Devotional: Applying the Bible to my today.
Read: James 1:12-18
When a woman encounters a pregnant woman, she begins to ooze details of her own pregnancy and delivery, retelling all the difficulties, joys and anticipations of the 9-months leading up to birth because it is such an amazing experience. On the other hand, I am fairly tight lipped regarding the intimate moments just before and after our son Elliot was stillborn. People can assume the nightmare without the details; it's painful for me to recall and excruciating for people to hear. For many, I felt like the pink elephant in the room of every baby shower, as if I was this drab, horrible reminder of what could happen, but nobody dare say it out loud at that moment because obviously we didn't want to ruin the excitement and anticipation.
Let's pretend Elliot's autopsy report stated he died because I had eaten a combination of peanuts and mints (his real autopsy had no definitive information). Now imagine I'm sitting at this baby shower. Baby's size is being guessed, name is being revealed, and presents are being opened. What joy!... Until I see the "mother-to-be" has a plate full of peanuts and mints.
Panic stricken, I head her way and quietly mention, "Please don't eat those; it won't be good for the baby."
She chuckles, "You're so paranoid! Everything is fine, and I LOVE these things."
Here's the conundrum: Do I ruin her time of good food and joyful anticipation or do I sit quietly and allow her to experience the detriment later when she, like me, has to experience holding her stillborn baby?
James provides this imagery of lust/sin being like that of a pregnant woman; there is a time of bliss and excitement. He continues to paint a horrifying reality, the one that nobody really wants to mention because it ruins our googley eyed version of what we believe our choices (better known as sin) will become. Rarely does anyone flail themselves into temptation realizing the full extent of the repercussions. People choose to follow their temptations with an anticipation that the good will outweigh the bad... the merry expectation of what it will be like if we sink our teeth into that relationship we know we shouldn't pursue, if we just swindle a little money from "the man", if we sweep the crisis pregnancy under the rug in protection of our young daughter, if we do nothing when we know we should do something... our current and future days will be glorious, right? Yet when lust has conceived it gives birth to sin which brings forth death. Imagine the broken heart of the mother that anticipated so much more but instead received death; this is the heartache we launch for ourselves and future generations when we do things our way rather than the way God created it - not necessarily an actual stillborn baby, but similar pain and suffering.
After experiencing a stillbirth, James' imagery washes all over me. I don't wish for anyone to experience the amount of pain and suffering we did after holding his lifeless body. So what am I to do when I see people I love heading down a road that seems glamorous when I know it is contrary to God's word? Am I a jerk if I speak up? Am I a jerk if I don't speak up?
Even though I too have sinned causing pain for myself and others, I have also experienced the jaw-dropping benefits of following Christ even when it doesn't make sense to me. That's the way I want to live the rest of my life, and I want those around me to experience the same benefits. He is the Creator; He knows best, and, holy smokes, is He amazing. So, please, please, please, if I ever talk to you with concern about temptation you're walking into, know I have done it prayerfully, tearfully, and with humility. I never want you to hold death when you hoped for so much more. And if you ever see me teetering that line of temptation and sin, don't be a jerk - say something.
- What are you participating in, if anything, that may be contrary to God's word that you are justifying because you believe the good outweighs the bad?
- If you are wrapped up in something you know will ultimately lead to this type of pain and suffering, what is a step you can take today to get away from it?
- When choosing God's plan is difficult, it's sometimes helpful to remember His promises for those who love Him. What are some of God's promises that you can joyfully anticipate?
Featured Image Credit: Aaron Thomas