…dangerous, but not mean…

(an entry from my personal journal today)

These words of Dallas Willard have pierced me today:

God is not mean, but he is dangerous. It is the same with other great forces he has placed in reality. Electricity and nuclear power, for example, are not mean, but they are dangerous. One who does not, in a certain sense, “worry” about God, simply isn’t smart.

– Dallas Willard

I’m reading through Exodus again during this week, and in meditating on the collision of this statement and the account of Israel, Moses, and God in and after Egypt I have been drawn in to the incredibly wild nature of God. CS Lewis wrote about Aslan in the Chronicles of Narnia in the startlingly “real” words, “of course he’s not safe, He’s a lion.” While I’ve heard this message repeated for years now, there is something so frightening about it to me. It’s hard to look at Moses’ peaceful, content, and comfortable life, keeping Jethro’s sheep, and not wonder: “why didn’t you just leave him be, God?” The fact is that God could have raised up a liberator from within the ranks of the Egypt-bound Hebrews, God can do anything through anyone. But then, despite the frightening nature of God, there is a guilty admission that “frightening” isn’t all He is, there’s more. And so I am caught up in trying to deal with the frightening God whose presence and love, and even His wildness, draws me in. lion-and-the-lamb

Willard went on to say that God is dangerous like electricity or nuclear power, both examples implying that He is also an enricher of life and a grand helper in a dark world. Lewis finishes the familiar phrase declaring Aslan’s un-tamable nature with the infinitely important words, “but He’s good”. I wonder at what point Moses would have settled back, and after surveying the crooked road that he walked would have said, “this has been a great ride, God I’m glad you picked me.” Maybe after the Red Sea? Maybe after the glory passed by him on the mountain? Maybe neither. Maybe, just like those who heard about electricity and it’s life-changing potential, or maybe like CS Louis’ Pevensey children who had to take it on good faith that the beavers were telling them the truth…maybe in that way Moses, and I, look at how much we are loved and with open hands trembling, with heart burning, and with stomach churning declare our love no matter what path He has chosen for us.

He’s dangerous, but He’s not mean. He loves us enough to push us sometimes. It’s because He knows the end of our story, and if we do it His way it’s epic.

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