Game Over!

10 06 2013

Out of nowhere the little tyke appeared, eye on the prize – his dear friend across the road on which I drove my car. In a single bound that would have made any kangaroo proud, his mom pounced on him. The two landed in a heap on their cement driveway.

Ouch! That’ll leave a mark! I thought to myself.

Fortunately, as was my custom, my speed was slow enough to have allowed me to stop before running the little fellow over. Mom was not so confident. No doubt visions of the blood and guts of her beloved child’s body being strewn all over flashed before her eyes and gave her the ability to reach him with such speed and agility.

The death of her little child would have meant “Game Over” to their relationship. She was willing to inflict pain in her child in order to prevent his death.

Hmm. Now isn’t that interesting?

We admire this mom for choosing the “lesser of two evils;” however, when God does this, we call Him cruel and heartless. To our minds, He should make our lives pleasant, prosperous, and pain free. In America, we have some sort of sense of entitlement. We’re Americans – God “owes” us.

I’ve discovered that much can be learned about God from parenthood.

For instance, one thing I had to remind myself of often is this: Parenthood is not a popularity contest. I would have to set some boundaries that my children did not like, make some decisions that they were going to be angry about, and discipline them when they made choices that were going to lead to out-of-control behavior.

One hard and fast rule was this: “No, you may not play ‘Chicken’ with the cars on the freeway.” Their death meant “Game Over” where I was concerned.

Another was, “No, you cannot join the Bloodlust Gang.” Was I willing to see them become criminals? Hardly.

Disrespect of elders was not permitted either. I was unprepared to raise a boatload of rebels.

Other, not so life threatening decisions made were along the lines of “You will buy your own car;” “We are not buying the newest game system,” and “No, you can’t have a cell phone.” These latter decisions were harder to stick with because “everyone else has one.” And they did. I felt like the original cheapskate!

I also took them to the doctor – who would inflict the pain of immunization injections, and to the dentist – who would also inflict pain, in order to protect their health in the long run. One of my children required three adults to administer liquid antibiotics. Two didn’t stand a chance!

In their immaturity, my kids didn’t understand the wisdom behind my “mean” actions.

Sometimes a good parent will inflict a little pain to prevent a much larger problem.

Why are we so surprised, then, when God (our heavenly Father) permits pain to enter our lives?

Unlike an earthly parent, to whom death is “Game Over,” God allows us to exercise our free will – and play on whatever “freeway,” should we insist on doing so. He’s given us “the Talk,” and we know what His boundaries are (the Big Ten). He’s also given us a conscience that invokes guilt and shame for behavior we innately know to be wrong…until we go against it so often that it becomes seared and doesn’t bother us anymore.

From His perspective, death is not “Game Over,” but rather the point at which our mortality gets swallowed up by life. He can ride out whatever decisions we make. In the end (if we are His children), we will be in His presence. He’s good with that!

He’s explained to us, just like we do our own children, the principle of sowing and reaping: If we sow theft, we may reap jail. If we sow drinking or drugs, we may reap addiction and all the unpleasant and painful consequences that go with it. If we sow kindness, we reap the love of others.

God is great in His mercy and grace. Once we’ve seen the error of our way and repent, (a fancy word that means make a u-turn away from what was wrong) He blesses us with spiritual riches…love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, etc.

However, consequences may still have to be lived with. A recovered addict will still have destroyed relationships, financial issues, and health problems that will continue to be a part of their life…perhaps for the rest of their life. Some things cannot be undone by grace and mercy.

Actions taken while under the influence cannot be undone. How does one “un-abuse” a person they’ve injured? These things are not God “punishing” us (Christ took our punishment on the cross); the natural consequences of choices we made will be enough – and are self-inflicted pain. God had nothing to do with it.

Having spent the last several months trying to “help” one of God’s kids “tie his shoes,” and having had my hands pushed away, all the while being told, “Me do, me do,” I’ve had time to ponder God’s ways. Every consequence being endured was the result of willfulness to choose contrary to what God had said was good, pure, right, just, lovely, and noble. His Father, ever and infinitely patient, simply stood by, waiting for him to give up. From a human standpoint, it seemed hard. Once I saw this from God’s view, however, I saw His wisdom. I’ve done the same thing with my children when they were willful and rebellious.

Once our Father’s little one was tuckered out and no longer resisting Him, He lovingly scooped him up in His arms and carried him Home.

I know, because they “stopped by my car” so he could say, “Farewell,” awakening me so I could return home to my husband.

For us, my brother-in-law’s passing was “Game Over.” For him, however, it’s a whole new game!

*****

Having been a participant in this story, I’ve learned that a person has to determine to step over the crucified body of Jesus to get their way on the day of their appointment with death. God doesn’t make this choice for them…they choose it for themselves. God forces no one into a relationship with Himself. What person would? Love can’t be forced.

The sad fact is that there is only one place available in all of all there is where God will no longer be an unwelcome Presence for those who hate Him. It’s a place that was never intended for humans, only for Satan and his followers.

Hell, which Jesus openly discussed, is a place of isolation, darkness (the absence of Light), heat, torment, worms that don’t die, and such. Worse than that, it is a place completely devoid of kindness (what would be the point? There will be no possible reward for being “good” – those who choose that dwelling place will be selfish to the max), and worse, without a glimmer of hope for a “better day.”

There are only two camps available – the “With God” group, and the “Without God” group. It’s a choice that each person has to make on their own.

With which group will you choose to spend forever…

…when it’s your Game Over?

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9 responses

11 06 2013
vonhonnauldt

Solemn wisdom. So much of what troubles or excites us will be seen for the worthlessness it is when it’s “game over.”

11 06 2013
lessonsbyheart

That helps me put many things in perspective. I’ve set aside many crafts and hobbies. I have forever in which to do those…and can’t talk about Jesus and do those at the same time.

Have a blessed day!
\o/

10 06 2013
Toni Sprandel

Awesome post Tami! Loved it! I choose the “With God” group!

10 06 2013
lessonsbyheart

Yay! I’m so glad. 🙂

\o/

10 06 2013
melanie jean juneau

well done

10 06 2013
lessonsbyheart

Thanks. {sigh}

Blogging is a lot of work!

\o/

10 06 2013
melanie jean juneau

🙂

10 06 2013
Larry Who

As the singer sang: “I have decided to follow Jesus. No turning back, no turning back.”

10 06 2013
lessonsbyheart

🙂

\o/

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