Monday, April 18, 2011

Thoughts After Visiting *W___mart*

I spent this Monday morning at that store. Not my favorite place, but I needed a few things this morning, all of which could be found there more easily than having to go to several different elsewheres for a fairly quick stop this morning.

A couple of observations:

Rules only apply to ‘everyone else’ or, put another way, words don’t have any real meaning at all. At least, judging by behavior I can only assume this is how people think. The lane says 20 items or less. I walk up juggling a gallon of milk and 5 small items and have to stand in line behind someone buying a cart full of groceries, so many more than 20 items you couldn’t even fudge it a little and say, ah, 21 items, let it slide. Of course, it’s a little hard to be irritated when there are 3 “20 items or less” lanes open and only one regular “buy out the whole store” lane open and that line is looooooong. Still.

After standing there pondering, on my way home I thought of something. That something is only tangentially related to the previous paragraph in that it got me thinking about how words do, in fact, have real meaning, even if people today want to argue that point.

Which led me to this thought: Have you noticed during some of the recent controversy over a certain book by an ‘emergent’ type pastor how there’s an awful lot of ‘what if’ kind of thinking about God? Just like the serpent said to Eve in the garden, “Has God indeed said....,” questions are used to subtly undermine plain things. As in the plain things are the main things and the main things are the plain things, as Alistair Begg will often say. Instead of digging in and studying and saying, this is what the Bible says, let’s get after living like it’s true, there are all these people saying, “What if.....?” Thing is, ‘what if’ is not all that helpful. In fact, you could argue that those kinds of what ifs can be downright insidious. Jesus clearly says He is the way, the truth and the life and that no one comes to the Father but through Him. The Bible clearly says that it is appointed to a man once to die and then the judgment. Rather than spinning out a lot of ‘what if’ speculations, and trying to spin it so we’re saying things like, “Well, I know the Bible says this, but surely it can’t possibly mean this,” and being so arrogant as to think we know better than God about what is right and just, and flirting around with things like universalism and whatnot, why not get busy about submitting to God and His word?

Here’s a ‘what if’ for you. What if God means exactly what He says in His word and what if His thoughts are higher than our thoughts and He created us and His word says that He will judge the world with righteousness? What then? What if we were to truly turn our eyes upon Jesus and think deeply about the wonder of the Incarnation and about the sacrifice He made to reconcile sinners to Himself and what it means that the Temple veil was torn in two and that He rose again and that He told His followers to go into all the world and proclaim the good news and make disciples and baptize them? What if we were to truly begin to come to grips with how very offensive our sin is to holy God and what an awesome thing it is that He forgives those who turn to Christ in repentance and faith, and only those who turn to Christ in repentance and faith? What if we were more diligent to read God’s word and hide it in our hearts and remember that bad company corrupts good character and surround ourselves with teaching and people who have a high view of God’s word and tune out and turn away from teaching that questions it? What if we were more concerned with questioning the doubters and standing firm on the Word than we were with fostering and flirting with doubt? Then all our little speculations turn to ash in our mouths and, like Job, we put our hands over our mouths, or like Isaiah we cry, "Woe is me, for I am undone! Because I am a man of unclean lips, And I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips," and we bow before Holy God and say with wonder, "Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!" and "Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, to God who alone is wise, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen." Because, honestly, I’d certainly rather ‘err’ on the side of taking God and His word too seriously than not seriously enough. Put another way, I’d much rather trust His wisdom than my own.

Another observation:

If I die before my husband and children, I really and truly hope that they will not feel compelled to have a memorial for me on the back windshield of their car. You see a lot of those in the W---mart parking lot, have you noticed? I really and truly hope my loved ones will not be so earthly minded that they feel a need to remember me in that way. Grieve, yes, grieve deeply, yes, but please remember that death has been defeated by our glorious Savior and we have hope in His resurrection. My hope is that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection! Jesus is alive, and in Him I live and move and have my being, and because He lives, I have real hope that anchors my soul! With Resurrection Sunday coming this week, keep that hope in mind!


Laura said...

I love the way you maneuver so effortlessly between the mundane and the profound, yet make both so relateable! Thanks for the reminder to ponder all those great truths about God and His gift. And I too cringe whrn I see memorial stickers. I always get the sense that they've been placed there by someone with no hope.

Rebekah said...

I think that's what I'm sensing about those stickers, too. They do seem so hopeless. I understand the desire to not have others forget your loved one, I really do. But to put it on a car window seems to cheapen life, somehow, to me.

StarCMC said...

You said "Because, honestly, I’d certainly rather ‘err’ on the side of taking God and His word too seriously than not seriously enough."

Rebekah!! I LOVE that! It's what I have used when talking to people about evolution, etc, and it's EXACTLY what I've been thinking about the book you mentioned. I'd rather take God at His word!! (Literally!)

Great post and great thoughts!