Last night, I was watching a rebroadcast of The Bible miniseries, episode 2, when I saw a wicked Philistine gouge Samson's eyes out. Samson responded by saying he saw God more clearly now without his eyes.
I don't know that I could ever say the same. I mean, if for any reason I were to lose my eyes.
God is overwhelmingly a sensory experience for me. Head knowledge just won't do; I never every one of my six senses to experience, to know, to trust, to love God. Every sense gives me a unique way to know God, and it is through these six tangible ways that I find more of Him every day.
Without sight, I wouldn't see the awesome way the sun kind of dribbles through the clouds on a day like today, creating these incredible rays of sunshine that fall, but not too harshly, on the earth below. I wouldn't see the way a flower blooms, how a sal beetle curls into its protective posture, how a butterfly flaps its wings. I wouldn't see a worshiper with reckless abandon throw his arms into the air at the goodness of God...or a mournful woman throw herself at His feet in tears. If I couldn't see these things, I am not sure how I could ever see God. Let alone more clearly, as Samson attested.
Without taste, I wouldn't know the bittersweet taste of an apple, a fruit (or was it?) so worth man's betrayal of perfect love. I wouldn't know the way the bread and the wine, the sacrifice of Jesus, is somehow satisfying even though on an average day, neither would be my choice of lunch. At least, not the way we do it in our churches. I wouldn't understand why the Israelites were so drawn by a land of milk and honey if I could never taste the honey on my lips. And I could never understand why Jesus prayed against a bitter cup if I had never soured my own face in response to something so tart. If I couldn't taste this world I live in, I'm not sure how I could ever taste of God.
Without hearing, I would never know the thunder that follows the flash in the storm. I wouldn't appreciate the way the wind makes the windows rattle, or hear the melody of the chimes on the front porch. I would never wake up to the sound of the birds chirping or cringe at the sound of crickets in the basement. I would not know the song we sing to worship or the rhythm by which we praise. If I couldn't hear the earth and the people sing, I'm not sure I could hear the whisper of God.
Without touch, I wouldn't know the warmth of a baby as it lay across my chest. I wouldn't appreciate the callous of a hand that has worked too hard or the softness of a wrinkled one with many tales to tell. I wouldn't know the gentleness of the grass beneath my feet or the hardness of the rock, which became the cornerstone. I wouldn't have a way to tell what is pain and what is pleasure, what is pleasing and what is penetrating. I wouldn't have an idea of what it means to leave a footprint in the mud or what it would mean to see footprints in the sand and have been carried. If I couldn't touch my world and know that it was touching me, I'm not sure I could feel the hand of God.
Without smell, I wouldn't know the cookies are almost ready or the garlic is just about there. I wouldn't have an inkling of how the rain washes the world and leaves that awesome fresh aroma that you recognize but could never capture. I wouldn't know when I needed a shower...or when anybody else did. I wouldn't be able to detect fire or skunk, and I wouldn't know when a sacrifice was pleasing to the Lord. If I couldn't smell the world around me, I'm not sure I could recognize God's sacrifice.
Without my gut, without that sixth sense, I would never dare. I would never take a risk or stand against fear because I would never know if it would be ok. I would never trust. I would never love. I would never journey or venture or go, but probably would I never stay. I would have nothing to guide me nothing to say yes or no, this or that, today or tomorrow. If I could not trust my gut, at least every now and again, I'm not sure I could ever trust my God.
God is a sensory experience for me, and I need all six of them. Otherwise, I feel like I'd be missing something awesome of my God. I imagine if I had to, if it ever came to such things, I would find a way, but it wouldn't be the same. It wouldn't be the bounty, the beauty that I am blessed with today. Maybe, as Samson said, it would somehow be more, but I can't even fathom that; today is enough. Today is overwhelming. Could there ever be more?
Lord as my Shepherd, may I never find out.