Recently I was rereading a favorite novel written by James A. Michener in 1949 called “The Fires of Spring”. I’ve been troubled by the following passage since:
“… She sat still and intent. Suddenly her right arm shot out quicker than David’s eye could follow. She had caught a fly. Methodically she ripped off its wings and placed the flightless creature upon her barren table. Then, with a finger of spit, she drew a wide circle about the dismembered fly. Composed and calm, she watched the fly as it stumbled about the table top. As long as the fly stayed within its circle, which was ample, the mad woman followed it patiently, with her great eyes rolling this way or that. But when the fly once touched the forbidden line, the old woman’s face clouded in anger. Then she raised her right hand and with a brutal spatulate finger crushed the fly.
Then, like a spider, she waited until another fly came into her ken. Flashingly she would snatch it from the air. Wingless the fly would wander across the surface of his restricted world. It was free until it transgressed the line. Then the horrible forefinger ended all feeble wanderings.”
The reason this disturbs me is it’s such a clear description of what we’ve been taught about God. How many times have you been warned to “stay under God’s covering” or “obedience is God’s love language”? Which is another way of saying God loves you when you’re following the rules. You’ve probably learned God has favorites and other forms of blessing theology as well. (If you follow this link please read the 5th post first, then up the page from there.)
In the story we can easily see the woman is mad yet somehow we accept this same behavior from God because He can do whatever He wants. Jesus tells us, “He who has seen Me has seen the Father.” Let that sink in for a minute. Is He letting Phillip know what he’s been taught is all wrong? Did Christ ever treat anyone like the fly? I guess He did get angry one time in the temple but wasn’t that anger directed at those who were profiting from folks being taught to obey or else?
Jesus came to prove God’s love for you, to show you no matter who you are or what you do, His love doesn’t change. He wants you to know Him, really know Him and it breaks His heart when we picture Him anything like the lady in the story. The truth is God gave us wings and all of creation to enjoy and explore. Please don’t let others remove your wings because of their need for control.