Everything was in bloom. I tried to ignore my stinging eyes while I swept little white petals on the sidewalk near my house.
The word popped into my head. Obfuscate. I don’t know what that means. Often, I hear God as a thought passing through. I put my broom aside and pick up my phone.
Google says it’s a verb that means: to render obscure, unclear, or unintelligible. Hm. I wonder what that’s all about?
Obfuscate. Similar words are to muddle or complicate. Something that makes it more difficult to understand. And the phrase, obstruction of justice, comes to mind. Oh, I get it. Obfuscate is to obscure, to make something unclear, as in murky water.
When Pearl and I went swimming in Lake Illopango in El Salvador, the water was murky. At the time, Pearl was 15 years old and I was 13 years old. I didn’t know you could have sea weed in a lake. Pearl challenged me to a race which was so typical of our relationship. I thought it would be like swimming in a pool.
We jumped into the lake. The race is on! If I swim at my top speed, I might keep up with Pearl. She’s bigger and stronger. Suddenly I feel something wrap around my legs. I stopped right in the middle of a huge batch of sea weed. I looked in every direction; I’m surrounded on all sides. Pearl is also stuck in the sea week. She yells at me, “Let’s get out of here!”
What is sea weed doing here? As I tread water, I feel sea weed on my arms, legs and feet. This feels creepy. Don’t panic, I tell myself. I’m sure it’s just sea weed and not some snake or lake monster. I swam with all my might, hoping to escape the sea weed before I exhausted myself. I did, so did Pearl.
The reason I couldn’t see the sea weed is because the lake was murky, a deep greenish color. It wasn’t like the crystal-clear beaches of El Salvador where you can see the ocean floor.
After a few days of meditating on the word obfuscate, this is where my thoughts led me.
Jesus got mad at the Pharisees because they made it difficult for people to enter the kingdom of God. See Matthew 23. They obfuscated the word of God. They made it unclear and muddled things.
I don’t think I’m better than Pharisees. I’m capable of being just like them. And I don’t want to be. I want to learn from them. As Benjamin Corey put it in his book Unafraid, “Pharisees were book-centered, not Jesus-centered.”
I want to be Jesus-centered because a relationship with him gives me a richness of life. I find hope and strength in it. I want others to have this same richness, hope and strength.
In simplest terms, the Bible was given to connect people to Jesus. Read what Jesus said:
You search the Scriptures because you think they give you eternal life. But the Scriptures point to me! Yet your refuse to come to me to receive this life. John 5:39-40
The story we see unfold in the Bible is not that different from what we find in a good novel: as the story progresses, we get clearer and clearer glimpses of the true identity of the main character. Benjamin Corey in Unafraid. (Kindle Locations 1155-1157). HarperCollins.
The one simple truth about the Bible is that it points to the main character, Jesus. As much as I enjoy a good discussion on doctrine and the finer points of theology, the real point of the Bible is Jesus.
We are invited to connect with him, listen to him and follow him. For more on listening to Jesus, check out this post. This is a heart activity and a spiritual one. Doctrine and theology are head activities. Some things you can only know with your heart.
I want to be clear, crystal clear like the beach. The Bible points to Jesus and I don’t have to complicate or obfuscate it.