The fourth dimension, an author - and what life in the Holy Spirit has to do with it. Part 1/3
Updated: May 23
My dear friends,
before I started writing about God, I was immersed in research and first drafts of a novel set in the Reformation era. I visited places to get a feel, to develop an idea. I chose a protagonist about whom not much had survived in historical sources-and created a second character whose name was historical-but about whom no other data was available.
I began to write stories - to design them, to plan them, to characterize them. I created settings and limited spheres of influence, defined their social status and the way they interacted with others. What networks of relationships? What kind of counterpart does this character need to flourish? With a lot of love, I designed each one.
And then...the amazing, crazy, somewhat jumbled-thing happened that everyone who writes knows: the characters began to choose their own paths. The story unfolded before my eyes- and suddenly it was as if I had to get to know them myself. They came quasi-to life. Sometimes I didn't know how they would behave- confronted with situations I put them in. I didn't know until I reached the spot, while the larger plan had long since unfolded before me.
Still- I never lost sight of the big picture.
The beauty of writing is that you can erase everything, you can weave in subplots-at any time. You can completely rewrite scenes, you can put a "no" or let them continue and enjoy theirs. You weep with the sorrow of your protagonists, you laugh at their exuberance, you perhaps weave an extra goodie into beautiful situations.
You have this power because you are outside the action. Everything comes from yourself - and it is completely irrelevant whether you insert the changes at the beginning, in the middle or at the end of the story, where you "unravel and resolve the threads".
You leave your characters facing situations that are hopeless for them and go into their perspective to know how they will feel- knowing that the solution will fall into their hands four chapters later.
The more skillful you are at this kind of writing, the clearer, the more vivid and authentic the characters you create become-and that's what makes the difference between a dime novel and, say, Ken Follet. Maybe you planned to let a character die at a certain point- and then love him so much that you keep writing his story. Maybe the good guy has turned bad, and his choices don't fit the plan at all. Then you have to create an event that rewrites the entire plot, changes it, heralds a turning point. But what you never, never lose - that's the thread. It's what you want to tell. The message, the events. There are milestones in every story - and they are set - often prepared long in advance. Things suddenly fall into place in climaxes. And never do you lose control of fulfilling what is meant for the individual.
You understand the principle.
God is eternal. Holy. Perfect. He is above things. He is author, creator God, only true God. From him and to him everything is created, from him springs the source of life.
Yes, we confess this, and yet there is the little devil on our shoulder who wants to convince us that we very much hold the threads of our own history in our hands.
In truth, we are part of the story that God weaves, spins, writes with infinite care. We are the vessels, not the potter. And we are limited. Our perception is three-dimensional. And in all of us our life clock is ticking. If it stops - then our (earthly) life ends.
We do not like to admit this limitation. No, we suppress it, because the history runs. Our history, our liveliness is real! And we are given a lot of gifts, our role is important. The fact that we are three-dimensional beings is so natural for us that we do not even think about it. We think, we overlook, we plan everything autonomously, we feel that we are not subject to any limits.
After all, are we not the crown of creation?
And so we look pityingly at the tick, whose whole perception is reduced to touch and smell - it does not see, it only smells, it does not talk, the whole inner world of emotion and imagination remains closed to it. Meanwhile, we marvel at the fact that an eagle's eyesight massively dwarfs ours.
Yet we believe we perceive everything in the only correct way.
God, the Creator.
While we are caught in time, in three-dimensionality and that which makes up this earth, this epic, its history, that which he allows us to perceive and that which he withholds from our eyes to see and comprehend, he overlooks everything in endless sovereignty. In such sovereignty that he can allow free will, because he can skillfully direct the threads of every single story in such a way that he will still not miss his goal.
He gives us his whole heart and soul, reveals himself in infinite abundance and beauty. Yes, the setting, this planet that he has created for us, it is so diverse, complex, elaborate and beautiful- that every scientist admits that every question answered raises three new ones.
What a glory, what a genius is our God!
We as newborn Christians have received a gift. We have received the knowledge that when the last page of our history is written, volume 2 will surely follow- completely different, completely new. We have been breathed eternity, through the Holy Spirit- the promise of immortality in Jesus.
