That’s MY seat!

26 04 2010

I took Caedmon to one of the FSU vs. Miami baseball games this weekend. Two of those three games were won by the ‘Noles by walk-off hits in the ninth inning… we went to the other one šŸ˜¦ This is not the point of my tale.

At one point in the game a couple of college students attempted to sit in some seats in the row in front of us. No one was sitting in them, but there was a purse in one. The kids asked the people in our row if they were saving the seats and one older lady glared at them at said, “that’s my purse and that’s my seat.” GeezeĀ lady! Do you really need a seat for your purse? C’mon you old bag, move your old bag!

Had I not had the privilege of deeper insight those would have been my thoughts Had I not had the benefit of years those might have been my words. Thank God for both.

An inning or two earlier, Jeni’s dad told me about the old lady next to us. She had beenĀ a season ticket holderĀ toĀ FSU baseball games for many years… with her husband. Her husband had recently passed away and in remembrance of him she still bought his seat and kept it empty to honor him. Pretty cool actually. Reminiscent of the air force and theirĀ “missing man formation.”Ā 

With that knowledge, I didn’t look so sourly on that widow paying respect to her husband. I didn’t fully comprehend her method; but I fully appreciated her motivation.

I will often come across a passage of scripture that leaves me scratching my head and ready to call God out for being mean or unmerciful. I’ll read about God’s unrelenting wrath and I am tempted to dismiss the Bible and all that it asserts about this tyrant of a God. But, thankfully I have the benefit of deeper insight. While I might not fully comprehend God’s methods, I do fully appreciate His motivation.

At first glance that old widow seemed a crotchety curmudgeon (that, my friends, is world-class alliteration), but the truth is that she is a devoted lover who is totally justified in her behavior. At first glance I totally understand when people believe God is a narcissistic dictator, but I know that’s not the truth.

The truth is that God is gracious. He is abounding in love. He desires that no one would perish. He is, at the same time, holy. He is pure. That holiness and purity require that he also be just which leads to wrath. We flinch at this idea when it is attributed to God. Yet, when I listen to political radio I hear people clamor for “accountability,” and “holding people responsible for their actions.” We believe that there is a right way and when our politicians violate that “right way” our view of constitutional “purity” requires that “justice” be expressed in the “wrath” of voting for someone else.

We totally get this idea and wield it ourselves. We just don’t like God doing the same.

The beauty of God is that this issue of His wrath is reconciled. This is the deeper insight that I am privildged to know. You see, God poured all the wrath that was due us onto Himself in the person of Jesus. The cross is the perfect picture of wrath and love united in one act for the redemption of all who would believe. It is the glory of God.

He is the devoted lover who is totally justified. You are the object of the love where Jesus became the object of His wrath. God has bought your seat with the blood of His son and He is holding it for you.




2 responses

27 04 2010

I always hate when I do that…make a judgement about someone and then hear their story and wish I had never thought that. I like the way you tied all this together in relation to God. How often I make judgements about His ways, and then wish I had never thought that because I get a glimpse of why He says what He says.

27 04 2010

That won’t be the last time you have an opportunity to stand up for someone.

Similar situations have come my way and I too did not stand up for the right thing. The most recent was, in all places, a bible study class. One member of the study group, and we probably have all have encountered someone like him, I’ll call him Joe, just had a way of asking questions that irritated most folks, me included. The questions were about religion, topic related but a little strange as to how he asked them. I can’t explain it, they were some how different. He wasn’t showing off. He truly was trying to learn. A nice guy and they were genuine questions. He also was aware that folks were irritated by his questions. Apparently this trait has been haunting him for years. There were on topic, but different. I can’t explain it. He and I would talk now and then. He, without being asked told me that he knew that his questions bothered folks, he didn’t know why. He said he would pray before coming to the class that he wouldn’t ask those types of questions. But strange as it sounds, all his questions seemed to be those types of questions. I offered that he should continue to ask questions. It is how we learn and that there were others in the class that probably had the same questions but were afraid to ask.

One day, there was a new guy in the class. We were following the history of Christianity by going through the chapters of the bible that followed the time line. This new “gentleman” shows up about 15 weeks into the course. Joe’s hand went up and he asked a question. This new guy unloaded on him. Insulted him for asking the question, which I didn’t see as out of line but it came across as as odd, as usual. You have heard the cliche, there is no such think as a dumb question, well Joe’s questions makes you stop and think, did that one cross the line? They were sincere. I didn’t know the answers and many in the class probably didn’t either. I even wanted to hear the answer most of his answers, to include this one.

I did nothing even thought I knew the new guy was out of line. I have regretted it ever since. I made a commitment to not to sit by and watch something like that happen again.

Joe never came back again.


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