From Philip Yancey…
For two weeks one winter I holed up in a mountain cabin in Colorado. I brought along a suitcase full of books and notes, but opened only one of the books: the Bible. I began in Genesis and when I finally made it to Revelation I had to call for a truck to unbury the driveway.
The combination of snow-muffled stillness, isolation from all people, and singular concentration changed forever the way I read the Bible. Above all else, this is what struck me in my daily reading: in theology books you will read of God’s omnipotence, omniscience, and impassibility. Those concepts can be found in the Bible, but they are well buried and must be mined. Simply read the Bible and you will encounter not a misty vapor but an actual Person. God feels delight and anger and frustration. Again and again God is shocked by human behavior. Sometimes, after deciding on one response, God “changes his mind.”
If you read the Bible straight through, as I did, you cannot help being overwhelmed by the joy and the anguish – in short, the passion – of the Lord of the Universe. True, God “borrows” images from human experience to communicate in a way we can comprehend, but surely those images point to an even stronger reality behind them.
Jeremiah affected me more than any other book. The image of a wounded lover in Jeremiah is an awesome one that I cannot comprehend. Why would the God who created all that exists willingly become subject to such humiliation from creation? I was haunted by the reality of a God who lets our response matter that much.
When we tame God, in words and concepts filed away under alphabetized characteristics, we can easily lose the force of the passionate relationship God seeks above all else. There may be no greater danger to those of us who write, talk, or even think about God. Mere abstractions, to God, may be the cruelest insult of all.
After two weeks of reading the entire Bible, I came away with the strong sense that God doesn’t care so much about being analyzed. Mainly – like any parent, like any lover – God wants to be loved.
~ From I was Just Wondering (153-57)