Here is something that I’m sure is perfectly ordinary but you may not know about me: I hate driving in traffic on the interstate. I literally flip the junk out, whether I’m hyperventilating behind the wheel, flailing my arms in the passenger seat, or blindfolded and gagged in the trunk.
I avoid them at all costs. Bumper to bumper cars all driving at 80 miles per hour, neck and neck with massive 18-wheelers? Do you guys realize how close to death we are in these moments? Y’ALL! We are inches away from certain decapitation. Give me side roads and back roads that’ll take me an hour out of the way any day over an interstate.
And this is a constant, permanent reality, because unfortunately I have to go places (so annoying). If you don’t hear from me for a few days, it’s because I’ve been flattened on I-35.
But for now, here I sit, alive and well and comfy in my bed (which is 70 feet off the ground, so I could die in the night simply by rolling one inch too far in my sleep. Splat!) reading and drinking ice water and know what? Being alive in this position is awesome.
And I am honestly mind-blown, now that I think about it, how many brushes with death I have on the daily, or at least the weekly, and how for the most part I remain unphased by these experiences:
Caleb: “So, what are you up to?”
Me: “Oh just casually standing in what might be puppy pee or coffee–too tired to bend down and look right now–and straightening my hair with a contraption hotter than Satan’s rear end which is plugged into an electrical outlet. You?”
Caleb: “Trying to get to work and the guy in front of me is only going eighty and there’s a semi riding my butt and–hang on–almost missed my exit but lucky for me I have reflexes like a bat out of hell and I just merged into a sea of speeding two-ton oversized pick-up trucks like a boss.”
You know what I should really be doing? Thanking God for the very breath I breath and also become self-sustaining starting with a garden so I never have to go anywhere ever.
I’ve been reading John 8 verses 1 through like 12 or something–where these bozo Pharisees try to trick Jesus by bringing in some shameless hussy and saying, “Dude, the bible says to stone the crap out of this woman. Soooooo….?” And Jesus, never one to befuddle a Pharisee (*always one to befuddle a Pharisee*) bends down and starts drawing in the dang dirt–I can only imagine how maddening that would’ve been to someone with an agenda–and then He says “Okay let’s get it started. The person who hasn’t sinned, go ahead, throw that first stone.”
And one by one, the bozos drop their stones and walk away quietly. And Jesus is still drawing in the dirt.
Can we just: I would have loved to have been there to see this scene unfold.
But here is the thing of all of it: on a bad day, I am a Pharisee, judgemental and ready to see justice served swiftly–or maybe even to serve it myself.
On a good day, it is me in the dirt there at Jesus’s feet, trembling and shaking and awaiting my sentence. Lord please let’s just get this over with quickly.
The bible doesn’t say if this woman ever tried to defend herself or argue her case–I’m assuming she wasn’t even allowed to but in the face of pretty much certain death you’d think maybe one pitiful excuse would slip out–and it doesnt really say what happened to her afterward. She wasn’t stoned. She should have been according to the law and according to everyone in the crowd. Adulterer–we must have her blood!
But I do know this: anyone who has ever been truly face to face with their own impending doom does not walk away from it unchanged.
John 8:10-11 says that Jesus asked this lady in the dirt at his feet: “So is anyone around to do the thing?” And the lady said “No one sir.”
Jesus told her “Neither do I condemn you. Go and sin no more.”
And I can’t forget that our God is a God of second chances. And I can’t be judgemental like a Pharisee. I am this woman more often than not. Each time I feel too scared to move with fear or guilt or sorrow over a particular sin, Jesus pulls me up and says “go and sin no more.”
He didn’t say go and be perfect, but he also doesn’t say “go and keep on frolicking in this sin, as long as it’s only once in a while and for a good reason.” The lifestyle, the pattern, of sin is unacceptable after He saved this woman and He makes that crystal clear.
For us to walk away from death and darkness unscathed, we have to be walking into life and light.
And if we ever feel like it’s too much to fight, remember that Jesus stood up for the woman in the middle of that crowd and He died on a cross and poured out His own blood for that sin you think is too mighty. That happened.
You guys have a spectacularly uneventful day full of absolutely no life-threatening activity.