A World of Similitudes

Please indulge my ponderings today. I was recently reading a novel where the author* was describing the dream-state of the main character. As part of his musings, the phrase “a world of similitudes” was used.

I had to stop reading for a minute; think about that phrase; and ask the question, “Is this what we are all experiencing today? A world of similitudes?”

To understand, let’s first define a similitude. Webster’s Dictionary is helpful here with various shades of meaning. 1a – counterpart, double. 1b – a visible likeness: image. 2 – an imaginative comparison: simile. 3a – correspondence in kind or quality. 3b – a point of comparison.

Are we experiencing a sort of mirror image of what life was like, is like, or should be like? “An imaginative comparison?”

There but Not There

After these months of sheltering in place, not traveling, and not gathering in-person with others on a regular basis, it can create a numbness of being here, but really not–at the same time. I’ve joked with others on the phone that I can struggle to remember what day of the week it is.

I stand before the medicine cabinet each morning with a prescription bottle in hand. “Take one every M-W-F” are the instructions. “But what day is it?” Is today Thursday or Friday?

So many time-stamps of life are missing.

Wrestling with the Dawn

And yet, “Today is the day the Lord has made. Let us rejoice and be glad in it.” True words are found in the first sentence. An admonition in the second because we can forget so easily.

As writers called to grapple with the messages impressed upon us and to craft them with excellence, we feel the weight of responsibility.

I call that “wrestling with the dawn.” Each morning we must wrestle with another assault on our liberty, another assault on the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, another assault on our safety, another assault on our health, another assault on our financial security. Makes one want to crawl back under the comforter and close the curtains.

But we cannot. We should not. We will not.

Instead, we rise up and shake off the morose shadows of the night. We face the day armed with the weapons of light with which we have been gifted. Our words.

“You are the light of the world…. Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5: 14, 16).

That World of Similitudes

Yes, we do live in a world of similitudes. We are “in the world but not of it.” So why am I surprised when the enemy places a weight of heaviness on my shoulders, nay, on my soul? It should be expected. We carry the light of the gospel with us, for we are united with Christ and the Holy Spirit dwells in us. The world would rather walk in darkness than admit it is not the architect of its fate.

Let us ne’er forget. When the darkness descends, it is only a precursor of the dawn.

“The light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. For at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light. The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shined. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Then shall your light break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up speedily; your righteousness shall go before you; the glory of the Lord shall be your rear guard.

You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light. For God, who said, ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.”

[John 3:19; John 1:5; Eph. 5:8; Is. 9:2; Rom. 13:22; Is. 58:8; 1 Pet. 2:9; 2 Cor. 4:6]

___________

*Dune by Frank Herbert (Chilton Book Company, 1965), page 376.


36 Responses to A World of Similitudes

  1. Avatar
    L.G. McCary July 27, 2020 at 5:03 am #

    “Instead, we rise up and shake off the morose shadows of the night. We face the day armed with the weapons of light with which we have been gifted. Our words.”
    Amen. I’ve barely left my house since March. As a mom of four, the days have bled together like a watercolor painting left in the rain, and I identify with that heaviness you described. Taking up my pen to write often feels like taking up arms. I’m weary, but more than ever I see how important it is to write and speak the truth.

  2. Avatar
    OLUSOLA SOPHIA ANYANWU July 27, 2020 at 5:27 am #

    Thanks for this brilliant piece Steve, which blessed me as always. It reveals how quick and intuitive your mind is. The bit about ‘wrestling with the dawn’ made me remember Jacob who wrestled with an angel all night till dawn. At the end of it all, he achieved a blessing which changed his name and his destiny.
    Just like our writing experience, we grapple with the message God has given us. We wrestle with words, ideas, concepts and imaginations for a period of time[night] but at the end of the ‘ wrestling’ , a blessing comes out in the shape of those beautiful messages from God that bless humanity.
    God is indeed awesome. Joy comes in the morning and like you rightly said, the darkness is the precursor of dawn. Thank you for the reminder that whenever darkness descends, we must not forget that God has said ‘Let there be Light’ and it will always shine out of the darkness.
    How encouraging. God bless you Steve.

  3. Avatar
    Jeannie Delahunt July 27, 2020 at 5:32 am #

    Great uplifting post!!!

