It’s been quite a week, from terror at Ohio State, to devastating fires in Gatlinburg, to deadly tornados in our area. It’s been one thing after another. Tuesday, the night of the tornados, I finally fell asleep around 2:45am — the nonstop thunder was keeping me awake, but my phone also blared two times to take cover immediately. Then, in the distance, very faintly, I heard a tornado siren, which I had no idea we even had.
Yesterday started out fine. I read my own Advent devotional, which is oddly a blessing. How one can be encouraged by one’s own words is sort of a mystery. I’m hoping it’s not a sign of early dementia. But the peace was fleeting. By about 10am my older sons’ school went on lockdown because of a nearby shooting. Not long after we got a message that the lockdown had been lifted, a new lockdown was issued. A double lockdown day doesn’t exactly add years to a mama’s life, let me tell you.
Then last night I got home from a volunteer event just after 9:30. Daddy Will and Sam were already in bed. I poured myself a glass of wine, sat on the couch and started to ask Dub and Nate about the day, about the two lockdowns. We had only been talking for a minute or two, when out of the corner of my eye, what should appear? Santa? Tiny reindeer? I wish. I really do wish.
“Oh my gosh,” I exclaimed. “There’s a bird in the house!”
Dub looked over to where I was looking in the kitchen, “That’s not a bird! It’s a bat!”
The three of us somehow, with much bravery exhibited by Dub, shooed the bat out the door, at least we think. It’s kind of hard to explain the configuration by our back door but we did not actually see the beastly thing flutter out the open door, but we haven’t seen him again despite a thorough search.
When I went to bed it was hard not to think that he might come darting in like a frantic loon again, but somehow I fell soundly asleep. I slept like a baby right up until my phone started that horrific blaring again. This time it was an amber alert but my blood pressure must have been through the roof before I could read the actual alert. Getting back to sleep is never easy when your heart is pounding like you’ve just finished a race against American Pharoah.
Speaking of running with horses, the book I am reading right now is about the prophet Jeremiah. God once asked him, “So, Jeremiah, if you’re worn out in this footrace with men, what makes you think you can race against horses?” Hence, the title of Eugene Peterson’s book, Run with the Horses: The Quest for Life at It’s Best, which was originally published in 1983. Even though I’m still only a third of the way through I highly recommend it!
The book is about living all out like Jeremiah– embracing adventure and wholeness, but begins with a section about how life, for many, is essentially meaningless. Peterson writes:
The puzzle is why so many people live so badly. Not so wickedly, but so inanely. Not so cruelly, but so stupidly. There is little to admire and less to imitate in the people who are prominent in our culture. We have celebrities but not saints. Famous entertainers amuse a nation of bored insomniacs…Petulant and spoiled athletes play games vicariously for lazy and apathetic spectators…
He doesn’t exactly mince words, does he? Following right on this description is this profound observation: “This condition has produced an odd phenomenon: individuals who live trivial lives and then engage in evil acts in order to establish significance for themselves.” Can this, in part, explain terrorists, arsonists, and others of their ilk?
Jesus provides meaning and purpose for my life. His Word provides context and consistency for my worldview. I know where I’ve come from and where I am going. I am not rudderless in search of meaning. But what if I was? What might I do to establish significance? Certainly Peterson’s theory is worth pondering.
Maybe you’ll spend time thinking about it too. But can I ask two big favors? Will you please pray that last night’s bat was the one and only? And secondly will you pray that the United States experiences unprecedented revival?
Because Jesus clearly declared that He is THE answer. In John 14:6 He says, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except by Me.”
Friends, I hope you know Jesus as Lord and Savior — as the way, the truth and the life.