October 15th, 2004


Tension and Word

Where Scripture and experience clash, do not run away from the tension. Let it become the energizer of earnest prayer. In the Christian life you need more tension, not less, if you are to do the will of God.

Tension is the bête noire of modern life. We are supposed to avoid it all costs. We are given drugs and psychotherapy to reduce our tensions. We practice yoga, TM, take long walks, rearrange our schedules—all with a view to keeping our terrible adversary at bay. There are even "Christian" ways of going about the same thing.

I would not condemn all our efforts. Some tension is needless and destructive. But tension in spiritual things can be creative and life-producing. As Daniel grappled with the tension between God's Word and "reality" [Daniel 9:1-19] he made no attempt to ease his personal inner state. He did not turn to the Lord as a form of psychotherapy. So far as he knew, his appeal to God might well have caused tension to increase. His approach was purposive. He clearly determined that "reality" of the world around must be made to conform with the reality of God's Word. He was, as it were, prepared to settle down to see the matter through to a conclusion, whatever the cost might prove. He would give himself to prayer, to supplications, even to fasting, until some resolution was reached. Sensing his own possible guilt and responsibility in the conflict between what was and what should have been, he donned sackcloth (a sign of mourning) and poured ashes over his head. Daniel was playing no religious game. He meant business. The tension in his soul was driving him to find a solution at any cost.

—John White, Daring to Draw Near
  • Current Mood
    relaxed relaxed