Progressive Revelation


“Progressive Revelation is a movement from truth to more truth and so to full truth.”

– Alec Motyer

If you google Progressive Revelation you’ll find a series of definitions, all referencing God’s revelation of Himself in Scripture. Of those, I like Mr. Motyer’s best. It leaves room for God’s voice outside of Scripture alone, that growing revelation that takes the truth of scripture, and through life, makes it breathe by the Spirit.

For those who read my last post you’ll recognize a theme here, that of discovery. I believe this concept of progressive revelation is what should mark both the life and the anticipation of a Christ follower. We live. We journey. And along the way we come face to face with God again and again that we may know him more.

Sometimes it is in the manner of the mural, a scene we return to over and over again. Each time we visit we find a deeper understanding and appreciation of who God is, and sometimes more importantly who we are to God. I still remember an illustration from Oswald Chambers. He likened our revelation to a staircase. God will repeatedly bring us back to the next step until we take it, and then we can move another step closer. Time and again growing closer and closer to Him.

That said, the answers we get are not always the answers we seek. I came across a line in my journal earlier today. I wrote it down after finding news of the death of Rachel Held Evans. She was a writer I followed a few years ago. A writer who challenged my own closely held ideas and forced me to explore issues of faith from a different perspective. I don’t know if these words are my own, but I am challenged by them.

‘Christianity isn’t all about answers. Sometimes it’s about living with the questions.’

Progressive revelation is the result of engaging with life. Life can be beautiful, and it can be ugly and cruel. Life can be crystal clear at moments, and beyond comprehension at others. Life will raise us to great heights, and it will crush us beneath its heel. And, at least for me, this kind of living is full of questions. Far more questions than answers.

Sometimes, when it’s really hard, it’s tempting to flee. To give in to the hurt and run. We close ourselves off and refuse to take another step. If nothing else, it feels safe. But safety of that kind is an illusion. I’ve tried living it in the past, and it is a stunted and broken life bent only on survival. Living is more than just survival.

Let me leave you with two progressive revelations that have only grown deeper as I return to them time and again. When I am afraid, I lean on these truths, and I hope they will help you along the way.

One, God loves me. In a way I don’t understand. The more I delve the deeper it gets. It brings me to tears. I can’t understand it, but I know it. And I trust it.

Two, that at all times, God is present. In the darkness, in the light, in the answers and in the questions. I am never alone, and my companion is truth.

When I remember these two things, I find courage to face my fears and doubts. For the only thing that awaits me, even in the questions, is God.



I pulled into the parking garage, picked a spot and settled back to listen to one more song. I reached for the keys, took a glance at the clock and laughed.

I had an hour to kill.

I snatched up my new book and left the garage. The day was warm. Not the usual choking heat of late July, but a milder heat. Almost comfortable. I glanced around for a place to camp and quickly found it. A tree and two benches sat amidst a riot of color and sculptures at Overton Square.

I managed at least ten minutes in the shade before my mind began to wander and I gave up all hope of making any headway in my book. So I lay down, a closed book for a pillow.

And a new world opened up before me.

For a few minutes I simply enjoyed the colors. The mural was not new to me, but I had never taken the time to do more than casually take it in. Today, I drank it in, and when I’d had my fill. I checked my eyelids for holes.

My attempted nap didn’t last long. Closing my eyes only freed my mind to wander wildly about in frantic thoughts and unanswerable questions. My eyes returned to the mural, and with it, to the painted reliefs in the brick wall next to it. On then to the bare whiff of a cloud standing bright white against the sky. I tried in vain to make some image of the sparse cloud, but if any dragons or faeries resided there, they had no intention of revealing themselves to me.

I tried to rest again, only to be interrupted soon after by a sudden brightness. The orange glow behind lidded eyes turned a bright yellow and I scowled at the glare penetrating the leaves of my not so adept guardian. I examined his leaves and the large number of gaps through which the light danced.

After a time, my eyes returned to the mural with its bright colors, only to discover him staring out from the window in unremarked black and white, the Master of Suspense, Alfred Hitchcock. He looked out on the rest of us wine in hand, untouchable and imperturbable. I wondered at what he might be about and may have found my answer in the shocked expressions of the Seussian children staring out their nearby window in shock. I checked my own surroundings, but whatever set them on edge had little to do with me.

Checking my watch I found I still had ten minutes left until my appointed meeting, so I tried to drift off once again. It didn’t last. I promptly gave up and rose. I looked one last time upon my mural, for now I surely felt a bit of ownership in it, and discovered that fluorescent flowers had sprouted beneath Hitchcock’s window.

In the end, my unexpected hour held a lesson for me. I had taken the mural for granted. It wasn’t until I took time to return to it again and again, forced or otherwise, that I truly began to see it. And with every return it held something new.

I wonder what I’ll find next time.

To Chronicle the Journey

Four years ago I left my last words on this blog. So much has happened I don’t remember what prompted me to stop. Only that I did. But the path as it is so often want to do has led me back to one of my great loves – the written word.

So here I am. Fingers to keyboard and eyes fixed on the barren expanse of an open page.

I write.

One word follows another in what is at one moment a trickle and at another a cascade. These words mark my journey. They speak of who and where I am. They speak of where I have been and where I am going. They mark the meter of my passing. They share my sorrows. They share my joys. They tell of battles won and lost. They reveal my goals and aspirations. They speak of dreams. They are the persistent and deliberate beating of my heart.

For in these words…

in all I share…

in these stories is the fullness of all that I have been, all that I am and all that I hope to become.

And so I write.

I write to remember. My words bear the lessons of my years, and maybe there is a wisdom to be found in mucking about in old memories.

And I write to share. It is at times a selfish need for attention and validation. But most often, it is a gift. A gift I share with you. The honest ramblings of a soul stumbling after God in the darkness of a broken world. I can only pray that in them, you also find the shadow of His glorious light.

So welcome and well met. You too give me a gift in return. You encourage me. You inspire me. You make me better. You give me a reason to continue. After all, walking alongside others is always better than walking alone.