Paradoxology


                         by Lynette Woods

The word “paradox” comes from the Latin word “para” meaning “beyond” and the Greek word “doxa” meaning “popular opinion or belief”. In other words a paradox is beyond orthodox, beyond what is popular – or perhaps beyond what we are comfortable with because it is beyond our understanding! Our belief systems can prevent us from seeing beyond the veil of our present understanding…I see many these days who are proclaiming only one side of what is true, and while our reaction in not wanting to see or accept the other side may be understandable, if we are not adjustable we can become adamant, dogmatic and eventually blind to further truth. Often in my passion for what I have seen as a wrong emphasis in me or in others, I have reacted by going to the other extreme. Over the years Father has graciously corrected me through a very good friend who has had to say to me time and time again: “It’s not a case of either/or but both/and. Why does it have to be either this or that, why can’t it be both?”

“Either” and “or” are separating words. “Both” “and” are joining words. When we see things only as either this or that, we can divide and separate what God means to be joined. Obviously there are things which are separate and which we are not meant to join together, but I am thinking of dogmas and opinions of things we have seen which are only half of the truth or one side of the truth and therefore are not the full picture. Often we cling to these “truths” as though our Life depended on them rather than on Christ.

There are many characteristics of God given in the Bible which seem to be opposites, yet they reveal to us the many aspects of God. While they may initially appear to be opposites – a paradox – yet both are true and both need to be held in tension with each other in order to achieve a balance. We need to “note the kindness AND the severity of God” (Romans 11:22). The following is given with the prayer that Father will continue to reveal to us both His Truth AND His Grace, that we may truly know, accept and love Him as He really is rather than accepting only those things about Him which we like and understand while rejecting those we do not…

God loves AND hates
He brings mercy AND judgment
He is approachable AND unapproachable
He is a consuming fire AND rivers of living water.

God delights in spontaneity AND in order
He brings sight AND blindness
He softens hearts AND hardens them
He creates AND destroys.

He is knowable AND unknowable
He is the Word AND the Spirit
He chose us AND we chose Him
He is similar to us AND completely other.

God’s ways are hidden AND seen
He is universal AND local
He is inclusive AND exclusive
He blesses AND curses.

Christ is in heaven AND also within me.
He is the Prince of Peace AND He brings a Sword
He comes to unite AND separate
To build up AND tear down.

I have been crucified with Christ AND I take up my cross daily
I can do nothing myself AND in Him I can do anything
My relationship with Him is personal AND corporate
Both a journey AND a destination.

I am hidden in Christ AND on display for all to see
In Him I know true rest AND real work
I know the greatest joy AND the deepest sorrow
I experience liberty AND restriction.

He is my Father AND He is God
I am His child AND His servant
I am His friend AND His slave
I am free AND a prisoner.

Christ is the Son of God AND the Son of Man
His fragrance brings Life AND death
He is the Lamb AND the Lion
He is our Brother AND our King.

He is revealed
AND
is delightfully,
intriguingly,
a Mystery…

I want you woven into a tapestry of love, in touch with everything there is to know of God.
Then you will have minds confident and at rest, focused on Christ, God’s great Mystery.
All the richest treasures of wisdom and knowledge are embedded in that Mystery and nowhere else. 

(Col. 2:2,3).

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