Why do we not listen? Some say they’ve heard it before. Yeah, you heard it another time, but do you know where the oxygen mask is on THIS plane? Do you really know, if you are sitting on an exit row, how to open that door all by yourself, or are you just sitting there for the extra legroom? Are you sure you know how to strap on that mask and would you really be able to quickly do it while gasping for air? And how about that exit row? Have you “looked around for the nearest one” on THIS plane? I’m really not sure we all know this stuff just because we’ve heard it all before.
I’m thinking, as I’m sitting on this plane typing, that the real reason I didn’t listen so well is because I don’t think we’re crashing today. I don’t think it’s a happening thing. I did pray that we would have a safe flight. I want the Lord to be with me. But really, I have to admit I’m among the many who think the chances of safety are good. That’s why I didn’t listen. And really, thanks to modern technology and safety laws, they are.
But are we nonchalant about more certain catastrophic events? Why are our lives so messed up with sin, and yet we really don’t listen when the preacher tells us what to do about sin in view of impending judgment? Why is that man on pew three still getting drunk every Friday night when the Bible clearly says those who do such things can’t have eternal life (Galatians 5: 19-21)? Why is that teenager clinching the pew through every invitation song, when she knows there would be no hope for her unsaved soul if Jesus came today? Why is that young man whispering and laughing with his girlfriend all through the sermon that’s filled with the “emergency” readiness information about the catastrophic end of the world? Why do the couples who understand that they are living in adultery keep choosing to ignore the clear warnings of Scripture? In short, why are we not listening?
I think it’s likely the same reason. We just don’t really think it’s a happening thing. Sure, we’ve heard it all of our lives and, on some level, we believe it. I mean, we do believe in God and, at some point, probably before most of us can recall, we learned about what happens at the end. We learned that the final and eternal destination of our “flight” is determined by how well we listen to and heed the instructions in the good book. But some of us put that information out of our minds each time we hear it. It’s uncomfortable to think about the “safety information.” We’ve heard it before and to listen again is redundantly difficult. So we turn a deaf ear to the information that will be sorely needed in case of an emergency. Only this upcoming event—the end of time and the destruction of the earth—is not truly an emergency at all. It is a promised event; something that will factually occur just as described in scripture. It will be horrendous for so many. It will be astonishing to all…beyond anything we’ve ever imagined. But it will not be a surprise to those who have been in the Book. This cataclysmic event is not described as “in the unlikely event.” It’s not an off chance or a marginal possibility. It is a happening thing. It’s also more than just a possibility that we could be saved if we apply the “safety information.” It’s guaranteed. So why do we not listen?
Well, I could not imagine a word in the bio she had requested a few weeks earlier being difficult for her to pronounce. There were a few longer words in there, but I figured she could say Argentina and lectureships… just nothing too challenging in there.
I finally asked her exactly what word she was having trouble saying. She said it was incontinent. I smiled and allowed that the word incontinent is not in my bio.
She looked a little sheepish and said, “Yes, it is.”
I knew the continents, as in “Cindy Colley has spoken in several states and on 4 continents” might be in there, so I explained that. She insisted that the word was INcontinent.
She got the folded copy of the worn bio out of her purse. There, encircled several times and syllabically divided was the word: in/con/ti/nent. The entire phrase was as follows. “Cindy’s attends the West Huntsville church of Christ, where her husband serves as the pulpit minister, an elder and a coach for the incontinent.”
“No! Surely not. How can this be?” I read and reread and, sure enough, there it was in black and white. “Where did you get this?”
“From your husband,” she responded. “We wrote and asked him for your bio and he sent this in an email.”
Then, it hit me. Several months ago, a well known website had asked Glenn for our bios for use in promoting a seminar series. Glenn was very busy at the time and asked me to type a short one up and e-mail it to him. I did so, including that little “joke” about him and enclosing a little note asking him if he minded proofing it for me before sending it in. Just a little husband/wife nonsensical fun I was about, you see. He would read it, chuckle and edit it. Just a quick little piece of everyday, marital fun that flavors our days. I thought no more about it.
Several days later the lectureship was mentioned and I asked him if he got those bios in. He said he did. I asked him if he proofed mine and he said, “It was great, I’m sure.”
You guessed. After one moment that included explaining what I had done, a “You did NOT do that!”, a “Yes, I did,” an amazing blush and a bewildered look on his face, a bit of craw-dadding on both parts and a laughter that slowly erupted and filled the room, he made a quick call and, sure enough, to his chagrin, the bio was already posted in cyberspace.
That’s it. The bio was already up and the page had already been visited by a limited number of people. “Well…we need to edit that bio, like, maybe, right now.” I heard the urgency in his end of the conversation. Thankfully, the edits were quickly done and the continency coach nor the coach’s wife ever heard any more about the blooper and we forgot all about it…
Until last week. We’ve come to the realization now that the email was originally entitled Cindy’s Bio. Further he failed to delete the e-mail from his inbox. And furthermore, he has been forwarding it on to who knows how many churches requesting biographical information.
Three lessons you should learn from this post:
- First and foremost: My husband is not an incontinency coach. I don’t even know how that would be done. I do not think that job would be a very productive field or effective career.
- Wives should remember to check up (in a timely fashion) on the results of their April Fool’s jokes or jokes that should have been saved for such a holiday (especially if said jokes are in writing).
- Husbands should probably take the time to proof short pieces if their wives nicely ask them. (I know this is probably a more rare request in some homes than ours, but proofing is at least a semi-daily activity in ours.)
I once was privy to the words of a godly wife to her husband in a time when her trust in him had been seriously betrayed. These words she left on a greeting card on his dresser. I will never forget them: “We have made it through some really hard things together. I think we can make it through this, too. I love you…” That was many years ago and this faithful couple is doing great things together in His kingdom still today. They are deeply devoted to each other. When laughter is a staple of your home life, it flavors on the best of days and heals on the worst of days. And this medicine has no expiration date.
Laughter does good like a medicine…(Proverbs 17:22).
” Thou hast granted me life…” Job 10:12