Without giving in to sarcasm, windy nights are really effective in limiting my sleep. I probably slept a solid four hours despite the constant interruptions of either my cat screaming in my face, the wind hitting my apartment’s exterior with formidable force, or the constant sirens blaring — likely due to wind-related emergencies.
Schools are all closed this morning. I chose to work from home. George went into the office, though.
As I lay awake last night listening to the wind, I thought. It’s refreshing how in the low-lit glow of the evening when one’s brain hasn’t been distracted by screens for a couple of hours, one begins to think again. I thought of the time when my mom got transferred from her company’s Springdale office to the headquarters in Wichita, Kansas. It was 2004, and I was thirteen going on fourteen. Because my sister worked a job at Sonic, she had been driving for some time, and was able to take herself and me to Wichita to see my mom pretty often – especially through the summer. I thought about the layout of my mom’s apartment. She lived in a nice complex in Maize, an extraordinarily flat, but new, suburb to the northwest of Wichita. The living room with a fireplace, the small kitchen, the small dining table, a bathroom off the dining room, and a bedroom. In the closet of the bedroom was the DSL set up. It was the first time I had heard of DSL internet, but it was acceptable for my Xanga and MySpace browsing.
There was a night when we were staying with my grandparents in Bella Vista, and my mom called and said that they were slated to get 80 mph straight lined winds. I didn’t know what that was at the time, as Arkansas was only ever threatened by tornadoes. After asking, my brain understood it to be as if a tornado had unwound itself and decided to barrel through in a flat plane instead of a cone. She was alone, working late at her office. We all asked her not to drive home. To our chagrin, she drove her 2002 burnt gold Hyundai Santa Fe the 25 minutes to her apartment. She made it safely, but in light of her experience agreed that she should not have been out in the weather. Her trip from the car to her apartment stairs required hanging on to a parking sign pole and hedges in order to remain upright.
After tracing the memories, it occurred to me that was fourteen years ago, the same amount of time I had spent on the earth at that point.
I then considered that my mom has been gone for five years. This isn’t some incredulous revelation; I think about it nearly every day. Regardless, the reality of this fact never loses its weight.
Immediately, a verse of scripture began cycling through my mind,
“the grass withers and the flower fades, but the Word of the Lord endures forever.”
I don’t have the best process for memorizing scripture, so this was very surprising to me. I find it difficult to recall passages word for word, and have an even worse time quoting book and verse. In that moment, the word was blissfully evident to me. As I contemplated my mortality, my vapordom, I was comforted in the knowledge of the Rock on which I stand. I stand firm on the rock of ages, who gives and takes. Jesus is sovereign over life and death, over pain and suffering, over governments and principalities, over the uniformity of nature, over knowledge and wisdom. It is all His. Absolutely everything has been subjected to the feet of Jesus, while our natural reality hides the fullness of this declaration in that it is being worked out among us today.
“What is man, that You remember him?
Or the son of man, that You are concerned about him?
You have made him for a little while lower than the angels;
You have crowned him with glory and honor,
And have appointed him over the works of Your hands;
You have put all things in subjection under his feet.”
For in subjecting all things to him, He left nothing that is not subject to him. But now we do not yet see all things subjected to him.
We do not see this reality being worked out among us today, because of God’s sovereignty. His character and nature is made evident through that which He creates, and that which He chooses to reveal to us. Holding to this revelational epistemology (i.e. all knowledge is revealed), we understand that the rationality of logic, the uniformity of nature and science, the completeness of mathematics, and intelligibility of it all sources from God himself, and His word which has been given. What He chose to give is the means by which we know anything at all. Without God, you can know nothing at all.
