I have a real problem getting Apple’s ear buds to stay in my ears (#firstworldproblems, I know), so I usually just run without music. As I pounded my way through the neighborhood this morning, I had a David Crowder Band song stuck in my head. Actually, I don’t know if it’s originally by David Crowder Band, but it’s called “How He Loves.” It’s not a song you’d normally want to run to, but there wasn’t anything I could do. I haven’t heard it in weeks.
He is jealous for me
Loves like a hurricane — I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.
Wait wait wait. Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree?
Pardon me for just realizing this after having sung that song for years now, but…that’s not a reassuring image. Have you seen pictures of the damage that hurricanes inflict? I do not want to be caught in a hurricane, let alone be a tree in a hurricane.
I wonder if they sing this song in New Orleans, where Hurricane Katrina wrought destruction seven years ago. And it’s certainly not a good metaphor for anyone who lives in Florida or Louisiana right now. “Hurricane Isaac is coming — but it’s okay, just imagine you’re experiencing God’s love! God’s love is like a hurricane.”
…no. Just no.
But then, in that particular way only your mind can torture you, that line wouldn’t leave. It just got stuck: Loves like a hurricane, loves like a hurricane, loves like a hurricane. Still 2 miles from home. Not helpful.
And then I got to thinking that maybe this unhelpful-metaphor concept is, in a lot of ways, bigger than just my image of God as a hurricane. After all, we use battlefield metaphors and spiritual warfare language to describe the cosmos, even though we know that war, in reality, is terrible. Destruction — whether natural like a hurricane or human-inflicted — seems like a horrifying way to describe the way God loves or the way God will redeem us.
But maybe God is so great and so good and so beyond everything we experience that God redeems our metaphors.
I’m still trying to wrap my mind around a God who is bigger than language. Maybe there’s a reason we use metaphors. And maybe God is bigger — better and more real — than they’ll ever be.