Monday, June 16, 2008

Dangerous relationship

I was talking to a friend recently about her birth plans (she's due next month). She's an observant Orthodox Jew and has hired a friend to be her doula. She was telling me to pray that she doesn't go into labor on the Sabbath because her friend is also Orthodox and will be severely limited in what she can do on the Sabbath. Anything that could be considered "work" is forbidden, so the doula will be unable to give massages and they were trying to decide if "work" included opening bottles of essential oils or preparing baths.

I surely don't want to slam her faith (in fact, I find her devotion a thing of beauty), but I was immediately struck by the difference between our faiths. She follows a set of rules in hopes of forging relationship with an unknowable God. Her rules are unbending. The put the focus on the outward action instead of the heart motivation.

We, in contrast, serve a Person. A God who wants to be known by us. Who desires to reveal Himself to us and asks us to follow Him with complete trust and utter abandon. Which can be more dangerous than just following rules. Rules are simple. They are black and white and don't require is to interpret shades of grey. Following a person is much more difficult. Sometimes we get things wrong. We think we are hearing a still small Voice but are only hearing our own desires. But Jesus has called us to trust that as we follow Him wholeheartedly we will learn to hear His Voice and will follow more closely. What a thrilling privilege this is.