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Saturday, May 22, 2010

Interview With the Devil

KAREN: Should I call you Satan?

SATAN: King Satan or Prime Demonizer are my preference. I’ll also answer to Lord of Darkness or Our Unholy Earth Father.

KAREN: Okay, Satan it is. It’s so easy for our viewers to see the horrid acts you are responsible for in today’s world…

SATAN: Oh, thank you for the compliment. I’m so glad people are noticing my work today. Even someone in my position sometimes wonders if he’s truly making a difference.

KAREN: You consider what you do making a difference?

SATAN: Oh, yes! What would this world be without me? All harps and fluffy clouds and happy people and good apples. No! No! No! How boring would that be? A world without sin and chaos is no world at all. Sin! I hate that word! He (pointing up) came up with that word, you know. It just sounds bad – sssssin! Most people know it’s really just the fun the self-proclaimed Big Guy doesn’t want them to have.

KAREN: Let’s move on. Since your work today is so… vivid, let’s go back. What do you consider to be one of your most successful acts in Biblical times?

SATAN: Not counting the obvious?

KAREN: The obvious?

SATAN: Adam and Eve. My pride and joy. But everyone knows about them.

KAREN: Adam and Eve? But wasn’t God ultimately in control of…

SATAN: Wait! Wait! Yes! There is so much to choose from. But I am going to have to say Legion.

KAREN: The demoniac?

SATAN: Yes. Oh, wasn’t he just divine? Oh, bad word choice. Wasn’t he perfectly wretched? I didn’t just send one of my demons to possess him, you know. He had many weak spots, that man. I sent an entire legion of demons, and he let them right in. (laughing) People thought he was mad!

KAREN: Wasn’t he?

SATAN: It was the demons, really. Ah, they were just having some fun with him.

KAREN: Fun? He was living like an animal, Satan. He lived in the tombs, bound and shackled by the locals who were afraid of him. He’d break free and run naked out of the desert and into the town streets and attack people.

SATAN: (laughing) Oh, you should have seen it - the things they made him eat and do to himself. Funny stuff. Those demons were some of my best soldiers, but they knew how to have a good time.

KAREN: Even with all of Legion’s weaknesses, Jesus came along and saved and healed him, Satan.

SATAN: Yes. But my demons had a good time of it, and many of my demons today consider them heroes and are inspired by them. We may have lost Legion, but I'm sure my demons since then have gained so many more because of the accomplishments of Legion's demons.

KAREN: But didn’t Jesus destroy Legion's demons?

SATAN (fidgeting and nervous): You mean the pigs? That wasn’t Jesus, and it couldn’t have been foreseen. The demons decided to have some fun with the pigs. How could they have known the pigs were all going to drown themselves? But look at the havoc they wreaked with Legion before they perished. They were very worthy soldiers.

KAREN: Jesus sent them into the pigs, Satan.

SATAN (growing angry): At the demons’ request!

KAREN: And you consider it coincidence that the entire herd of pigs rushed into the river and drowned?

SATAN: What else could it be?

KAREN: So Jesus saved Legion, showing the world His love and destroyed your demons, showing the world His power, and you consider this your success? Do you have any real success stories, Satan?

SATAN: (yanks off his lapel microphone) This interview is over! You dare to mock me! I am Satan! Do you know what I can do to you? (walking out)

KAREN: Absolutely nothing without God’s permission. Jesus has already saved me.

*You can read about the demoniac in Luke 8:26-39.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Thoughts From My Deck as a Storm Approaches

I sit at my cafĂ©-style table on my covered deck, this morning, reading “Romans” while in the near distance a storm rumbles closer. My focus on “Romans” is disrupted by the sounds of nature preparing for the storm’s arrival; I stop reading and absorb all the activity. I HAVE to stop, you see, because God says, “Stop reading and pay attention to Me!” And in case I have any intention of ignoring Him, He shatters my ability to focus on the words – so I still myself in the powerful moment and watch.

From my second-story deck, I gaze out, past the rooftops of our waffle-lot houses, to the forest beyond. The treetops form a jagged line against the sky – a kind of horizon, although I don’t think it is a horizon in the true sense of the word.

I can’t see it from my deck, but I think about the creek on this side of the forest – about the deep, rushing water that is sure to come. The weather guy says rain and storms all weekend, severe at times. My kids and I will not be donning our creek-walking boots, nets in hand, gathering treasures – crawdads, snails, fish, trinkets - this weekend. In a few days, we will explore the new treasures sojourning in our section of the creek before the next storm washes them ever closer to the Duck River.

I think about the snake – the one that lives somewhere under the trail bridge that spans the creek – the one that seems to grow bigger each year – the one that the neighborhood moms demand their kids steer clear of because “he may be poisonous”; I know he is not, so my kids and I often observe him, at a respectable distance, as he slithers through the grass or skims the water’s surface disappearing into the creek bank’s raised walls. I wonder what the snake does to prepare for storms. I’ve heard that chickens hunker down and still themselves. Birds become brazenly verbal – nature’s warning sirens, I suppose. I wonder if this is normal or just because in my yard there are two nests filled with babies the birds must rush to protect.

Trees’ leaves stretch heavenward in anticipation, and I can’t help but think of them in praise when I see the underside of those leaves firm and erect thirsting for God’s nourishment. And before you say, “Silly girl, trees can’t praise God,” I direct you to Psalm 148, verse 7-9:

Praise the LORD from the earth,
Sea monsters and all deeps;
Fire and hail, snow and clouds;
Stormy wind, fulfilling His word;
Mountains and all hills;
Fruit trees and all cedars;

The storm arrives with a grand shock of thunder and a bolt so powerful it lights the dark sky long enough to observe its pure-white brilliance. When I recover from the paralyzing jolt to my body and soul, it occurs to me that nature is not swayed by other gods – false gods. It simply respects the power of God and praises Him without question, and I wonder: why can’t human nature get it right?

**Update 5/27/10**

I had no idea of the power of the storms headed for us that morning as I sat on my deck thinking about nature's storm preparations. I couldn't have foreseen the rain that would pound us for two days straight or the massive flash flooding of our our creeks, rivers, and storm sewers - so intense it turned our interstates to fast-moving waterways. I couldn't have predicted the loss of life or how much damage this storm would do to Nashville and all of Middle Tennessee. Have a look: