Following the Rabbit Down the Hole
As a Christian, every day of my life I am compelled by Scripture and the Holy Spirit to believe the impossible riches of grace. The very basics of my faith: being born again (John 3), salvation by grace through faith (Romans 4), justification by grace through faith (Romans 3:21-24), and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5) are impossible to a mind that demands absolute comprehension. Incomprehensible things are by definition, incomprehensible. “Show me,” someone says as a challenge to those who believe the invisible and dare to look for the unseen. “Show me, or I won’t go down the hole after the rabbit with the waistcoat no matter how curious it might appear.”
As adults we often lose our wonder, curiosity, and we don’t care to see or dream anymore. As children we could imagine things—all kinds of crazy things, but the four walls of realism, pragmatism, cynicism, and materialism wall us in. We are awestruck no more. We settle into believing only the things we can see, taste, and touch.
As a child, our family made occasional trips to the big city to visit my grandmother and uncle. It was about sixty, forever, motion-sick miles. Summer heat sweltered, and ashes flew in our faces because our parents smoked. Winter travel in a smoke-filled car was no fun either. I longed to discover a shortcut. In my mind I knew, absolutely knew, there was a doorway in my home that could take us to the city and back again. I could see myself going through it and arriving in my grandmother’s living room. There is a door! We just haven’t discovered where the door is or how to use it. Philip, in Acts 8, didn’t know where the door was either, but he used it just the same—going from baptizing the Ethiopian in Gaza to Azotus, (about thirty miles) in the flash of an eye. Jesus used it too as he suddenly appeared in the midst of the disciples (Mark 16:14). Impossible? Apparently not! Unbelievable? Yes, to the mind that is unwilling to practice believing.
We see the principle of practicing believing on Sunday mornings when the Nicene and Apostle’s Creeds are quoted or read in our churches. We see this in Scripture, too. “Faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God,” Paul says in Romans 10:17. In the Old Testament we are told to meditate on Scripture day and night (Psalm 1:2 and Joshua 1:8). Many of our hymns are statements of faith. “His eye is on the sparrow, and I know He watches me,” “A mighty fortress is our God,” “He arose! He arose! Halleluiah, Christ arose!” are songs we croon on Sunday mornings.
Believing the impossible doesn’t mean that we set aside our minds or our logic. But it does mean that we engage our God-given imagination and pray for eyes to see and believe the impossible riches of grace.
There are moments in my faith when I am left panting to see more of the unseen. Scripture says we see through a glass darkly; our vision is partially dimmed. That is part of life on earth, but there is so much more to see than most of us attempt to see. I pray for more curiosity and wonder. And curiosity and awe are aroused when I read these words from The Message in I Cor. 2:7-10.
God’s wisdom is something mysterious that goes deep into the interior of his purposes. You don’t find it lying around on the surface. It’s not the latest message, but more like the oldest—what God determined as the way to bring out his best in us, long before we ever arrived on the scene. The experts of our day haven’t a clue about what this eternal plan is. If they had, they wouldn’t have killed the Master of the God-designed life on a cross. That’s why we have this Scripture text:
“No one’s ever seen or heard anything like this,
Never so much as imagined anything quite like it—
What God has arranged for those who love him.”
But you’ve seen and heard it because God by his Spirit has brought it all out into the open before you. The Spirit, not content to flit around on the surface, dives into the depths of God, and brings out what God planned all along.
These words create the kind of curiosity that makes me want to go down the rabbit hole with Alice to chase that strange, talking, white rabbit with the funny hat, waistcoat, and pocket watch—and to heck with the consequences. I may get really dirty diving down holes as I follow him, but who knows, maybe I’ll get clean instead? We are trying to imagine the impossible, right?
The Mad Hatter