The Dreaded Question

There are two words my husband dreads hearing while we're watching a movie together. Come to think of it, my two kids don't like these words either. Personally, I find the response to these two words to be the very thing my enjoyment of the film rests upon. If you can't answer this particular question, I might as well pack up my popcorn and head for the mall.

I have no need to utter these words as long as we're watching a Disney movie, a cute chick flick, or even a romantic drama. But if you want me to go see a movie filled with spies and intrigue, murder and mayhem, or robots and special effects, you're going to have to get over it and give me the answer to this two-word inquiry.

"What's happening?"

Because my family has refused to answer this question one too many times, I still don't understand the goings on of movies like Star Wars, Harry Potter and the whatever, the Matrix, or Braveheart. And then there's just a huge host of movies I haven't even bothered to see because I know my family members will just glare at me if I utter those two dreaded words. And, no, there's no point in me going to those movies alone because then I have no hope of getting that question answered by anyone at all.

I'm not a dimwit, although my family might beg to differ when it comes to movies. I scored quite high on reading comprehension tests back in the day. But for some reason when people start whispering code words, pulling out mystical weapons, taking on secret personae, or going into dimly lit rooms to have intelligence meetings, I find myself out of the loop.

That's pretty much how I felt this morning as I read through portions of 2 Kings. To put it bluntly, I got lost. 

I have a lot to read each morning if I'm going to get through the Bible in a year (which I'm not because I'm hopelessly behind), so I don't really like to reread portions. I have other times when I meditate on scriptures, study the Bible, and search through the Bible for answers to questions. But when I'm reading in the morning I like to read straight through and just let it fall on me, simple and sweet. 

Well the chapters I read in 2 Kings weren't simple this morning at all. As I read, I found myself asking that dreaded two-word question: what's happening? Fortunately my family was no where around and I think God is a lot more tolerant of my ignorance than they are. But  I didn't hear any small, still voice answering my question either. So I did what I rarely do and reread. I went back and tried to really pay attention to who said what to whom, who went where, why they said that, and what was going on before we ever even got here. 

Unfortunately, just as in many of the movies my husband chooses to watch, I also had to step lightly over a lot of blood and guts, murder and mayhem, conspiracy and intrigue. Like I said, I'm not too good with that sort of plot line no matter how many times I push rewind. If you'd like to give it a shot, I was reading from 2 Kings 9-10. Good luck...and enjoy!

Of course when I read my daily Bible reading these days I also feel a little self-imposed pressure to pull something out to share with the minions who gather at this blog each day. Ahem. So while I'm stumbling over one murder plot and onto the story of Jezebel's body being eaten by the dogs, I'm trying to figure out what I'm going to write about. What pithy maxim, what practical application, what piece of wisdom can we pull from this horrid interesting story?

But nothing came. 

Except this.

The further we get from God, the more our lives resemble a horrible, convoluted, messy plot in a movie filled with murder, mayhem, intrigue, and conspiracy. Not to mention evil.

You see we all have a few problems. Right now, I have a few problems. Those problems weigh heavy on our minds, break our hearts, concern us, keep us on our knees. That's life, even with God. 

And then there are times when we find ourselves with PROBLEMS. Those are the times when our lives look more like a conspiracy theory movie or some science fiction thriller than a sweet romantic comedy. And how did we get there? The same way the kings of Israel and Judah got into the problems of 2 Kings: by pulling further and further away from God, going our own way, and making one bad choice after another until those problems are piled around us like bloody bodies in a refuse heap. It's an ugly picture, I know. But then I just spent 30 minutes reading gore and violence.

You see, while I couldn't really make heads or tails of what was going on in those passages this morning, I think I did get the bottom line of it all. When we're living apart from God and shaking our fists in His holy face, we can expect no less than mayhem and madness in our lives.

So here's the application for you and me today. 

Are the decisions I'm making today, small and big, thickening the plot or sweetening it? 

That's not just a cute little question to admire; it's one we really need to ask ourselves because I've found that once you're in the middle of a thickened plot it's too late to ask "what's happening?" By then the sticky, maddening web has been spun and the only way out is through a string of hard decisions, difficult conversations, and heart-wrenching apologies, some of which will go unaccepted. Quite honestly, sometimes there's no way out of the mess. We just have to live with the consequences and pray that God redeems something from the wreckage.

So I leave you with some heavy stuff. Sorry. But that's what happens when you spend the morning with the likes of Jehu and Joram and Jezebel in 2 Kings.

Keep your life simple, friend. Stick with God, the only One who can always answer the question, "What's happening?"

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