Have you ever considered that much of our culture views God as a cosmic killjoy? I’ll get back to that in a bit.
Our son Cory left for California on Tuesday. It was tearful.
Words of my dad ran through my head, “Just when your kids grow up and become fun, they move away!”
But, Cory had places to go, people to meet and according to a comment that he made to his sister, “I have responsibilities that you don’t understand!”
Yeah, I suppose the whole family got in on the act. Without meaning to do so, we became killjoys. We just didn’t want him to leave. It had been an awesome Christmas.
I facetiously said to Cheryl what I always say, “Why did we have them? They just break our hearts?”
On his way out the door, I said to Cory, “Be careful!” It was kind of dumb to say that. He’s not going to hit the road and intentionally be careless. I am sure that he never thought to himself, “I am going to jump on the Interstate and be un-careful!”
Still, that’s what a loving father does…cautions his son about the perils on the road, even though saying those words was probably as useless as giving a bicycle to a fish!
But, that’s what you do! You tell your kids to be careful, warn them of the perils of the road and then say, “Be careful! Call me if you need anything.”
Though what our family said to Cory was in love, I am sure was interpreted as killjoy comments. And, it got me to wondering if just maybe when we read of the Good, Good Father in his Word…just maybe we might misinterpret what God says in love as being killjoy comments too!
I considered the story of Cain. What a cosmic disaster!
I say this joking and not, but we only get to the fourth chapter of the Bible before somebody gets killed. For crying out loud we are a violent bunch!
The scene opens and there is Adam and Eve’s firstborn son. The very first child of the new world. His name is Cain and he is technically a farmer.
He has a little brother named Abel. Abel is a shepherd and possesses a holy, loving heart for the Lord. We know this because the Bible tells us that he offered God the fat of his flock, the best that he had as an offering.
On the other hand, Cain is not so holy and not so loving. We are told that he offered the Lord his leftovers and the Lord was not all that open to receiving them.
Yet, of all the nerve, Cain had the audacity to be upset over the matter, “So Cain was exceedingly displeased, and his countenance was sad (Genesis 4:5b Aramaic text).”
But, the Good, Good Father steps up to resolve the issue and offers Cain the choice of Door #1 or Door #2.
Door #1: “Then the Lord said to Cain, ‘Why are you angry? Why is your face downcast? If you do what is right, will you not be accepted (Genesis 4:6-7a NIV)?’”
(In other words, if you change your attitude and your heart, I will most certainly be pleased with your offering. You can have the type of relationship with me that your brother enjoys.)
Door #2: “But if you do not do well, sin crouches at your door; it desires to have you, but you must rule over it (Genesis 4:7b NIV).”
The Good, Good Father is saying all the right things. “Be careful! I am here when you decide you need me! But, you must choose Door #1. There are perils on the road!”
God implores Cain to reconcile with Abel. “You should return to your brother, and he shall be subject to you (Genesis 4:7b Aramaic Text).”
(Cain was the older brother and if he chose Door #1, culture demanded that Abel defer to his authority.)
But, Cain had other ideas. He lured Abel to a grassy plain and killed him.
The words of the Good, Good Father are haunting, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries to me from the ground (Genesis 4:10 Aramaic text).”
Door #2 had the power to destroy! It destroyed Cain’s family! It destroyed Cain’s life!
But…bear in mind that previously the Good, Good Father was urging Cain to repent, to choose differently. “Cain, be careful! I know things have not worked out the way that you had hoped. It’s not too late. You still have time to reconsider and this will lead to an abundant life.”
I am sure what Cain heard was that the Cosmic Killjoy is encroaching in upon my life, telling me what to do! It’s my life anyway and I want to live it the way I choose.
Cain had a full head of steam and the consequences of his actions have spilled over onto every generation since. Cain was at a fork in the road with two paths in front of him. He could choose to surrender to the Good, Good Father or kick away and do things on his own.
I suspect there is a wee bit of Cain in all of us. I suspect there may even be a wee bit of resentment in our hearts when we realize that God desires us to be tethered and does tell us what to do!
What we may perceive is cosmic killjoy is actually cosmic love. When we choose Door #1, we enter a realm of abundance.
Jesus said, “Peace I leave with you; my own peace I give you; not as the world gives, I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled and do not be afraid (John 14:27 Aramaic text).”
Culture may be alluring with flash and glitter and all…but the Good, Good Father gives what the world cannot: peace; wholeness; abundance…and comfort and joy.
The son texted last night. He was stopping in Vicksburg, Mississippi. I did tell him to be careful. That’s what a loving father does.
Who knows, maybe something I said landed! You never can tell!