To what shall I compare this to? (Mathew 11, Luke 13)
Jesus was and is a master of metaphor and analogy. The Gospels are full of them.
Why do you suppose that is? Obviously, it helps in our understanding when we compare one thing to another. Our brains make connections through associations.
I believe that Jesus is speaking in analogies not just to give us mental connections but to relate to us more intimately. I think about the old definition of intimacy that I heard long ago: in-to-me-see. Analogies cause us to consider things more deeply. That is what a good coach does: he/she draws out what is inside the person by asking curious questions and it’s not just to be curious. It’s to build connection and to help the person.
I have found that the best way to listen to Jesus and allow Him to be my coach (see What is Jesus Coaching? for more information) is to talk around metaphors, pictures and analogies. I could say that He generally speaks to me in pictures. I don’t mean that I always see a picture, per se. What I do is I share my heart until I say or think about something that can be visually described. So, for example, I had a recent conversation with a friend that was a bit deflating. The word, “deflating” conjures up a picture in my mind. I continue to talk and share my heart (in-to-me-see) until I come up with a question for Jesus around that word or concept.
In my example, I didn’t feel totally “deflated,” I have just lost some air in my tires (another picture-LOL). I feel sad because I really value the relationship. The truth is that my sadness is about not being “in agreement.” That makes me feel disconnected. I continue sharing my heart until I came up with a question. I know that what I REALLY NEED is His “withness” - a “knowing” that we are in this together - and His perspective. It’s amazing how just a simple readjustment can make all the difference in the world. I have tons of experience of Him meeting me in these types of situations and getting me back on course.
I know that the question needs to be asked in a posture of Faith, Hope & Love so I review the meanings before finalizing my question. See below.
So, Jesus, my tires feel like they’ve lost air. I’d like to pull up to a gas station (old style way) and have the attendant check/fill up my tires. This is what I WANT (see What do you REALLY Want? for more discussion on this). Anyway, I recognize it sounds too easy (kindof magic-ish), but that’s what comes to mind and you have to start somewhere. Right? So I continue. Jesus, I know you have done it before and I look to you once more. Tell me more about the air in my tires and feeling disconnected - how do you want to fill my tires?
Full Disclosure: I walk away (watch a TV program and go to bed). Before I fall asleep, I start meditating on my situation again. I think: it’s not just disconnection. It’s really about feeling “separated.” I hate feeling separated. I modify the question (that can happen): How do you fill the separation gap?
Actually, I’ve had a lot of conversations with the Lord around the concept of “separation.” That’s a big discussion point for me because I’ve found that separation is the crux of the problem with the Lord. We feel alone, separated from God, and that leads to a lot of self effort, striving and performance based spirituality. Yuk! Coming away from that is wonderful!
This connection made to the concept of “separation” brings me to another Scripture: “Therefore every scribe who has become a disciple of the kingdom of heaven is like a head of a household, who brings out of his treasure things new and old.” Mathew 13:52 Essentially, when the Lord speaks, He is always adding to the conversation. “Remember, when I said this ... Well, this applies now, but now I’m adding this.”
So, I restate my question again: How do you fill the gap when there is separation? Ahh! I see (a flash in my mind’s eye) a bridge - but not any kindof bridge. It’s a bridge that fills every gap between the two sides. It’s not like a structure, but a room full of light. When you walk between the two items that were separated, you walk into a room, a room with Jesus. Both sides have access to the room. Both can visit with Jesus.
I have a lightbulb moment thinking: it’s possible for both of to visit together in the room with Jesus when there is disagreement. I think: Wow, that feels true and brings calm to my soul. The next time this happens I will visualize this picture. No more separation.
Then, I go on my walk (which is a great place to ponder things) and my understanding continues growing. I think about the room full of light and the Scripture comes to mind: In My Father’s house are many rooms; if that were not so, I would have told you, because I am going there to prepare a place for you. John 14:2 I continue pondering that and more understanding comes ...
I’ll stop there. My goal was to give you an example of how Jesus uses pictures to have a conversation. I’m not saying that is the only way He speaks, but it certainly is common. Why don’t you give it a try? Start by sharing your heart until you get to a word picture. Continue conversing around that word picture until you feel like you get to the “crux” of what you are really needing/wanting. Then, continue onto the Q4J.
Jesus, how do you want to speak to me around that picture?
The goal in asking questions of Jesus is to ask in Faith, with Hope and the goal of experiencing His Love - 1 Corinthians 13:13 (but the greatest of these is love).
Faith - Believing You are who You say You are.
Hope - Believing things can change (although recognizing it's not magic) because God is at work and more is going on than I realize.
Love - Believing You REALLY know me and WANT do to life with me, and do so regardless of what I have done or what has happened or is happening.