No Turning Back, a.k.a. Pillar of Salt

Salt, in the Scriptures, is usually shown in a positive light. It brings flavor and sustaining power to life. But there is a case where salt is not so good.

In Genesis 19, Lot and his family are told to get out of dodge. The city in which they live has gone sour. Five chapters early, Abram saved both Lot and the entire city from destruction from neighboring kings. This salvation however does not serve as a wakeup call for the city, but rather an endorsement of their declining behavior. Gratitude gives way to wanton greed, lust, and violence. They turn against Lot, against God, and against each other. Now, God is ready to clean house.

Before He sends in the bulldozers, however, he tells Lot to get out, promising Lot safe passage so long as he and his family do not look back. Lot’s wife does and she turns into a pillar of salt. Some scholars hold this to be an origin story for the salt columns that surround that neck of the woods (the Dead Sea). But I think it serves as a great reminder. Lot chose Sodom because it seemed like a better deal than Abram’s field. The Jews wanted to go back to Egypt because at least there they were guaranteed three square meals and front row seats to the most decadent culture in town.

But God is not distracted by fancy appearances. He looks at the heart. He knows what is good for us and what is not, and if He says go, we need to go. And not look back.

It’s so easy. You can spend a lifetime looking back. Saying, if only… or what if… but God wants us to keep moving forward. He knows the journey is hard. That is why He allows Lot several pitstops along the way. But still we need to go forward.

For better or worse, all we have is this moment. And what we do with it determines what the next moment looks like, and the moment after that. Will you keep taking the next step forward, even when it’s hard? Will you trust God with the journey?

Vanity Mirror

Ecclesiastes is an interesting book. Some consider it a bit of a downer and it kind of is, but the context of what is being said is truly transformative.

The book is credited to Solomon, the man with everything. One of the those people you kinda dread going Christmas shopping for.

But that everything is not enough. In fact, it becomes more of a burden than a blessing, distracting him from the God who gave it to him and ultimately bringing about his ruin.

Now, with everything gone, he thinks back upon his life and cries, “vanity!”

It’s an important reminder: without God, we’ve got nothing, because one day everything else (including our own bodies), will be worm food. So, when we look into that vanity mirror, may all of see Christ, for He alone is our future and our hope.

Existential Jesus

Kierkegaard was right

Suffering is not the end,

but the redefinition

the renewal

of all things.

our suffering,

though may be the end of our

romantic notions

our theories and projects,

does not catapult us into chaos

nor consume us,

but rather catapult us into completion.

upon the cross, Christ proclaimed

“it is finished”

but that was not even the end of His EARTHLY

ministry

He returned after His death to continue

doling out the Great Commission

upon which His church was spread.

and so in death we also continue

our suffering

is only just the beginning

of an abundant life.

The Monsters Inside Us

In my dream I am being chased by Sweetums, the muppet

down an endless hallway

I run and I run, but I can’t escape

so he overtakes me and gobbles me up

and I’m in the belly of this muppet

in the dark

saying to myself,

“It’s a dream it’s a dream it’s a dream!”

But I can’t wake up

and I don’t wake up until I shut up.

That’s when I finally awake.

 

Life is like that.

There are monsters in our lives

that we can’t outrun,

we can’t negotiate or reason with.

There are monsters we must embrace

Because they’re not monsters at all,

but rather instruments of change.

 

And change is scary.

But God is good.

He will get us through.

In a Cloud

In a vision, I saw Jesus standing

before the gates of heaven

holding two great stones:

one labeled TRUTH and the other

GRACE.

“What are these stones for?” I asked.

“This is how I judge the lives of those

who approach the gates.

I have walked with them their entire lives.

By their actions, they have chosen which stone

I shall judge from.”

I noticed only then that He had a sword ready at His hip.

“What of the sword?” I said. “What is that for?”

“Many will storm the gates of heaven,

demanding to be let in.

They do not want or do not have time

to await my verdict.

Some act if they already know,

others actually know and will not stand for it,

but either way I will not let them in.

I protect my sheep. I am the only way in.”

“By which stone will You judge me, LORD?” I asked.

“The choice is yours.

Not by your lips, but your heart do you make your decision,” He said. “Yet the time has not yet come. Return to Earth. Live your life. Go in peace.”

I bowed before the King of Heaven and began to make my exit.

“And Aaron, remember that I am always with You, through the good and the bad. Nothing escapes my sight,” He said.

“I know LORD,” I said, before descending back to Earth

in a cloud.

Scheduled Execution

As I set my head upon the guillotine,

A voice descended from heaven.

“Stop! Why do you do this?” It said.

“Because I am guilty,” I said, “deserving death.”

“Your sins are grave, but I took them to the grave

They died with me and I brought you up

into new life. Do you not remember this?”

“I forget so easily,” I said.

“Rise, my child, into my grace,

and your new life.”

I did rise after all and since then

have been forever changed,

though that fateful blade still haunts menacingly

the corner of my mind’s eye.