    Much needed!!! Thank you!!!!!

    We soldier on!!!

  4. Avatar
    Brennan S. McPherson July 27, 2020 at 5:33 am #

    This year has been horrific. Myriad cataclysms on both a societal and personal level. Death in the family, brother’s cancer diagnoses, my daughter getting deathly ill, and now having to go under for 2 hours (as a three year old) for an operation, intense and unrealistic work pressures, including the threat of losing my job and losing payment for a large writing project, the list goes on and on. And it’s sort of been that way for everyone I know. This has been the surreal year. Christ is the light that blows away the shadows. The book of Psalms has never meant so much to me. Particularly the ones that I thought sounded “emo.”

    • Avatar
      Andrew Budek-Schmeisser July 27, 2020 at 7:00 am #

      Brennan, you’re in our prayers, mine and Barbara’s.

      One question, if you have a minute…what’s ’emo’ mean?

      • Avatar
        Colleen Snyder July 27, 2020 at 7:38 am #

        Brennan, joining my prayers with Andrew’s, and lifting you and your family to the Lord every morning. And Andrew, still praying for you daily.

    • Avatar
      Johnnie Alexander July 27, 2020 at 7:38 am #

      Brennan, I’m sorry you and your family are going through so much. Praying for all of you and especially for your precious daughter’s surgery. The truth of God’s steadfast love brings me comfort in dark times. I pray it brings you comfort too.

      Andrew, I was led to pray for you this morning before I came on this blog. Your poetry often uplifts and inspires me. You have such a blessed gift. Thank you for sharing it so freely.

      • Avatar
        Brennan S. McPherson July 27, 2020 at 4:33 pm #

        Thank you, Johnnie, Colleen, and Andrew! This is definitely a year in need of more prayer than usual. As I said, pretty much everyone I know has had personal cataclysms this year. “Emo” is a reference to a small, embarrassing sub-genre of rock music, where every song tended to be morose and melodramatic. (It appealed to angsty teens for a short period of time.)

    • Avatar
      Jennifer Saake July 27, 2020 at 9:23 am #

      Brennan, I’m joining in the prayers for your family! In the midst of the brokenness and grief, may our LORD be your firm foundation, directing each step.

    • Avatar
      Bryan Mitchell July 29, 2020 at 7:05 am #

      Hi Brennan,
      I’ll pray for you and your family.

  5. Avatar
    C.S. Boyll July 27, 2020 at 6:10 am #

    I have had similar thoughts and experiences on discouragement. Thank you for the message of hope and truth.

  6. Avatar
    Andrew Budek-Schmeisser July 27, 2020 at 7:07 am #

    And the time all runs together,
    and I can’t see what to seek.
    This has now come heavy weather,
    and good old days were just last week.
    Somewhere there must be a door,
    for cancer cannot rule my heart;
    smoky rooms, I hit the floor,
    coughing tearing me apart,
    to follow patterns in the tiles,
    to find the exit, yea, of hope,
    to find a reason for the miles
    when it was so hard to cope.
    Now before me, writ in tears:
    “From Calvary I share your fears.”

  7. Avatar
    Bernadette July 27, 2020 at 7:16 am #

    You describe exactly how I’m feeling, but for the hope of the Gospel and the sovereignty of God. Thank you for the reminder and the encouragement.

  8. Avatar
    Colleen Snyder July 27, 2020 at 7:37 am #

    “We face the day armed with the weapons of light with which we have been gifted.”

    Thank you for the marching orders, Steve. The heaviness of the season of isolation is real. But darkness cannot overcome the Light. There is healing in His Wings, as He carries us into the Heavenly realms where we are seated with Him as more than conquerors.

    Dawn is coming. Lift up your head, redemption draweth nigh.

  9. Avatar
    Eileen Hickman July 27, 2020 at 7:50 am #

    “The world would rather walk in darkness than admit it is not the architect of its fate.” Thanks for this reminder, Steve, that if we are not the light of the world, no one will be. I’ve been impressed, as I’ve been reading Nancy Pearcey’s Total Truth, that the World View of non-believers is so broken and so often deliberate in its denial of the light. The harder it gets to be the light, in our writing and in our lives, the more important it is to shine for those who can still see its glimmer. Your reminders will help me focus on the light through the coming week.

