Food for thought:

Consider This by John Fischer


Tell all the truth but tell it slant–
Success in circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm delight
The truth’s superb surprise
As lightening to the children eased
With explanation kind
The truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind.

–Emily Dickinson

Leak the truth slowly. Parcel it out in manageable portions. Don’t tell it all at once. Don’t put it all into one song or one performance. The mind cannot grasp but a portion of truth at one time. Circle the truth, just out of reach. Put it where not everyone can get to it. Let those experience the joy of discovery who are hungry enough to search.

Learn from the Master Storyteller who hid His story in the lives of men and women who didn’t even know it was there. They were only making it through another day, just as you and I are living lives of faith even when we are looking through a dark glass. (Perhaps someone will read our stories someday.)

Learn from the Master Storyteller, who, when He came to tell the story Himself, told it, but told it slant. He told other stories than His own. He pointed to Moses and the prophets, and Jonah and the whale, when they wanted some kind of sign from Him about who He was. When they wanted to know what He was going to do, He told them He would destroy the temple and rebuild it in three days. He told stories when they wanted to know specifics–stories about farmers and merchants and workers in the field and vineyards and lamps on stands. And when it came to His own story, He lived it more than He told it. He lived it while everyone watched.

Learn from the Master Storyteller, who never gave an interviewer a straight answer. When they asked Him questions, He questioned them back. He put words in their mouths. He made them answer their own questions. He made them responsible for finding what they were looking for. He told them that if they were to see and hear the truth, they would need different eyes and ears for it than the ones they were born with.

Now we see that God has actually been playing hide and seek with us all along. It is the glory of God to conceal a matter (Proverbs 25:2), meaning that this hiding of truth runs right along with the nature of God’s glory. This is not a game for His own sadistic entertainment. He has reasons for hiding. He doesn’t put himself on display for just anyone. This hiding of His truth is a vital part of his glory. It’s to His credit that He is not obvious about His matters. If truth is made obvious, His character is demeaned. God finds glory in concealment for the same reason no one can look at His face. If we could assimilate His glory, we would have to be His equal. And we are not. We are only dazzled, at best.

That’s why you can stare at God’s revelations of Himself and never see anything unless you are earnestly looking for Him, and even then, you might not see Him right away. Think of all the people who must have looked right into the eyes of God when Jesus was here and never knew it. “Tell all the truth but tell it slant,” says Emily Dickinson, and what she means is to take a cue from God and be a little indirect. Make her work for it. Use irony, understatement,
hyperbole, parable, even sarcasm. Bury the truth a little. Make her dig. Or put it just beyond her grasp so she has to get up out of her comfortable chair to get it. Better yet, deliver it but don’t ring the doorbell. Make her stumble over it on the way out.

Because: to search out a matter is the glory of kings (the rest of Proverbs 25:2). Which means that we find our nobility in the process of looking for God’s truth. If it’s God’s glory to hide it, it is our glory to go after it. To make this too easy–to rob someone of the quest–is to rob them of their chance at nobility. Don’t take this away from anyone.
Putting the truth where no one has to stretch for it is as demeaning to our glory as it is to God’s.

Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces. (Matthew 7: 6). This would seem to indicate that God wants us to use the same care in handling the truth as He does. If He has gone to great lengths to conceal matters for His glory, we need to treat His revealed truth with similar respect.

Like God, we need to be masters of compelling concealment–hiding the truth, while at the same time, inviting a search. It’s a little like when you were a child playing hide and seek, and you actually wanted to be found because you had more fun being “it” than hiding in the dark. You might want to make a few noises when someone passes by, just to let them know the general area to look in. You might leave clues the way God has done with His universe. Hide the truth. Tuck it into a metaphor or an allegory, but not so far in that it cannot be retrieved. Let it call out from its hiding place to all who care to seek. Just don’t be too obvious. Oversimplifying truth profanes God’s glory.

And don’t blame dogs and pigs for turning on you if you feed them.

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