Thursday, January 14, 2010

When "good things" Become "god things"

Last week Cindy and I were able to get away to Wapato Point at Lake Chelan. We have a timeshare condo there that we can go to up to three times a year and that week after the holidays worked out good for us this year.

We have been going to this place for the past 15 years or so and have many great family memories. The snow gently fell as we arrived and that took my mind back to the time when we outraced a snowstorm and got into our motel just before the blizzard hit the little town of Manson. What a family adventure!

As I gazed out at the snowy field I saw a dad with three kids walking across the open space. I spotted a couple of kids running ahead of their dad with a little toddler being pulled behind in a sled. That little family looked a lot like me with the younger kids just those 15 years ago.

When Cindy and I went to dinner at the resort’s restaurant a song played over the sound system that we hadn’t heard since our honeymoon 35 years ago. The song, “What Are You Doing For The Rest Of Your Life?” brought back those very early marriage memories.

Later, as I walked past the park area, I visualized several summers ago my bowl-cut elementary school age boys catching fly balls and very patiently trying to catch trout out of that over-fished little pond.

As Cindy and I were enjoying our time I found my mind going back 35 years to our honeymoon and then 15 years to the height of our active parenting years. Memories of the dreamy days of early marriage and of the wonders of “hands on” active parenting of young kids flooded my mind. I grieved because I knew that these days would never return.

This is where I get snared. Rather than being thankful for the good gifts from the Father, I grasp for His gifts to remain as I helplessly watch them slip through my fingers one by one. The creation to me becomes more important than the Creator. The good memories become my little idols, gods that I glorify beyond the reality of the actual moments themselves. (For example, I am never anxious about my future when I remember my early marriage or tired when I remember parenting young kids.)

This is how I think this works on me and on others who struggle with this kind of idolatry. I am self-centered and I tend to measure things according to how I recall the experiences made me feel. For example, in the early days of our marriage I loved the exhilaration Cindy and I felt in launching our young lives together, “just you and me, simple and free.” And that walk in the snow with my children was something I wanted to savor because I knew it could never be repeated in quite the same way again.

So why do I turn the “good things” from the past into “god things,” idols that are hard to let go of? I allow the good things the Father both gives and takes away to become more important than loving the Father Himself. His very nature is to be self-giving, to lavish blessing on top of blessing upon His children. Rather than these things enabling me to love Him more I become wrapped up in the blessings themselves, becoming deeply disappointed when inevitably they don’t last.

I forget that I am on a journey towards home and have not arrived at the Father's House. I forget that these “good things” are meant to be God-given memories now pointing me back to remember His faithfulness. I forget that these moments are only meant to be foretastes that are to increase my anticipation of what He and His Son have in store for me to enjoy throughout eternity.

All Praise To The Father From Whom All Blessings Flow,


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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great perspective Jamie! Thank you!!!