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Sovereignty // Ross Gale

This post is a part of the Sovereignty of God Blog Series going on throughout the months of July and August. You can read about the series and see a schedule of the posts here. You can subscribe to all the posts here.

Today’s post is from Ross Gale. Ross recently graduated from Portland State with a English/Writing degree. Later this summer he begins a Masters of Fine Arts program with Seattle Pacific University in Writing. Ross and I grew up together in Keizer, Oregon and have remained good friends since high school. All of my friends talk about how we’ll be saying we knew him when, after his first book gets published.

Listening to the Wait

My name is Ross Gale and I’m a Soon To Be Famous Writer. I’ve been doing that for about three years now. I don’t recommend it to most people. It can become overwhelming with the money, popularity, and women. I just don’t have enough time to answer all my fan mail that says, “Leave me alone creep,” and “Stop calling me, we never even dated,” and “Thank you, I also think the back of my head is very attractive.”

I’m only very good at a few things: Making french toast, wiffle ball, and writing words. Sometimes words are all I have.

The truth is I don’t have the answers to hard questions: What’s worse, having milk but no rice krispey treats cereal, or having rice krispey treats cereal but no milk?

And can God make a rock so heavy that even he can’t lift it?

And how sovereign is God?

Some people know these answers. Or at least they say they know them and they write long essays about it that I imagine reading.

I guess it’s not really the answers I’m interested in.

The Hebrew word dvar means “thing” as well as “word.” Words create, characterize and sustain reality. Primary reality is linguistic. And the biblical word is not only a token of God’s unending covenant love, it is also the “real thing.” For Jews the central religious act is not incarnation but interpretation. Jewish spirituality begins and, finally, ends with the words of scripture…through interpreting the Bible, Jews create themselves over and over again. [LK]

And yet to those who knew the answers Jesus said, You are hopeless.

And to the interpreters and experts Jesus said, You are blind.

And our painful scientific, historical, hermeneutical work has one purpose only: to determine, with precision, the meaning that the text has. Nothing more. Nothing less. Science. The meaning it has. [RA]

And to us I think Jesus says, You are hopeless.

To our theologians and pastors he says, You are blind.

For whatever reason God did not choose to communicate to us through essays. The majority of scripture is stories and poems.

And stories and poems are mysterious. Stories and poems are not scientific.

If every individual was to read the scriptures as one reads a poem, alone, without any intervening voices of interpretation. Hermeneuts were to be silent, so that the believer could hear the voice of the Stranger: the inner testimony of the Holy Spirit. It’s believed that the forgotten words written in the flesh and the Word coming from the past would meet and make love — and the miracle would happen. If, by sheer grace, the Wind blew and the melody which was not there was heard, the dead would be resurrected. [RA]

When I was a junior in high school the Oregon Secretary of State Bill Bradbury visited our class. He was a tall lanky guy who brought his own directors type chair to sit in. I don’t remember anything about what he said except that in the next 300 years Oregon would be hit with a catastrophic earthquake.

And then I read in the newspaper a few months ago that scientists now believe it will happen within the next 50 years.

While Bill Bradbury was pushing for earthquake awareness and building code reform there isn’t anything you and I can do, but wait.

I think instead of finding answers we need to wait and listen.

Listen to the small voice, listen to the silence, listen to the melody, listen to the Wind.

As a poet of our scriptures writes:

I remain confident of this, I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord. Be strong and take heart. And wait for the Lord.

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  • Jan Owen

    What a beautiful, beautiful essay. You expressed how I feel so often. Thank you for a great gift to start my sabbath day!

  • godsidekurt

    So do you think God is Sovereign?

  • rossgale

    yes i do

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  • David

    I feel really privileged to have read some of your words before you’re famous. Thanks.

    • Tyler

      haha, that’s awesome.

  • Jeff Patterson

    Well written and provocative, Ross. Truth and God — and His utter awesomeness — are much bigger than us. I’d love to master His Words, but more than that: to be mastered by Him.

    Perhaps instead of “instead of finding answers we need to wait and listen” — could we say, “in all our searching for answers we need to wait and listen to Him” ?

    (Of course, that would be my trying to edit your poem. Sorry for vandalizing it.)

    God is smart, He has spoken, and we don’t have to wonder if He’s said something to us. God revealed in a Book, God come to us in a Bod (Jesus). Should any search for truth, in whatever artistic or scientific way, be separated from these?

    I speak not as a professional theologian, but as a pastor, and as a searcher for truth, who didn’t grow up believing any of this.

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