Grass, Greeks, and Gearshifts

Disclaimer: This post is from the archives, and may not represent the current views of the author. It also may not be at all interesting to read. Continue at your own peril!

Yesterday was a pretty average, boring day. I was talking to Angelie on MSN and she said that both she and Dave wanted to do something. So I called up Jeff and asked if he wanted to do something as well. He was up for it, so I told him that I’d talk to Angelie again and figure out what to do. I was expecting her to come back onto MSN, since she had gone to supper by that time. When half an hour went by and she hadn’t come online yet, I decided to call her. No answer. I called back a few more times, and after another half an hour, Jeff called me up and asked, “So I’m assuming that nothing really is going on?” He was correct in his assumption. We’ll likely do something today or tomorrow, though I’m not quite sure. I have to work this afternoon from 5:30-9:15, so I’m not sure if I really want to do anything today. Tomorrow night there’s an engagement party at Jake and Luke’s house, so I’ll likely show up to that. That’ll be doing something at least.

Today I had to cut the grass. That’s never a pleasant experience, but whatever. I woke up at 8:45 AM sharp in order to be up before it got really hot. I don’t want to wake up at like 6 AM or anything, but I don’t want to wait until the afternoon when the sun is out and deep-frying everything. So I got up, ate some breakfast, got dressed, took my allergy medication, and then set to work. Afterwards, I went and had a shower – that’s my routine for cutting the grass. I never take a shower beforehand, since there’s no point in doing that when I’m just going to go and get hot and sweaty anyways. But now my arms and legs are both quite sore, and it feels weird. Meh.

A few days ago, I finished reading Every Young Man’s Battle for the second time through. In search of something else to read that might help me spiritually (rather than getting out a Tom Clancy book), I went downstairs to the large bookshelf we have and picked out a book called Know What You Believe by Paul E. Little. I wasn’t sure exactly what it would be like, considering that it’s about thirty years old and written by some guy I’ve never heard of, but I gave it a shot. It doesn’t seem to be too bad. It covers the basic beliefs of things like the Bible and God (I haven’t gotten any further than that so far), but unfortunately, it doesn’t go as in-depth as I was expecting. I mean, it explains what it means, but it doesn’t completely explore some of what it says as fully as it could. I suppose that might be partly to keep it a fairly small book; I mean, no one would want to read a book six inches thick called Know What You Believe. It would just be too frightening a prospect.

Anyways, as I was reading some of this book last night, I found a little nugget or tidbit (whatever you want to call it) of information that really helped paint a good picture in my mind. I’m not sure why it stuck out, other than that it really made sense to me – it helped explain something that I’ve not been too sure of before. It was talking about God’s changeless quality, and then it said this: “A man who walks east into a strong wind, and then turns around and walks west, would say, ‘The wind was on my face, but now it is on my back.’ But there would have been no change in the wind. His direction was what changed, and this change brought him into a new relationship with the wind. God never changes, and when He seems to be different it is because we have changed and in so doing have come into a different relationship toward Him.”

That really just hit me. It went on to explain those parts of the Bible where it says that God changed His mind. It uses the city of Nineveh in the story of Jonah as an example, and then says, “…after Jonah had preached there the people turned to God for forgiveness and He is said to have repented (Jonah 3:10) of His plan to destroy them. Actually the Ninevites had turned from rebellion to repentance, and so they came under God’s mercy and forgiveness instead of His wrath. God Himself had not changed.” This sort of thing seems to happen more than we realize. There seems to be an ebb and flow of good and hard times in each person’s life that fluctuates between the two. We have good times come, and then suddenly disaster strikes. As we notice the change, we look up to God and say, “Hey, what happened? Why’d You do that?” But it wasn’t Him that changed His mind and decided to send hard times. It was us that changed, and caused the hard times to come for whatever reason.

It’s almost like the gears of a car. As we encounter different road conditions, we need to shift the gears to compensate. But God is like the transmission system. The actual gears inside it never change – they’re always there, and always ready. But as we shift, we come under the effect of the separate gears and, similarly, different “aspects” of God. If we sin, we come under His judgment and wrath. If we are Christians, however, we also come under His forgiveness through His Son. But His wrath is still there. Similarly, if we repent, we fall under His mercy and grace; however, as stated, His wrath never goes away. You just don’t experience it because of your position under God.

That’s about the best that I can explain it, because, while it’s a simple topic, it’s also incredibly complex. I like the word picture of the direction of the wind, though. It really cleared a lot of things up for me – God never, ever changes, but we do. It’s a reassuring thought, though, that we can always depend on God because of his unchangeable nature. If He were as fickle and volatile as us, we’d have to live in fear, sort of like the Greeks with their gods. Their gods were just deified humans, and so they experienced all the unsteady passions that we do. They fought wars and had affairs, and thus the Greeks had no firm foundation to come to. They just had to try and appease the gods and hope for the best.

Anyways, I think I’m done for today. I want to keep reading this book to see what else I can learn, but I’m forcing myself to slow down and take it in little chunks at a time. Otherwise, it all goes into my head and straight out again; nothing really soaks in. I want to be able to read a little bit, then figure it all out in my head and cement it in there, and then move onto the next section. But with that said, I’ll finish off this entry right here.

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