I have been reading through the chronicles of Samuel and Kings, and as I was reading about Elisha’s confidence in God despite the opposition army that stood against him exclusively, the sufficiency of Scripture and the sovereignty of God made itself manifest to me. This story goes a little something like this:
The king of Aram wanted to kill the king of Israel. But God spoke this conspiracy to Elisha, who was also instructed to warn the king. He obeyed, and the king was able to evade capture, death, etc… not only from one plot, but from multiple, because of this revelation and obedience to it. Welp, Aramean king dude wasn’t so pleased. He wanted to know who the mole was, and received in return that it was not a mole, so much as it was an Israelite prophet named Elisha, “who is in Israel, [and] tells the king of Israel the words that you speak in your bedroom.” So, for geographical purposes, Elisha lived in Dothan, and Ben-Hadad II (Aramean king dude) lived in Damascas. (Here is a map for those of you who are interested.) So like, no telephone game was going on. It should also be noted that Arameans worshiped Baal, not the Hebrew God. Anyway, Ben-Hadad said, “‘Go and see where he is, that I may send and take him.’ And it was told him, saying, ‘Behold, he is in Dothan.'” Dothan is 10 miles North of Samaria. Okiedoke, so “he sent horses and chariots and a great army there, and they came by night and surrounded the city.” Welp. We do not know whether or not God told Elisha about this new development. (I wonder why! :3) That morning, Elisha’s apprentice, attendant, mentee, whathaveyou, woke up really early and went out and saw the militia waiting there for Elisha, circling the city. I’m sure then, he rushed back to Elisha, woke him up in a full fledged panic and said, “‘Alas, my master! What shall we do?’ So [Elisha] answered, ‘Do not fear, for those who are with us are more than those who are with them.’ Then Elisha prayed and said, ‘O Lord, I pray, open his eyes that he may see.'” Okaaaaaay. Was his servant friend running around with his eyes closed? No. How does God open the eyes of an individual when their eyes are already open? What does Elisha mean when he says “those that are with us are more than those who are with them?” Spoilers.
Please remember that before I went into this story, I was relating the preconditions of intelligibility to the foundation of revelational epistemology to God, His intentions, and our dependence on those intentions. Back to it then:
“And the Lord opened the servant’s eyes and he saw; and behold, the mountain was full of horses and chariots of fire all around Elisha. When they came down to him, Elisha prayed to the Lord and said , ‘Strike this people with blindness, I pray.’ So He struck them with blindness according o the word of Elisha. The Elisha said to them, ‘This is not the way, nor is this the city; follow me and I will bring you to the man whom you seek.’ And he brought them to Samaria (read: where the king of Israel lives.) When they had come into Samaria, Elisha said, ‘O Lord, open the eyes of these men, that they may see.’ So the Lord opened their eyes and they saw; and behold, they were in the midst of Samaria. Then the king of Israel when he saw them, said to Elisha, ‘My father, shall I kill them? Shall I kill them?’ He answered, ‘You shall not kill them. Would you kill those you have taken captive with your sword and with your bow? Set bread and water before them, that they may eat and drink and go to their master.'”
2 Kings 6:8-16, paraphrased; 17-22.
So much. There is so much here. There is supernatural revelation through prophecy, there is supernatural revelation through seeing an unseen but very present realm, and there is supernatural *concealation* through blinding. Elisha received the word, and was obedient to act on it. Elisha also knew that, through an obvious vision to him from God OR perhaps faith in the Lord for his total protection, that there was an angelic military that had surrounded him in defense against those who were physically present. Elisha had the relationship with God in which he could pray with confidence that his requests would be heard and granted. And ultimately, Elisha acted within the will of God through humility, mercy and grace on those which he so easily captured by the acting, present, and intentional hand of God.
Let me be clear: it is a gift to think, reason, and understand. From the creation of the world, God has had an omniscient will to reveal and conceal that which He desires. And His nature, which is consistent forever, is demonstrated through all of that which He has made, producing consistency in every area of understanding that exists today, insomuch that the laws of logic, morality, and the uniformity of nature testify to Him.
For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.
It is impossible to justify the existence of rationality by rationality itself. If you claim that you know the laws of logic are rational by logically rationalizing them, your claim is self-refuting. The Christian stands on the word of God, claiming that the laws of logic are given to humans through the divine purpose of God that we might come to know His creation, be blessed to discover it and learn from it, and glorify Him with thanksgiving for what He has revealed, and what has has concealed, all to our benefit.
The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,
And the knowledge of the Holy One is understanding.
You, however, continue in the things you have learned and become convinced of, knowing from whom you have learned them, and that from childhood you have known the sacred writings which are able to give you the wisdom that leads to salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
2 Timothy 3:14-17
Grace and peace be multiplied to you in the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord; seeing that His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence.
2 Peter 1:2-3
Indeed, “The grass withers, the flower fades, But the word of our God stands forever.”