The longer I am around this earth, the more often I shake my head at how my mind works. The idea for this blog came to me while thinking about our schedule for this past Sunday and an article I saw regarding how improvised explosive devices, IEDs, have taken the place of conventional land mines in warfare. It is obvious to me how these two things fit together–which is overwhelming evidence of all the brain cells my drinking put out of commission.
Anyway, the reason that IEDs are used more often now is due to their design. Land mines need to be stepped on to detonate. IEDs can be detonated by even a cell phone. Thus, they can be hung on the side of almost anything and be detonated at anytime resulting in the planned destruction of a chosen target. Understand, both are not used in any positive way and are terrible weapons. I am simply reporting what I read.
The way I saw our Sunday was there were a few IEDs just waiting to detonate, if I was not careful. The first one, in my mind, was placed at a restaurant to which we were taking our daughter-in-law to celebrate her birthday. It was one of her favorites so we decided to meet there. But in the back of my mind, well actually closer to the front, was the picture that comes to me each time we have attempted to eat there. Families filling the entrance to the restaurant as they are told, “It should be about 45 minutes.” I am not good at waiting.
The second IED was timed to go off a couple of hours later. After dinner, we were going to my son’s house to watch the Green Bay Packers play for a possible trip to the Super Bowl. Being a Packer fan for years can provide plenty of potential explosive power, if they do not win. My wife and I have attempted to defuse this by watching the game with the sound off. We have tried to watch it with just the two of us to mute any negative comments that would cause us stress. We have also worked hard to lower the importance so we see it as entertainment rather than a life or death struggle.
Yet, there we were, setting ourselves up to have to feel our way around a possible IED of watching the game with a group of other, just as devoted Packer fans. The last time I watched a game at my son’s home, on my birthday, the Packers played poorly and lost by a bunch. I could envision the IED hanging there on the side of the television, waiting to explode. This may sound a little melodramatic, however, the thoughts and feelings swirling around inside of me were real.
So what happened? We walked into the restaurant, and there was no one waiting. In fact, the restaurant was so empty that we were seated before my son and his family arrived. For a group of seven, that is uncommon. The meal was great, the three children were well behaved, and we were informed that we are going to be grandparents for the 13th time in August. One IED defused.
The Packers–well that was probably the worst game I have seen them play since, well, my birthday. There were a few negative comments and rumblings of complaints. But, the company was great, the food was good and it seemed fairly easy to put the game into the proper perspective. A second IED avoided.
I know that neither one of these were all that important. I had in fact, “blown” the urgency I felt into wanting everything to work out my way into something way too important. If I am honest, I have probably had a hand in planting most of the IEDs in my life. My need to control outcomes, unrealistic expectations and a resistance to recognize positives seem to be my favorite collection of construction materials. Any of those alone are ample fuel for me to blow up an outing, a whole day or even longer. Then again I am an expert at this so I do not hesitate to combine them for one impressive explosion.
But back to Sunday and the fact that neither of the explosions I expected occurred. The reason is pretty simple. Romans 8:32-33 says, “If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” What I see as IEDs in my life, at least the great majority of them, happen because I choose to ignore the three messages from this passage.
- My Savior died for me. Through his willing death on the cross to pay for my sins, I am going to heaven.
- God is definitely for me. How could he not be. He sent his Son to die for me. That means he loves me and cares for me.
- God sacrificed his Son for me a known sinner. If he did that, he will take care of all the situations in my life that I see as IEDs. And since he obviously knows what is best for me (He sent his Son to die for me way before I was born) his plans and outcomes are always better than mine, no matter what I think.
So let’s compare:
Me – Crowded restaurant, waiting, grandkids who may not appreciate waiting, I do not appreciate waiting, will the food be good, will we get done before the game starts …
God – No waiting, open tables, perfectly behaved grandkids, AND another grandchild!
Me – Important game, what if they lose, what if they win stress for more weeks, cannot complain, only positive thoughts, what if someone else is critical …
God – Christian fellowship, lose the GAME not the future, good food and family.
Who makes plans by setting IEDs? Who plans only out of love, not fear? Who lives in the present and can only react to what happens? Who already knows what is going to happen and has already taken care of me for 64 years?
Remember how I said the longer I am around this earth, the more often I shake my head at how my mind works. Even this old mind should know it’s time to put away my IED materials and have faith in someone who gave me everything. God, please help me with that.
Hope you come back. I will wait you.