“Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised; and His greatness is unsearchable.” Psalm 145:3
I do not claim to be an expert on any of these cultures at all. Just wanted to share a few glimpses from our vacation experiences…
*The Middle East*
Taking a break from playing with her dolls, the three-year-old girl is struck by a thought. “Jews do not love the Qur’an.” “That’s right, dear,” her grandmother replies, “So where does that mean they go?” Curly head tilted up, the girl replies, “To hell.”
This interlude occurred as Heather and I were visiting with a Palestinian refugee family. It was interesting getting to see how a traditional Muslim family entertains guests, with hospitality being such a vital part of the culture. I, personally, love that aspect of Middle Eastern living! We arrived mid-afternoon and were ushered into a separate room where we could talk with the ladies of the home. We were soon made to eat MORE than a full meal regardless of the fact that we had just had a delicious lunch AND had supper plans. :P The family made us feel very welcome.
Not only is it culturally expected that you look super cute every time you walk out of your door, but most people in Spain are offended if you ask them about their spiritual beliefs without having a very good relationship with them first. While politics and intimate romantic details can be first time conversation pieces, you couldn’t possibly be so impudent ask someone if they know God!
This is a beautiful land. I got to talk with a man from North Africa and as he told me stories, I exclaimed, “God is so good!” The believer looked at me and explained that there is a phrase he uses in Arabic about God in these situations. There is no direct translation, but the closest it comes out to is “God is so dangerous.”
I love C.S. Lewis’ Narnia books. In The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, a girl asks about Aslan (the God figure in the series) – as to whether He is safe. “Safe?” Comes the reply. “Who said anything about safe? 'Course he isn't safe. But he's good. He's the King, I tell you.”
My friends, our God is unfathomably great. And we have the utmost joy and privilege to serve a God who is not “safe,” but dangerous and good. “[God] who does great things, and unsearchable, marvelous things without number” (Job 5:9). This is the One we serve.