  10. Avatar
    Lee Carver July 27, 2020 at 8:06 am #

    Thank you for these reaffirming, grounding thoughts and relevant scriptures. Your encouragement is uplifting.

  11. Avatar
    Marie Wells Coutu July 27, 2020 at 8:13 am #

    “The world would rather walk in darkness than admit it is not the architect of its fate.”
    So true Thank you for this great reminder, Steve, that we walk in the Light of the Son.

  12. Avatar
    Jennifer Saake July 27, 2020 at 9:16 am #

    You only joke that you can’t remember what day it is, Steve? Last week the alarm went off and my husband and I had to spend a full 90 seconds figuring out what day it was, based on clues such as what things had already happened in the week and what events were yet to come.
    All calendar confusion aside, I love your post! My WIP is based on 2 Cor. 11:14 and you just gave me a new word to ponder concerning the masquerade of the enemy of our souls. Light is the one “I AM” character traits Jesus describes Himself as, that He then uses to describe us, His followers. I’ll be revisiting your beautiful article and sharing.

  13. Avatar
    Judy Gordon Morrow July 27, 2020 at 9:31 am #

    Thank you, Steve, for posting this poignant and full-of-truth piece. I echo the thoughts and prayers of the community of commenters.

    The scriptures about light and darkness have dominated my thoughts in recent months. I recall what John Fisher spoke at Mount Hermon years ago, saying how we need to stop viewing the world as being wrong but as lost. “Wrong” often leads to judgment, while “lost” evokes compassion. My heart goes out to those walking in darkness. Even now the hymn comes to mind, “The Light of the World Is Jesus.” I’m so grateful for that eternal truth, and I pray we will shine his light with both our lives and words.

    • Avatar
      Jennifer Saake July 29, 2020 at 1:17 pm #

      @Judy, John Fisher was before my Mount Hermon years, so thank you for sharing this profound concept:
      We need to stop viewing the world as being wrong but as lost. “Wrong” often leads to judgment, while “lost” evokes compassion. My heart goes out to those walking in darkness.

  14. Avatar
    Jennifer Chastain July 27, 2020 at 9:41 am #

    So timely. Thank you for the words of encouragement! Much needed.

  15. Avatar
    Donya July 27, 2020 at 9:47 am #

    This was encouraging to me today. Thank you. I’ve written myself a reminder to carry with me this week…”your words are weapons of light.” Such an important truth.

  16. Avatar
    Grace Fox July 27, 2020 at 10:30 am #

    Thank you for sharing your ponderings, Steve. You verbalized what I could not.

  17. Avatar
    Frenchy Dennis July 27, 2020 at 10:56 am #

    Steve, your steadfastness in our Lord is an encouragement. Thank you for sharing the truth.

  18. Avatar
    Rebecca LuElla Miller July 27, 2020 at 11:35 am #

    Thank you, Steve. I appreciate you bringing some reality into this strange year we are living through. Well said.

    And I’m also glad that I’m not the only one who is confused about what day of the week it is!

  19. Avatar
    LoRee Peery July 27, 2020 at 12:37 pm #

    Ponderings is right. I hope many readers of your blog ponder these inspired words. Thank you, Steve!

  20. Avatar
    Savanna Ammons July 27, 2020 at 1:11 pm #

    So true. Come, Lord Jesus!!

  21. Avatar
    Karen Ingle July 27, 2020 at 2:12 pm #

    Some days it takes so much energy just to remember what we’re here for. Then awareness breaks like the dawn: “…to proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.” May we all keep our eyes on Christ’s excellencies and rejoice in the marvel of His light, and by His Spirit be energized to keep calling to those still lost in the darkness we once knew. Thanks, Steve, for this exhortation.

