The unconventional and inconvenient call of a counter-cultural God
by Erin Wikle –
I’ve recently become immersed in a “spiritual gem’ penned by French mystic, Madame Jeanne Guyon. Experiencing the Depths of Jesus Christ speaks deeply of the importance of turning your heart inward in order to gain a greater impression of the Lord’s presence within. While I’ve found her writing to be simply stated and easy to swallow, I’ve come to recognize it as profoundly difficult to digest!
Guyon lived a somewhat despairing life. Married at the age of 16 to a man 22 years older, she was eventually imprisoned in the Bastille for refusing to denounce her reformed theories centered around Quietism, the Christian philosophy based on the necessity of intellectual stillness and inner-passivity as the means to perfection (read: holiness).
The woman is fascinating. I know, I know… you’re reeling. A mystic? At the heart of Guyon’s witness, she was simply about knowing Christ as fiercely, albeit, intimately as possible. There can be no argument there.
I liken the life of Guyon to that of Paul. Both have incredible testimonies of their coming to Christ. Both committed their lives to unabashedly proclaiming the redemptive promises of their Savior to all they encountered. Both even wound up imprisoned (more than once) as a result of the former. Both were spiritual giants during their day, persisting today, in the very same vein. Both were completely caught up in the love of Christ and deeply desired that those who chose to follow him would do so with relentless passion. In their day, Guyon and Paul represented the kind of believer that was both unconventionally and inconveniently called by a counter-cultural kind of God.
In my day, this is the kind of believer I want to be.
There was nothing convenient about the blinding and penetrating light that poured down from heaven, pulling all stops on Saul’s (the later Paul’s) plan to persecute the people of Damascus. There was nothing conventional about Ananias’ witness to this hated man as “something like scales” fell from Paul’s eyes and he was welcomed him into the body of Christ.
There was nothing conventional about Guyon’s sharing writing after writing about the unstoppable grace made available to all with a culture that clung tightly to the heresy that God’s pardon could only be attained by working for it. And there was certainly nothing convenient about spending the last 15 years of her life in silence and isolation in earnest pursuit of her Lord and God.
In the same way, there was nothing conventional or convenient about the timing of Jesus’ coming to earth so that we could be in relationship, deep relationship, with our Creator.
Heaven forbid God offend our finite understanding of what is both right and responsible in an effort to qualify our desire to do only what is sensible. Friends, don’t be mistaken. Faith does not implore the absence of wisdom, but requires the absolute trust that God can achieve his will however he sees fit.
Are you willing to be inconvenienced if it means dwelling in the Spirit just a few moments longer? Are you willing to be unconventional if it means finding yourself in deeper relationship with your King? Are you willing to respond in loving obedience to the one who created you to really know him?
If you are earnestly seeking after the Lord and desire to know the fullness of his will for your life, then I pray it so. Join me in this pursuit and respond to the call of our gracious, loving, and all together counter-cultural God.