May 22, 2010

Just the Facts

All I could think were the words: "Do not be deceived. God is not mocked."

I was cutting dead wood out of the rose bush out front, and in the process discovering why most women wear gardening gloves for such activities. But these dead pieces have been bothering me for a year, all interspersed with the living, green branches. I'd finished pulling out the creeping vines that keep trying to take over the front garden, and happened to stick my hand in among the roses, and once a dead twig snapped off I was all in - no stopping for gloves.

But that was not the genesis of the scripture running through my mind. I accidentally cut off two good roses in the process of pruning. One feels quite bad about accidents like that, and has to apologize to the rose that is and the little buds that will never be. It reminded me of why the Lord said he was delaying his judgment until the end (Matt 13:24-30) - so that none of those that truly belong to him (wheat and/or roses) gets accidentally pulled out of the ground along with the wicked (weeds and/or dead wood). Well, there was a huge difference between the dead and living branches, and the determination in me to get out all the dead stuff was unstoppable, even by multiple, painful thorn-attacks. I just couldn't wait until Fall, when no roses would be endangered by my prunes.

"Don't be deceived," I heard over and over in my head, mostly thinking about the gang of teenagers that has started to make our street their hang-out, "God is not mocked." What is dead will eventually burn. That's all it's useful for. Pride certainly makes our brains turn off, for people end up thinking (without ever getting around to verbalizing it) that God IS mocked, that He WON'T follow through, that choices for evil will have no evil consequences.

I think this gang is dangerous - there is a brazen sort of pride in the eyes they use to defiantly meet mine every time I drive past them and into my garage. And I'm sorry to say my imagination has a pretty good idea of what sort of havoc they might be able to wreak around here. But in the end, the stories will all be the same, and my general feeling is not fear but pity. The dead, stay dead. And if possible, get deader. And with those branches out of the way, the living will flourish. (You should see the bush now - very pretty!) Am I going to tell them this?

This all might sound rather harsh, but if we do not understand it, we become as lulled to sleep as the dead ones are. Two more craigslist people have slipped through my fingers without hearing the gospel today - it's about to drive me mad. I am desperate for God to quicken me with compassion over the lost's plight, and with the skill, energy, and words to engage them with the truth. This evening's bush-pruning was a bit of an answer, I think. The chaff will really be burned, the dead branches will really be broken off. The lost will really die. We all need to realize this - myself most of all.


Callie said...

craigslist people slipping through your fingers?

Amy Rachel Peterson said...

Yeah, who better to preach the Gospel to than airplane row-mates and craigslist clients who come to your house? They think they're coming for the Personal Home Rotisserie "as seen on TV" - little do they know they're going to hear some really good news about God!