  22. Avatar
    Norma Brumbaugh July 27, 2020 at 2:33 pm #

    The alone together experience is really something. I’m grateful for God’s Word that ministers like a refreshing breeze these days.
    I am concerned for those suffering with depression and suicidal thoughts. It is a very real concern, especially for those suffering or supporting someone who is struggling. I have friends in this situation.
    Prayer: If you are interested in praying intercessory prayers for America and the world;, I’d like to invite you to join some of us in praying for an hour on Wednesdays at 9:00 AM, Pacific Time (or whenever suits). This Wednesday is our fifth week. It is a rich time of praying in-concert in the online Christian community. Our world is increasingly treacherous. Time for us to dig deep. Hope still believes. Thank you.

  23. Avatar
    Cheryl Coffman July 27, 2020 at 3:26 pm #

    Thank you Mr. Laube for your thoughts and insight. We are salt and light in unique ways. God has gifted all of his children ito share his light. Some of us to write, preach, teach, sing, and some to encourage the rest of us along our journey. Praise God!

  24. Avatar
    L Sanders Fields July 27, 2020 at 7:00 pm #

    Good word that was FULL of the Word. Bravo to you in your timely musings!
    At the end of June I participated in an Esther fast for America.
    Like countless Christians, I do a fast day a week, yet I’ve NEVER gone without water that one simple weekday. Typing that statement has caused me to reach for my water bottle setting just to my left.
    Then there was the medication factor; my daily Synthroid and Statin which I can’t take sans h2o. A dilemma. Yet I sensed that my nation that I deeply love, needed me to step up to the challenge. So I asked the Lord to please be those meds for me while on that fast. Having peace about that solution, I committed.
    At the end of the fast I thought I’d simply down a bottle of spring water, eat something and bounce right back to normal. Not so. My weakness was such that it felt as tho’ I was recovering from a major surgery-my arms and legs felt like wet noodles, and crossing the room caused my heart to pound.
    No 5-mile walk and forget even a thought of running. However, the two week post “Esther” became a time to sit quietly (It was all the energy I had) in His presence asking Him to teach me the “praying without ceasing” skill while reminding myself that no matter how chaotic and unhinged things look, He truly is totally in control.
    Plus, since the days of Sodom and Gomorrah when He decided to permit Abe to intercede, He has included His people in what He’s doing on planet earth; we get to participate!. After all, we do, thru’ His holy Son, have a presence before His throne.
    It’s painfully obvious to most thoughtful folks that politics is deeply entrenched in the Covid-19 mandate.
    However, I’m convinced that the lawlessness and defund the police movement while calling anarchy peaceful as it rips many cities apart must not dishearten the children of the living God.
    When Sennacherib marched against Judah in Hezekiah’s day and made his boast thru’ his commander, they awoke one morning to find 185,000 dead Assyrian soldiers. Of course they withdrew back to Nineveh where his sons murdered him. 2nd Ki. 19.
    Our anarchist must deal with the plans of the Almighty Creator who raised this nation up for His own purposes no matter how it looks at present.
    Years ago when telling me that He wanted me before Him for America, the Lord said, “I am not finished with America yet, for she has not fulfilled the purpose for which I called her forth.”
    I couldn’t make this stuff up and haven’t been a good steward of what He has ask of me, but He is a good, good Father and deals kindly with those created in His very own image. His kindness to me has been immeasurable just as Paul expressed in Ephesians Ch. 3 – He does the immeasurable!

  25. Avatar
    Rebecca Rhoads July 28, 2020 at 4:51 pm #

    This was an especially encouraging post, a sobering yet joyful reminder of Whose we are though all around us crumble. Bless the Lord, oh my soul.

  26. Avatar
    Ann L Coker July 29, 2020 at 11:40 am #

    On the title page of the 1998 edition of John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress published by Barbour & Company, I found:
    “Delivered under the similitude of a dream wherein is discovered the manner of his setting out his dangerous journey and safe arrival at the desired country.”
    Then the quote from Hosea 12:10 (KJV) “I have used similitudes” translated as “vision” in NASB.

    As to the use of Psalm 118:24, I think it refers back to v. 22 “the chief corner stone” meaning the day of Christ’s sacrifice, not just any day.

  27. Avatar
    Kathy July 29, 2020 at 2:14 pm #

    I found this very encouraging! Thank you.

  28. Avatar
    Megan Schaulis August 1, 2020 at 9:49 am #

    I’m so grateful, Steve, that you’ve built a professional community that is so devoted to Christ. Your words found me at just the right time.

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