Charles and I can’t help but laugh. Every time an advertisement comes on the tv about some medicine that will help one problem, and then goes on to describe the 20 other problems it may cause, we laugh. Of course, most everyone probably knows the most famous ad….It claims to help with marital relations, but it may cause “sudden vision loss, hearing loss, chest pains, shortness of breath….” So, a man might be blind, deaf, having a heart attack and lack oxygen, but he can accomplish one thing (that is if he can find his woman and get to her before he dies!) There are many other commercials with the same “fine print.”
One day, as I heard one of these commercials, I thought, “What if we could hear the truths about sin like that?” Satan would come to us and say, “Do this and you can do one thing….Cheat and you’ll have more money, lie and you can keep your pride, drink and you can relax, defend yourself and you’ll be protected, don’t try to work things out with your spouse or you will lose your rights.” In the moment, we may take it hook, line and sinker. But as we continue in Satan’s plan we begin to experience the fine print. We too, become blind to truth, fearful of being found out, our hearing for God’s whispers diminishes, our marriage seems to be less and less redeemable, our health fails. The list is almost inexhaustible of the horrible plans Satan has for us. He only comes to steal, kill, and destroy.
On the other hand, what Jesus offers may often seem less desirable right at first. “Die to yourself, let go of your pride, tell the truth and trust, give control over to Him and see what He does.” Yet, when we read His fine print we find grace, abundant life, everlasting life, joy, hope and unconditional love.
Life is a process, moment by moment we have to choose which “pill” we are going to swallow. Will it be for short term comfort or control, trying to escape pain, but ultimately leading to it? Or will it be the pill that may be toughest to swallow at the moment, but most healing and life-giving in the long run?
God’s way will include some valleys, struggles and pain, but it is the way to know true, lasting love, as described in one of my favorite books, The Velveteen Rabbit:
“Real isn’t how you are made,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.’
‘Does it hurt?’ asked the Rabbit.
‘Sometimes,’ said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. ‘When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.’
‘Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,’ he asked, ‘or bit by bit?’
‘It doesn’t happen all at once,’ said the Skin Horse. ‘You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”