Monthly Archives: October 2014

The God of Second Chances

This week we had an opportunity to watch Hollywood’s version of Noah. The film had some creative and interesting interpretations and stunning imagery. The whole sequence of “something from nothing” was incredibly beautiful.   The movie did get a bit heavy-handed with the evil men: meat-eaters, technology-users/good men: vegetarians, environmentalists; however, it was an enjoyable film.

Unfortunately, the writer missed the whole point of the Noah story: redemption, not just saving the animals.

When Noah tells his wife, “I have seen evil and it is inside all of us,” the entire scope of the Creator saving a remnant takes on new meaning. The God who could create something from nothing could easily have destroyed the entire world and started over from scratch had He desired. He could have sent a plague to wipe out man and leave the animals had He so desired.

He chose to save a remnant, to give man a second chance.

This was the point the movie missed; the point that, in the end, kept the film from being superb. The mercy demonstrated wasn’t Noah’s, but the Creator’s. In the biblical account, Noah didn’t build his ark far from civilization, but right where everyone could see. Daily they passed by ridiculing Noah’s folly. Daily he preached redemption and salvation to anyone who passed by.

Until the last moment anyone who wanted could have come aboard the ark, but no one chose to do so. In the end, when the rain fell, the Creator shut the door to the ark–not Noah. The Creator spared Noah, his wife, his three sons and their three wives. It wasn’t about ending mankind; it was about giving mankind a second chance.

The visual promise of second chances came in the form of a rainbow, something we often take for granted. Beauty formed by splintering light through water, a truth that even in darkness, light shines.

Through Noah and his sons and their wives a bit of the Garden of Eden was preserved, the piece of “made in the image of God” which came through from the old world into the new, a remnant of the Creator’s original purpose: man made to fellowship with God and tend the earth.

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Rainy Days are My Favorites

Sometimes I think I got left on the doorstep by visiting aliens. Most folks I know hate Mondays and rainy days, while I’m just the opposite. Mondays are the signal of a brand new week when anything can happen. It’s the start of a new adventure, the beginning of a clean slate.

Sunny weather makes one chipper and optimistic–unless you live where sunshine means 120 degree, oven baking heat and a blistering wind that microwaves you between the front door and the car. Rainy days refresh and energize. These are the days I can snuggle up with a good book and drift away to another reality. Rainy days quiet the spirit, sooth ruffled nerves from the week’s hectic, frenetic pace. Low lying clouds mute sound, dampen the harshness of city noise, and transform the rough caw of doves to a gentle melody. Sunny days are all heat, and sweat, and burnt sand and rock.

Sunny days are concrete and glass sizzling and melty tar charring the air. I like the smell of rainy days: the coolness of moisture dripping on green leaves, tingeing the air with a clean scent of growing things; the peaty, mud scent of wet earth, the lighter fragrance of chalk from caliche power slowly dissolving into a morass of glue. But the thing I love most about rainy days is the stillness, the utter quietness that embraces the land like a gentle, loving caress. After days of hurly burly rushing, a rainy day is the white space on the page of life. Rainy days open possibilities to reflect, regroup, recharge, to take stock of who I am and where I want to be.

So when I grow up and own my own home, I want a glass room off the back of the house. One with windows that open to let in the clean scent of rain-washed air, the bracing chill of a water-laden breeze. I’ll sit back in my rocking chair, wrapped in a blanket, drinking coffee and experiencing nature at its finest.

Dealing With Regret

Whenever a discussion comes up on whether or not I believe in evolution in regards to human beings, the first thing that comes to mind is regret. Animals don’t regret. Human beings do. We spend our lives living in regret for things said or done, things left unsaid or undone, roads taken, roads not taken, choices made, choices avoided, friendships lost, relationships broken, opportunities lost. It is a trait that makes us distinctly, uniquely human.

However, regret is not a condition with which humanity has to live. We can deal with it and move on; and therein lies the problem: we don’t deal with it.

People have an instinctive ability to avoid dealing with regret. We choose not to face up to our choices by blaming society, or others, or our circumstances. We choose to avoid the consequences of those choices by rationalizing our attitudes or actions. We choose to bury the past and hope, with time, those choice will be forgotten (and/or forgiven) and we can move on with our lives.

Unfortunately, regret that is not dealt with transforms into guilt. The results of guilt are devastating and we see those results in the forms of broken families, violence, physical and mental abuse, drunkenness, and drug addition. The only way to break the cycle is to confront regret head on. To see our actions and attitudes for what they are, accept responsibility, ask forgiveness, and make restitution.

It is a terrifying thing to see ourselves as others see us, whether for good or evil. When someone sees us in a positive light, often our own inadequacies keep us from accepting the accolades. When others see the ugly side of our natures, it conflicts with our self perception of being “good” and we run screaming from the truth.

People are a mixture of good and bad actions, attitudes, words, choices, and paths taken. A good balance acknowledges the times we are wrong and embraces the things that make us pleasant to be around. When we make wrong choices or bad decisions, the only thing to do is face it head on. Accept responsibility, no matter how unpleasant the truth, and do what must be done to right the wrong. Sometimes that’s not possible, but by at least acknowledging our responsibility we can begin to heal internally. Only then can we begin to move past and get on with our lives.

While we never forget the incident, we do come to a place where we can learn from it; a place where we can encourage others, a place where we can offer counsel on how to avoid similar problems, a place that refines our spirits in the fires of truth and makes us better people.

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