Have you heard of the “Allegory of the Cave”? I can’t remember if it was Plato or Socrates that came up with this allegory; I’m just someone that appreciates it’s message. I’ll give you a quick summary (forgive me if I get some details wrong) …
A person has lived in a cave their whole life stuck in chains facing the same wall of the cave. On that wall he sees these beautiful shapes that move across it back and forth every night. During his whole life these shapes have been there and it’s all he has known. However, one day he is freed from the chains and for the first time he is able to turn around and see that there are people dancing around a fire! This person now realizes that the shapes moving across the cave wall were something more than just shapes, but the shadows of those dancers. A day before those shapes on the wall were real but the extent of the person’s understanding was limited to his experience, and now a new reality has been revealed and he understands so much more!
Now, Plato (or Socrates, but I think it was Plato) used this allegory to describe how education and the pursuit of intelligence can change a person. But I want to hijack it to express a person’s relationship with God.
I have grown to love this allegory more and more because I believe it expresses something about how our humanness (or sinfulness) keeps us from understanding and knowing God. When we take the time (and I mean a substantial amount of time, involving sacrifice of daily productivity for the sake of getting to know God better-because it really does function somewhat like a normal relationship) anyways, when we take some intentional time to get to know God he is able to reveal more of himself to us. Again, I have found much deeper levels of my husband, Nathan’s heart 7 years later from the time we just hung out as friends due to the fact that we live together!
And I use the word reveal very intentionally to express getting to know God better. Because I’m not learning about him like I learned facts about the first Prime Minister of Canada, Sir John A. Macdonald (yup, I’m Canadian :)). Nor is it even an emotional experience like a bible camp “high” or an emotional explosion. It’s something a little harder to explain because the supernatural work of God is in a whole other category.
But, I will take a leap here and try to explain the supernatural experience of getting to know God, (with the risk of sounding overly abstract and maybe a little crazy :)).
It’s this mind-boggling, mind-blowing epiphany where I know I have found what life is all about and why this world was made; because God. Because God is sovereign and creator and now somehow I’m supposed to live here in a life of distraction (and I’ll go further to say a lot of it is deception) while knowing that there is something so much more important and truer going on in God’s “invisible” world around us. God revealing himself to me is like realizing something is much more true than anything I have known, it’s like understanding there are shapes on the cave wall, and then spinning around to see that there is an actual source from which those shapes came from.
And this abstract, supernatural revelation goes deeper and deeper still, because there is more reality waiting outside the cave! There is a mountain that the cave exists in, a town full of civilization living down in the valley, oceans, deserts, deep sea fish and don’t even get me started about the expanse of Space! Beyond believing there is a God, knowing about what Jesus did, falling in love with God on a relational level, there is still more. More than emotional relationship. It’s a different category of knowing God because he is generous enough to bless us with part of his super-naturalness.
And this revelation is just waiting for people to seek out more of God!
But why does this matter?
I don’t think we understand why God wants us to pursue him, we just think we know why our church leaders want us to do all that (it’s an important discipline to be more like Christ/better people). And there are a hundred reasons why people don’t even believe in any of the gods out there. But God wants us, loves us, and wants to blow our minds with how much of himself he’ll show us before we even get to heaven. And I will strongly state that Jesus’ message was not a “Kingdom of God” that we get to experience later in heaven, it is something he wants us to experience right away. We are meant to be in deeper relationship with God now.
I’ve added some pictures in an attempt to share my own allegory of color. Because why not use my passion for photos to share my testimony! There are some animals that cannot see, some that can, but not in color. Yet it does not mean color does not exist, they just don’t know about it. There are many animals that can see different wave lengths than us, like thermal energy. There is even more out there that exists although we don’t see or know about it, we must open ourselves to the concept that we don’t know everything (myself obviously included), is it possible there is something more that God wants to show you?