If there were no obscurity, man would not be sensible of his corruption; if there were no light, man would not hope for a remedy. Thus, it is not only fair, but advantageous to us, that God be partly hidden and partly revealed; since it is equally dangerous for man to know God without knowing his own wretchedness, as to know his own wretchedness without knowing God.
Pascal’s Penseés #585
This week has been wretched. Or rather, this week has shown me to be wretched. I wrote earlier of being chastised by a friend, and also in my reflections on Scripture I noticed myself to be offended, even repulsed at Jesus. Is this an inappropriate response? Is it unfaithfulness? Have I shown myself to be apart from Christ?
I find comfort in Pascal’s reflections on this point. In the brief statement above, he examines why there is some hiddenness in God. For many there is much of God which is self evident, be that in creation or in experience or in philosophy. There are some parts of God which seem clear to all. However there is something more.
It is this something more which Pascal places in obscurity. It is this something more of which I have fallen short, and failed to see and cherish. In my unbelief, I have not manifested the life of Christ in my actions and relationships. I know it is there, but it is hidden from me.
Why? So that I might know my wretchedness.
In this God has shown me a kindness. This is the kindness of preventing me from believing myself to be better than him. Yet the sweetest kindness is that of knowing God’s forgiving grace given for that wretchedness.
So though I know myself to be wretched, I know all the more God’s greater goodness which covers such a wretch.