Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Default Setting

The above picture of me holding a tiger cub was what started my train of thought that ended with this post.
(In case you are wondering, the picture was taken when I was in my mid thirties in the West Edmonton Mall. Holding that tiger was one of the more thrilling moments of my life. Just before the photo was snapped the tiger bit my arm. The photographer quipped, “You are not supposed to bite the lady until AFTER she pays.”)

The thread …..

I sent this photo to a friend.
Her daughter liked the photo and finding out that she shared my love of animals I sent her an e-mail about the ‘pets’ I have had in my lifetime. My favourite have been the wild ones that I tamed.

I did not realize as I was reliving some of my animal experiences that I would find an answer to a question that has lurked in the recesses of my mind.

As I was lying in bed this morning, after awakening, I thought about a girl named Susan, whose family I knew well. We grew up in the same church, went to S.S. together and were in the same class in high school.

One beautiful day, when she was 16 , Susan asked to borrow her dad’s convertible to take her very best friend – they were almost inseparable - for a ride.
Her dad agreed with one stipulation. “Don’t take the top down.”
Susan promised and took the keys.
She drove a short distance down the road, pulled over and rolled down the top of the convertible.
She happily drove the familiar route to pick up her friend.
The day was perfect, two best friends laughing together, enjoying the wind in their hair….. Until……..
Susan lost control of the car and rolled it into the ditch.
When the car rolled, Susan’s friend --- this was before the days of seat belts- fell out and the car rolled over her.
She was killed instantly.

The ambulance came and both girls were taken to the hospital. Those who were there remember the hospital corridors ringing with Susan’ screams, “I am a murderer, I am a murderer.”
Her world changed in an instant – the consequence of a moment of disobedience hanging a dark shadow over her that was never lifted for the rest of her life.

I thought about her this morning and I wondered….
Why is it that our default button is set to disobedience??
Why is it always easier to disobey than to obey?
What parent has ever had to teach their child disobedience?

I have always wondered why…….

Then suddenly these two seemingly unrelated trains of thought collided in my mind and I understood!

When we moved to our dream property what I loved best about it was the wild animals and I so enjoyed taming some of them, in particular the squirrels.
We had purchased property that had never been previously populated.
The animals had lived their lives in freedom, undisturbed by man.
So their default button was set to fear me, to disobey my invitation to come close.
They lived outside of me and I had to coax them in.
With great patience and persistence I succeeded in winning their confidence and trust.

When God created man, God created him with a free will.
That meant – outside of God.
Where God is there is perfection, goodness, purity, holiness.
Outside of God is where disobedience reigns, where evil lurks and darkness determines default buttons regarding our choices.
To find God we must respond to His wooing, trust His outstretched Hand; believe that He is for us and not against us.
Except for God’s patient persistence none of us would be His.
We would have stayed where we were comfortable with the default buttons that motivate us toward disobedience and self-rule.

Why did God not set our default button to obey?
Because He wanted a people who would serve him not because they were pre-programmed to obedience but because He desired children who out of the freedom of their hearts CHOSE to love Him.

Our hearts melt when we see how much God loved us that He was willing to bear the parental pain of disobedient children, so that He could have the joy of children who chose to obey.

Obedience is the purest act of service or worship that we can offer God.

In I Sam. 15:22, 23 we see how strong He feels about this….
“Hath the Lord as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices as in obeying the voice of the Lord?
Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice and to hearken than the fat of rams. For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry.”

And yet, much as God hates our disobedience … His desire is to draw men to Himself, not destroy them

"Jeremiah saw and said, “The Lord has appeared of old unto me saying, ‘Yea, I have loved you with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.' "” (Jer. 31:3)

Have you responded to His love and let him change your heart?
Has the default setting in your heart been changed?
Is it set by choice to ‘obedience’ ?


Lovella said...

Isn't it interesting how once we have grasped this truth, we find it so difficult to understand how someone wouldn't or couldn't.

"Oh to be like him, blessed Redemeer . . ."

James Janzen said...

Great post. I can't believe how much your daughter looks like you in that picture. Keep up the good workds.

Anonymous said...

Great post.

I am wondering how Susan is doing today? Has she held onto her guilt and in doing so, has had the rest of her life squelched?

LBP said...

What an interesting and thought provoking post! I have never really thought about this before. I feel so bad for Susan. I can't even imagine how she felt.


Demara said...

I LOVE tiger cubs, and tigers are pretty too!!! My Rufio kept me warm last night as I laid still with migraine the whole night and into the morning. Rufio reminds me of a tiger cub. Same colorings, so beautiful! And to see her eyes closed sleeping makes me feel at peace. This was such a sad post Julie. I had tears welling up in my eyes. And yes I too have thought of these sorts of things. Like we were born FREE sinners who can choose God or not! And it is so easy to default, sometimes. I guess that is why self-control is a feature we are encouraged (by our Father) to practice regularly!!!

Julie said...

In answer to Pam's question..Susan never got over her guilt -- after the accident she did get married but her husband insisted they move far away hoping that would ease the guilt when she was not being constantly reminded - but she never did recover...I'm sure the years have eased the pain..but the Susan of to day and the Susan who would have been are two different people.

Anonymous said...

Guilt and grief do that to us. They change us. Sometimes who we become is better and stronger for the experience and loss, other times we become hostages to the emotions and never become what we were meant to be. We short change our growth and potential because we are afraid to let go, to forgive, to be forgiven. It is so sad.

Hopefully Susan is able to enjoy her husband, kids - if she has them... Joy is possible, even when there is no happiness.

truth said...

I love the picture-where did the tiger come from?

The story of Susan is a familiar one. The boy next door suffered a similar tragedy-killing his best friend's girlfriend. Sadly, he has spent the past 4 years in guilt and has consequently turned away from God. He has a hard time opening up to anyone. He had just turned 16 at the time of the accident and he didn't have permission to have anyone in the car.

Your words are so true.