence of the ocean's heart. Most Christians, however, spend their lives being whipped tumultuously through the surface circumstances of their days. Their frothy lifestyles mark the surface nature of their lives. Yet those who plumb the deep things of God discover true peace for the first time (15).

Miller contrasts visiting the Great Barrier Reef (as he and his wife did) to snorkel, and visiting the same spot to scuba dive (as his son did). He and his wife saw the reef. They were there on it, and enjoyed its colors. But his son--in the depths--experienced the reef in its full beauty, with its vast harbor of life and its expanse into seeming infinity.

May we all find a doorway into the depths of God. Comments?

Best wishes,
Mason Smith


Blogger Andrew Harnack said...

Mason, I like what you posted about Calvin Miller's new book, "The Depths of God." In a few weeks June and I will be spending most of the summer in Georgia. Might I borrow your copy after you've finished reading it?

Friday, 19 May, 2006  

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