Since the beginning of the beginning, the dawn of our kind, there has been an undetermined debate pitched from side to side in the intellectual court. Many affirm that a treasure hold of knowledge has been lost somewhere within the fathoms of time or destroyed long ago in an unparalleled catastrophe. It is uncertain when this happened or why, only that it did. Now here we are, hands and knees scraping in the dirt and dust constantly trying to grasp the broken fragments of what was once a divine tower-bridge built from words that had meaning and where knowledge meant feeling in the most heavenly way. Nothing was misunderstood, the sublime and the sorry ambled together in a synchronized step. As divine order gave way to mortal chaos we were turned away with nothing in our hearts but a question that continually seeks to make its way back to the answer.
What is God like?
Some will say that God is like justice, bringing forth the truth of judgment, ready to purge the world of all that is unworthy. Some will say that God is like mercy, flowing as fragrant, healing waters to the weary and the downtrodden. Then again, some will say that God is like love, a mother gently brushing the escaping hair off her child’s face with such affection that it captures all of your senses, your soul, and your heart and forces you to stop and wonder how something so ordinary can suggest something so extraordinary. Yet I find myself distressed by the abstractness of it all. Could not my mercy be your justice and your love be my justice? So, do we settle with this? Or is there perhaps other ways of drawing out the characteristics of God?
I turn to the greatest poet of all time, the heart, for instruction in such a matter. And this is what it told me: God is like that song on the radio. You know the one I’m talking about, everyone has one and it’s different every time. It is not the song itself where you find God but the encounter; it’s unexpected, undeserved, but needed all the same. You’re alone driving in your car or perhaps not; it only matters that eternal serenity has enveloped everything and has driven away all care. It begins with somber silence, and then that song comes on. You are suddenly pulled down into the depths of that eternal serenity and confronted with the reality of its truth and peace. You are guarded by it as everything that has been buried comes to the surface, riding along the melody. As the harmonies wash over you and circulate through your veins, so that the furthest reaches of your being are ravished by a touching embrace, you wonder how you had gone this long being so empty. You realize then that you’ve needed this song long before it ever came on. What you can’t explain is understood so there is no longer any urge to try to do so. There is no space for understanding or knowing, there is room only for faith by which the heart knows and becomes known.
It’s a familiar song even if you have never heard it before. Like an old friend it never forgets to anticipate what it is you need. It is rare, you don’t hear it often but its scarcity does not undermine its power but deepens the reconstructive sensation of the encounter. Nothing else exists outside of this moment. You lose all circumstance and become lost in the reality of a dreaming world. You have never encounter something so exact, where need is substantially met, and nothing has been presented to you more flawlessly. That is what God is like. God is like that song on the radio.