They Never Did Do No One Any Good.
Unless, that is you are an acrobat in a circus, walking the tight rope and your foot slips.
Then, a net- a cushioned fall would be greatly appreciated.
Or if you are a kid, playing, let’s say on a trampoline and you bounce off the side of the net that surrounds that trampoline.
Then, Momma and Poppa are happy for that net that saved the family from a possible trip to the emergency room.
Those kinds of cushioned falls are not what I’m talkin’ about here.
I’m talkin’ about the ones that stop people from feeling the pain. You know, in the right way. The pain that just might bring them to the cross. The uncomfort. The torture. The self that just keeps showing up. The ego that causes all kinds of trouble. The pity. The will run riot. The bang ups of a life gone hard. You get it.
Because people don’t need to be coddled. No. Matter. What. Culture. Says.
Passivity is about people making themselves look noble, good, and kind- not about the Nobility, Goodness, and Kindness rooted in the Word- you know the One who became flesh and dwelt among us- The Word coming to us in the God-man, Jesus- Him who was fully God and fully man yet without sin.
Stand by and watch the Word from Genesis to Revelation and you won’t find a passive, pansy of a God. Not Ever. The only place you’ll find that is in your own head or someone else’s.
This Jesus, he’s not aggressive either. He doesn’t tear down the door of our hearts and drag us around by the ear.
We tend to see him one way or the other.
Our wounded hearts cannot perceive clearly.
So, God gives us the Word.
And David said he meditated on it day and night. And we, too, must mediate on it day and night, drink deep from the well, and let the Word judge our thoughts and actions as right or yes, wrong. There is a right and wrong, you know. And I hope you know that- even if it is buried deep in your gut somewhere. You must know this even if everyone around you can’t fight worth a flip. You must know that there are noble, right things worth fighting for. And you must know, that some battles ain’t worth fighting in the least.
And how will we ever know which battles to fight if we haven’t got a Good King? A Noble Leader? A Righteous Ruler?
Someone to bow our knee to- cause we all bow somewhere. But whom is the right “where” to bow before?
His name is the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, The Everlasting God!
Do you know Him?
He is the Great I Am.
He is the Sovereign, Holy, Mighty God. He spoke the world into existence and put the stars in their places. The One who sought Adam and Eve in the garden after they had sinned, took their lousy attempts to clothe themselves and instead covered them with animal skin- a picture of the sacrifice to come.
He is the One who flooded the earth in judgement saving Noah, a preacher of righteousness. And what is a preacher of righteousness anyhow? A good guy? Oh, no. This one was a guy for sure, but not good. A true preacher of righteousness always knows they are not good, but knows the One who is and call Him: The One True God.
This God- who if we consider just these three accounts: Creation, The Fall, and The Flood; we see no cushions. For those who fall, they fall hard. Yet, He is not aloof, unengaged, pouring out wrath with pleasure and no pain.
He called to Adam and Eve in the garden. What kind of a God knows where law breakers are, but calls and engages instead of controlling and shaming them? The shame was already evident. They were hiding. This God called the ashamed out of their hiding spot. And as they came before Him, He didn’t erase the consequences. The Fall was hard. It was actually, terrifying, being that they had never been ashamed, fearful, wicked and suddenly they were all of these.
He took NONE of that away. But, He took the leaves away. The way they had tried to cover themselves by themselves- the way they had hid. The way they had depended on their own inadequate ideas instead of consulting the Ruler of the Universe, the One who had made this law that they broke, the One who they would find to have adequate grace: the only covering that would do.
Now sinners, there was but one way. Blood. Some come through fire, some through drought, others by stormy seas; but all, who indeed come, must come by The Blood.
He didn’t turn back time. He didn’t interfere. He let them fall. Then, He covered them because He’s the only one who could-with the skins of an animal- from His creation. Passive? I think not.
Then, He came close just like when He had taken the dirt and formed Adam. Then He had come closer and breathed the breath of life into him. And yet again, He had come close and put Adam to sleep in order to get his rib and form Eve.
This is how close He gets again after sin entered the scene. Close. Personal. Gentle. Holy. Unwavering. He Himself clothed them. Aggressive? I think not.
And this picture.
Close your eyes. Meditate on that for a moment.
Did you see it?
Him? Not passive. Engaged. Not aggressive. He calls and acts responding to them in good, right, holy ways- before and after sin had entered the picture. He had not changed. They had.
And then, what? All was better. No, out of the garden they would go, and they would have to learn how to be brave in a world that was now dying with sin.
But, here was the hope: They could be brave.
Because He had covered them. His covering pointed to the One who would come and be the ultimate cover paying once and for all for that bite of fruit and every other act of self will since.
All their acts of self will.
All my acts of self will.
All your acts of self will.
And this, my beloved reader, is why Jesus is our crossroads. Yours and mine. Liars and thieves, murderers, adulterers, idolaters, and cowards of all kinds.
Our crossroads are where He calls.
Will I try to cover myself, or will I let Him clothe me? For some, the only time we could record Him being close was His knitting you in your mothers womb because you have no recollection of being close to Him. You’ve never let Him close when He’s whispered your name. Others, may have grown weary with this life and wandered from their King, forgetting the covering that is theirs and picking up rags a.k.a leaves.
But remember: their won’t be any cushions. He won’t stop the fall- the repentance necessary, the humility needed, the bending of that darn knee that wants to stand and be good all alone without a God who has a narrow road.
But stop and listen to the yearning. Beyond all our pride, spirits long to be with their Maker: To be accepted, loved, treasured, taught, protected, fought for, and oh- died for, to be changed and to have a proper place to bend that knee, to have the shame properly covered- forgiven and cleansed, to have the one good God to serve and love.
And stop and let others listen to the yearning. Don’t be someone else’s cushion. If God doesn’t provide a cushion, then we better not dare. We need to feel the yearning, the lack from within and without of ourselves. There is dignity in the yearning. Don’t rob anyone of the dignity of knowing their true condition.
There is indeed one covering that will do the proper work and it doesn’t come with a free cushion or net. The covering is The Whom to bow before- His name is Jesus.
And although, we are still outside the garden where death, pain, and fear are now part of the fabric of life;
The hope is: We can be brave.
If He has indeed covered you and I. If not, we can be covered now. He calls. Picture Him calling your name. He’s personal like that. Ask Him to call you for the first time of letting Him close or to call you back, to remind you of the clothes of righteousness you wear.
Oh Blessed King of the Covering,
Conform us to You-
Mighty and Holy,
Trusting the Carpenter Jew,
Who took on our sin completely,
We can walk by faith,
Knowing good times come and bad times, too,
But we don’t have to carry burdens, not even a few,
We can be covered and brave-
Walking by faith and not by sight,
Not getting everything right,
But knowing the One
With the covering
For all the shame
the heartache and tears
the stolen years-
He who was brave,
Will make us brave
With His righteousness
In exchange for our filthy rags,
And although there was no cushion for the fall,
We will find the covering-
Provides the place not only to bow our knee,
But the Person on whose chest we can lay our heads and whisper, “Papa”.
Because that Carpenter Jew,
Spilled His blood,
For the payment of the Sons and Daughters of the
Blessed King of the Covering.
And Dear Reader, I’d rather have a hard fall with Love coming close, than a cushion that stands between me and the King of Kings. I pray all who read this feel the yearning and find it filled with the Love of the Unchanging King moment by moment walking with Him.
For Further Meditation: Genesis 1-3, Isaiah 30:15-18