I definitely have a blog crush on Addie Zierman. Her writing is rich with imagery and beauty and depth and power. I am delighted to have her perspective as part of this series.
Say he comes.
Say he stands in my room, all wings and glory. White and glowing, lit with some kind of swallowed fire.
Say he says my name out loud and the walls shake with the sound of it. Say he makes a promise – the kind that changes everything. The kind that splits the world I know into before and after.
Say he says, “Nothing is impossible with God,” after he has just told me the impossible, and then, say, he fades away like smoke. Or maybe he just vanishes, just all of the sudden, and the room that was a moment ago so full of him is just as it was last night, the night before, every night of my whole normal, quiet life.
Say he comes and goes, all in the span of a few breaths.
Would I believe?
Not in the moment, of course. Because in the moment, with those wings spread wide, the holy feels so big and wild and magnificent that there’s never any room for doubt. When face to face with an angel, I imagine my heart rent with wonder, my hands opening to receive the weight of a promise made.
But then there’s the next morning. That moment when I wake in that same bed I’ve slept in every night for my entire life, and nothing seems to have changed. When the light breaks harsh into my waking eyes, when the dream world is slipping away like water, and I’m still just me.
I’ve always been so good at talking myself out of impossible things. It starts with a question – a loose thread. Did it really happen? And then I tug on it a little. Did I imagine it? Was it a dream?
I picture it again and again. I hold the moment like a photograph, and the more I touch it, the more smudged and clouded it gets. Eventually I can barely make out the image at all.
Once, a boy told me over and over again, “God told me to break up with you.” And then, “God told me to date you.” And it went around and around just like that, and somewhere in all of that shattering and reassembling, I learned to distrust the inexplicable holy experience.
It’s not that I don’t believe that God speaks; it’s just that I’ve lost faith in the human ability to hear. Tell me that God told you this or that, and I’ll give you that knowing, subtly patronizing look that I know I have. I’ll be nodding and listening, but inside, I’ll be thinking, Yeah, we’ll see.
Ask me, and I’ll tell you that I want a sign. I want an archangel to appear and shake me to my core as he tells me where to go and what to do. I want God’s voice, powerful and clear, and I want it to shake the ground I walk on. I want it to split the earth ahead of me in some cosmic way so I know I’m on the right side, headed in the right direction.
But the truth is, I’ve grown comfortable with the silence. I’ve gotten used to a low-dose voltage of God, filtered through common sense and logic. I like the way that I can rationalize a decision out loud with clear, concise points and look like I know what I’m doing.
And who can explain an angel?
Say he comes, and my whole world changes, and I have to just walk forward in a light that only I have seen. Would I do it?
Would I hold choose to know that unknowable thing. Would I follow the memory of light even when the source of it has disappeared? Would I trust a voice that I heard even after all its echoes have faded into silence?
The wild-winged moment of glory comes and goes, and the question is for all the moments after. The dark ones. The average ones. The lost ones.
I have seen. Do I believe?
Wonder: Rediscover the Christmas Story is an Advent series designed to help us pause and reflect on how amazing the stories of Jesus’ birth really are. To break through the cluttered busyness of the season and touch our hearts with the awe of what God has done. Let’s make this a season of wonder and worship, marveling together at our great God.