The promise that after the first volume full of war and suffering, full of sin and being lost, a second will follow:
A volume of peace that tells the story anew and in all its glory.
WOW. You have to let that sink in!
Moreover, we have been given a priceless gift:
While many try to make out their own story as best they can, stumbling through the world with blind eyes, making bad decisions, not recognizing their potential and destiny, or even hating it, God opened our eyes to His glory through the Jesus, interacting with us, showing goodness, beauty, grace and mercy. He inscribed himself in history, through his Son, one with him and one in him. Made him tangible for us. Showed the way. Showed that it is possible to live his will. Even more, he gave us all the Holy Spirit, to everyone who accepts the death, the salvation through Jesus, which before only those he chose had: prophets, kings, priests, who explored and proclaimed his will.
Even more: He wrote a Holy Book in His Book, in which He reveals to us His nature and all that we need to know. And even this book is so deep and complex in itself that you can never come to an end with it.
Do you have any idea of the greatness of God?
Can we be like God? Incredibly short-sighted and blasphemous it seems to even assume it from that perspective, doesn't it?
But who is the Holy Spirit?
He is the one who acts through us, who guides and teaches us. Through him we are reconnected with the author, the director. If we entrust ourselves to him, he guides us through our story on safe paths. He awakens others, leads them to the cross and to reconnection with the Father - through Jesus. He corrects the previously wrong plot lines and leads into the whole truth of history- and the knowledge of the only one. He reveals to us the reality of Jesus.
He reminds us of the truth that this world is not the end. That we are "one level above." Not above others- above the events of the world. In Christ we reign. He reminds us of the nature of God- and that he is perfect love. And he- stands outside of time and space.
Every individual who asks for him, the Creator, turns to him, receives gifts of service: where our own ways led to misfortune, we are used as personal property, as ambassadors to pass on the Father's will- the complete restoration of his plan. To proclaim His glory through signs. To bring redemption through healing. We are called to liberate the captives and the oppressed, the marginalized and the scattered.
But so much fallenness is in us, so much falling asleep again and forgetting God- that there is a condition to come into His fullness: We must ask. And we must be willing to leave our interpretation of the role assigned to Him. We must acknowledge him as true and not want to dominate or command him, we must allow him to express himself through us. You through me, Christ, not me as you. You as the source in me that spills over to others- not me as the source, not me as the leader, not me as the boss. I step back behind you and surrender to your authority in my life.
We must accept what has been fought against for far too long as religiosity and outdated- surrender, surrender and humility.
"Holy Spirit, pray through me!" "Jesus, let me see with your eyes, not mine!" "Father, give what I really need, not what I wish for".
But this only works when we understand definitively:
God grants us freedom and development, but He has set our limits.
God loves us immeasurably, he takes pleasure in us - and yet we are his special property.
God loves what we perceive as adventure- he loves to weave risk and excitement into the story, danger and epic twists- but at the end of the day he never loses control.
We have a mind, we have a heart, we are rational, created in the likeness of God. We have aspirations and dreams, everything put inside us, everything entrusted to us. But it is given. It comes from Him, and our perception is limited. The key to reveal us, to bring us to the goal - it lies with him, not with our striving.
The true wisdom, the true knowledge lies with him. And that is what we have to ask for.
I have no idea how great God is.
But I do have an idea of what his peace, his love, his joy, what faith in him and security in him feel like- and I know that his ways are always good- even if from my perspective at times the plot lines flutter loosely in the air.
We must entrust ourselves if we are to be led into all fullness- and not rule.
God himself has set a key, a limit, to prevent misuse of his gifts - they only work if we ask for them from the heart. And we can only ask someone whose answer and joyful giving we also count on - and in whose goodness and love we deeply believe.
Living in the Holy Spirit is a little like lying down on the air and trusting that it will carry you. It is the desire to put all control back into His hand.
But you can only do that if you understand that God is love.
Otherwise, you are scared to death.
May we learn it.
Sibylle/ Daughter of Zion.
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