Friday, June 16, 2023

God Who Teaches

One day, you will meet Jesus face-to-face. That much is promised. And we are given these images that when that day comes, we will fall at His feet, probably clutching them. Crying for mercy. Confessing our sins. Begging and pleading with Him for forgiveness (which, by the way, He's already given us, so He will find this likely very strange). Pleading with Him for Heaven. 

We will be hopelessly crumpled at His feet, unable to stand. Unable to speak. Unable to do anything but to...grovel and weep and hope and beg and hang on with whatever feeble strength we might have left in that moment. 

Sound familiar? Do you have this sort of image in your head of the day that you will bow at His feet?

What if this is not what it will be like at all?

There's a very clear image in the Bible of what happens when we fall at the feet of Jesus, and it's not groveling. It's not begging. It's not weeping. 

It's learning. 

When we find ourselves at the feet of God, He teaches us. 

This is how teaching used to work in the ancient world. A student would come and sit at the feet of a teacher and soak up everything that the teacher had to say, every bit of wisdom that the teacher had to impart. A person knew, when someone came to sit at their feet, that they were someone seeking. Seeking wisdom, seeking knowledge, seeking perspective, seeking hope, seeking whatever. 

There was a burden on the teacher, then, to provide for the student. To answer the student's question that was asked simply by the sitting, simply by being there at the teacher's foot. It required humility, the willingness to take the time to engage the student. It required interpersonal commitment, a willingness to connect with the one who has come to seek. It required that the teacher be willing to teach, to take this seeker under his wing and journey together for awhile. 

This is the reaction God has to us when He finds us at His feet. See, He doesn't see us there to beg. He doesn't see us there to grovel. He doesn't like the idea that we think we'll fling ourselves at His mercy by throwing ourselves at His feet and refusing to let go. 

No, He sees us as seekers. He sees us as persons with questions. He sees us as students who recognize what this teacher has to offer us. He sees us as wanting to learn, wanting to grow, wanting to hope, wanting to understand. 

And He welcomes us at His feet like any good teacher would welcome any earnest student. 

This changes the image that I have of what that final day will look like. We hear so much about weeping and gnashing of teeth and begging for friends, Heaven is secured for me. That was done 2,000 years ago, and no amount of my begging or groveling is going to matter. How silly we are. 

But when I see this image, this promise of God that when we are at His feet, He teaches us, it changes how I see that day. No longer am I a beggar, but a student. No longer a pleader, but a learner. In that day, it won't be me trying to convince God of anything; it will be Him teaching me all of the things I always wanted to know, answering my deep questions, being patient with me, and starting a new phase of the journey together. 

This image, this changes everything.  

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