Tornadoes are dusty. They get in your mouth and in your eyes and choke you. They get in your hair and in your clothes and in your ears. They try to kill you. It’s not pleasant.
Hurricanes are wet. Hurricanes are big. Hurricanes are powerful, loud, and terrifying. Hurricanes knock ships over like bowling pins, and send the ocean into the air like a child blowing bubbles. They aren’t pleasant either.
But both have something wildly attractive about them. Both are bursting with energy; both are tearing up Earth and flinging it places. One has lighting in it; one has trees in it. And both make me want to chase them.
But personally, I’d rather die in a hurricane than in a tornado. I love water much more than I love dust, especially if its a comparison while they’re in my mouth. Somehow, if I’m going to die, I would infinitely prefer a hurricane. But both are attractive if I’m not planning on moving to God’s house today.
Demons and Angels. Angels and Demons. Them. Both can kill you. Both are significantly more powerful than we think of them.
Most of our world today views demons as little red creatures with horns and a scowl. And as C.S. Lewis says, they probably encourage that. But what happens when you say the word “Angel”? I’ll tell you. They think fat babies with wings, harps, and smiles. They don’t think eleven-foot creatures covered with eyes, three pairs of wings, and a deep booming voice. Now granted, that’s probably not what the average angel looks like, barring the wings, but still. Not fat infantile cherubs.
Sin is attractive. Sin is fun. Sin is nice to get into merely for the sake of doing what you’re not supposed to. Playing in the dirt is nice too, getting it properly rubbed into your fingernails and hair. You get it all over your socks and into your pockets, and occasionally in your mouth, if you’re very young.
But then something weird happens. Your father comes out and sees you playing in the dirt…in your Sunday clothes. Your brand new ones. God sees you coming out of that building (duh), and what do you know? Someone runs over your cat. The big stick is hauled out of the closet, and the bedroom door closes.
In case you aren’t getting it (I’m not random, I just think faster than you), here’s what I’m trying to say. Sin is like dirt. It’s absolutely smashing for a while, but then you find out that family pictures are in ten minutes. You look down at your mud-covered skirt and white socks with lace, and burst into tears. Now you look like someone who was “playing in the dirt and then had a good cry and wiped his face with his hands, which was, in fact, exactly what he had been doing.” (Lewis paraphrase). Brilliant. You steal the money from your friend’s car, and then he tries to treat for lunch.
But I’m not done yet. Sin, when you’re neck deep in it, is also like quicksand. If you struggle against God’s grace, you sink deeper and deeper, faster and faster. The only way to get out is to rest against His grace, trust Him, and swim.
And then there’s obedience to God and the law. It’s absolutely wonderful. You confess all your sin, you apologize to your mother, you beg for forgiveness, and start all over. It’s one of the best feelings in the world, especially once you realize that probably, the sin you’ll be asked about in heaven is only the sin you haven’t confessed both to God and the person you sinned against. It’s like paddling about in the water (not in your Sunday clothes), and being able to both swim and touch the bottom. It’s great.
Once you are in complete fellowship with God, the water will get a little deeper (water here being God’s love and blessings), and a little deeper, and a little deeper. Then what do you know, you’re lifted up on this great column of whirling water. You are in the hurricane. God isn’t a tame lion–his love isn’t warm and fuzzy. His love is the sort of love that makes you dizzy and wobbly-kneed. His love is like surfing huge waves, and knowing you wont fall.
That’s all I was going to say in this post, but while I’m here I’m going to mention that God’s love is also like wine. It’s great in small doses. Simply great. But if you drink too much too fast, it goes to your head, and you start sinning again. That “On top of the world” feeling can make you drunk. The apostles were excited, because the spirits listened to them. Jesus told them to cut it out and get their feet back on the ground. Sometimes, waves can totally crunch surfers. But only when they take waves too big for them.
Now this isn’t saying we shouldn’t try. Life is made of trial and error. But take baby steps for a while, until you can actually walk. And remember, the dude who made the Sun is waiting to catch you when the water goes over your head.
Have fun in the hurricane, and don’t chase the tornado.