Monday, May 25, 2009
There, But for the Grace of God
With all that’s been going on in our lives in recent months…I wouldn’t have guessed I’d be writing about Disneyland. But after a brief visit…my heart is full and my mind is mulling over what we encountered.
The Disneyland that I remember fondly from my youth sure has changed.
To celebrate Valentine’s Day and the anniversary of our first date I surprised Chris with annual passes to Disneyland. I figured in the coming months, especially after we purchased a home, it would be a nice getaway.
After a busy, hectic and stressful week…I decided to surprise Chris by getting away for the evening. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been to Disneyland. Maybe 10 years or more. In those intervening years I’ve changed a lot. My Christian faith isn’t just a “go to church on Sunday” kind of faith, but instead it’s deep abiding faith. It influences everything I do, say, see and participate in.
My desire is to seek God fully, to love Him and obey Him. There are days I’m still too full of myself and make poor choices…but thankfully under the guidance of the Holy Spirit I continue to grow daily. I’m forgiven for those times when I sin and by His grace I don’t repeat those sins.
I guess my point is that I see everything in my life through the filter of God and His word.
So when Chris and I went on a ride that I had been on many times in the past…I was surprised by my reaction. Instead of seeing the magic of the animation and adventure…I was seeing it through adult eyes…and one who loves Jesus Christ.
Pirates of the Caribbean…who wouldn’t like that ride? Well…namely me.
Pirates are not good people. They are evil people who engage in all manner of sin and revel in it. Remember recent the events when Somali pirates kidnapped a ship’s captain?
Even the Disneyland ride portrays pirate’s deeds. Let’s see…thievery, drunkenness, kidnapping, sexual immortality, rape, and murder to name a few. However you don’t come away from the ride deeply aware of the wickedness of their sin. Instead you come away humming the tune, “Yo ho, yo ho…a pirate’s life for me”.
Does it strike anyone odd that Disneyland celebrates with lightheartedness the adventures of being a pirate?
On we went to our next ride. How could you go wrong with Splash Mountain? Come on…it’s a kid’s ride.
But this time it wasn’t the ride that caused consternation…instead of was some people standing in line ahead of us. Their behavior caused just about everyone around them to turn away in discomfort or embarrassment.
There were two teen age girls in line, not more than 16 or 17 years old. In their inebriated state, they were engaging in intimate sexual contact with one another. Right in front of families with young children. One of the people around us said they appeared to be on Ecstasy. Whatever it was…they seemed to be on some weird trip and oblivious to everyone around them.
At first I was annoyed by their self centered inappropriate behavior. I was equally annoyed that Disneyland employees seemed to turn a blind eye to their inappropriate behavior. I didn’t know if I should try to find an employee to address the situation or just leave?
Most everyone around us turned away from the girls in embarrassment. Chris and I were glad that our presence blocked the view of a young boy with him mom from seeing the girls.
At first I also turned away. But as the situation continued…I was praying for these girls. Instead of turning away…I was looking at them and hoping that they might actually speak to me. I had a sense of their overwhelming state of being lost. That at such a young age…they were taking drugs and couldn’t distinguish between appropriate and inappropriate public behavior, much less the sinfulness of their actions.
Afterwards I was thinking about their parents. Do their parents have a clue about the depths that their children have sunk? Isn’t the fact that their bodies are heavily tattooed a clue that they may be troubled? What had their parents told them about right and wrong? Or is whatever makes them feel good about themselves that is permitted? Were the girls ever told about what God says in the Bible about homosexuality? Do they have a mom and dad at home? Are they waiting up for them, pacing the floor when they come home late?
When we got off the ride the girls were sitting off to the side. I’m not sure if they were sitting there of their own accord or if a Disneyland employee stopped them and called security.
Even after we left I found myself praying for those girls. Mostly for their salvation. It’s devastating to see young people giving themselves over to sin. Oblivious to the consequences, not only in this life, but for eternity.
If I had it to do over again, I would have probably got out of line and found an employee to address the situation. I would have also been in prayer for these troubled, deceived girls lost in their sin.
But thank you Lord…He is able to save completely all who call upon the name of Jesus Christ and receive forgiveness for their sins.
Lest I feel too good about myself or think I don’t sin, I remind myself, “There but for the grace of God, there go I.”
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