Addicted to the Spectacular
April 21, 2008
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J. I. Packer references something fellow author Dallas Willard wrote with the theme of being “addicted to the spectacular.” I found the phrase intriguing — “being addicted to the spectacular.” Earlier Packer refers to it as “lusting after the spectacular.”
We read the Biblical accounts of the great saints and we yearn for the kinds of miracles they experienced. It must have made God seem so obvious, so real. How we wish for miracles today! Certainly miracles can still occur, no doubt about that. Should we yearn for them? I think we should keep a couple of facts in mind. First of all, the Bible collects together stories that happened over centuries. It’s not that they happend every day. Even the spiritual greats of the Bible sometimes went a long time without a miracle. Second, since we have their accounts and can have our faith strengthened by those recorded miracles, God shouldn’t have to repeat Himself if He doesn’t want to.
Again, God can and does do miracles (I’m convinced that life itself is an ongoing miracle that we’re just so used to seeing that we no longer see it as miraculous). What I’m getting at is that we can miss so much of what God is doing and wants to do because we’re waiting for something bigger to happen. Packer quotes Dallas Willard who comments on how the desire for always wanting a big and obvious miracle “generally goes along with the less mature levels of the spiritual life…” We’re sort of like children, always wanting to be wowed and impressed, otherwise we’ll lose interest and be bored. Ouch! I don’t want to be immature in Christ but mature in Christ!
Most of our life in Christ will be played out on the stage of ordinary days. The day-to-dayness of life offers abundant opportunities to sense God’s presence, to be guided by Him and to seize occasions to carry out His will. This was even true of the Biblical greats. The apostle Paul had many exciting experiences with healings, being led out of prison, etc. What we also need to keep in mind, however, is that he spent many a day trudging on foot or sailing by ship to get where he was going on his long missionary journeys. It wasn’t all excitement. Then, again, who wants some of the excitement he had — being beaten, jailed, going hungry, dealing with a storm at sea, etc!
Sometimes ordinary days aren’t so bad. Sometimes they give us the best opportunity to live for the Lord.