Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Wet Dogs, Rainbows, and the Holy Spirit

Do rainbows exist? We see them many times in the midst of a storm or fight after the hardest of rains. Red, orange, yellow, blue, indigo, violet. Beautiful colors, vivid stunning...bending across the sky. Each display represents the promises of God, of stunning grace, mercy and redemption.
But guess what. Dogs cannot see rainbows. If they look into the sky, they can not see it. Try hard as they can, they cannot because they are color blind. All that beauty God has placed in the sky, missed, because they do not have the eyes to see it. To them, the rainbow does not exist, has never existed, and will not exist in the future because they cannot see it.

But it is there. The light reflects through each solitary rain drop, billions of drops each reflect the colors, like tiny prisms, creating a masterpiece of God. But to dogs, it is nothing but rain, sunlight and wet fur. Nothing but wet dog smell. That’s it. That is all they will ever know about rainbows. Just because they can’t see them does not mean they don’t exist.

Are we this way with the Holy Spirit, the presence of God? Is it any wonder dogs are often used to illustrate us in the New Testament? Examples: Matthew 7.6 states ‘Don’t give dogs what is holy and don’t throw your pearls to the pigs. If you do they may trample them under their feet, then turn and attack you.’

Want more? Revelation 22.15, Phillippians 3.2, and II Peter 2.22. Who are the dogs? Those who aren’t changed by God. They are those who can’t see or hear God, like dogs, are blind to something that is right there, tangible to those who can see. Dogs ignore what they can’t sense. ‘Dog faith’ must see empirical evidence before belief.

I grew up with the statement ‘I’ll believe it when I see it." I like the reformulates statement, ‘I’ll see it when I believe it.’ That is the problem with dogs. They won’t respond to what they can’t see (or smell). The whole point of faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.’ Depending on empirical evidence is not faith. If you can see it it is not faith. Believing things through the eyes of faith is different than understanding things when there is tangible evidence to support it.

On a similar note, infants and toddlers must be exposed to countless colors, shapes, patterns and textures or their brain will never develop the ability to perceive those things later in life. We must be exposed to those things to actually develop our ability to see them. Once exposed, our brains are able to make the necessary neural connection to perceive it in the future.

Perhaps as spiritual toddlers, we were not exposed to see things from spiritual eyes. We were not trained to experience the presence of God. Many (me included) were trained to rationally understand God and to good for others, but I was not trained to experience the Holy Spirit. And maybe that keeps us from believing what is obvious to those who have been trained to see Him. Be very careful criticizing those who can see the Spirit or exhibit spiritual gifts outside your comfort zone.

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