On putting away the idols…

Last Friday morning, before any of the drama with Grandma, I woke up scared.  My husband had had a rare Guys Night and had come in late the night before after I was asleep and had risen early before I was awake to take a couple we love very much to the airport.  I don’t like sleeping alone anymore and don’t like waking up alone either.  But it was already 6:15 or so and Graham should have been getting back home in the next 15 or 20 minutes anyway so I shook off the funk and went about the morning ministrations.  The 20 minutes turned into 40 and 50 and an hour and finally at 7:40 (and about 20 phone calls that ranged from politely inquiring as to his whereabouts to a bit less politely inquiring to rather panicky demands that he tell me where he was right now) I started to genuinely worry.  After everything that had been happening with staff and their families the mind can wander quickly down a bad road with surprising speed.  Is he on the side of the road somewhere?  Did his stupid horrible phone turn off and he’s fine sitting in chick-fil-a somewhere and has no idea I was trying to call?  Is he dead?  Is he injured? [insert every imaginable out of control thing that could go wrong here].

I realize he was only gone an hour.  Give me some grace.  It’s been a tough week.

Anyway, he called around then and I realized he was at a discipleship group he often goes to on Friday mornings and he realized how upset I really was.

Fast forward the 16 hours to finding out my grandmother was being rushed to the hospital and my peace of mind was basically shot.

Here’s the thing.  I don’t have idols like we think of idols.  Little engraved images of this eastern deity on my bedside table or a menagerie of animals or objects.  I may not even struggle with idolatry in the way we speak of it in church  at times: to technology or pornography or money and power (though they are very real and I am not above them).  But I do struggle with it.  I have my idols.

After Friday morning and Friday night I found out they’re called by more innocuous names like “Health” and “Family” or “Perfection” and “Comfort.”  I idolize my family.  I do.  When I thought of Graham dead or injured somewhere I struggled to maintain control.  When it looked like my grandmother was on her way out I found myself staring at the ceiling, the only coherent though in my mind being “really Lord?  Not this week.”

Why is that?  Is it because I genuinely care for my husband and my grandmother- for their comfort and health?  Sure.  Is it because I do not want to imagine living without them?  Sure.  Is it because I don’t really believe that God has my best in mind? And there it is.

Jesus promised that he would never leave us or forsake us.  That doesn’t always seem like it would be enough.  But it is.  He promised it would be.

My grandmother will pass away eventually.  At 91 she is spry and amazing, but that too will pass eventually and she will die and go to her true home in heaven with God.  My husband will get hurt.  Because that happens, and because he’s my husband and things happen even more frequently to him than other people.   My 62 year old father might  be suddenly taken from us at one of my kids basketball games in five years.  Or they may never make it back from their dream Mediterranean cruise he and my mom leave for on Saturday.

Whether expected or not, these idols I have will be taken away.  One way or another.

I can give them up, and exclaim with great audacious hope that I will stand on Christ the only solid rock I know of- or they will be torn from my white knuckled fingers.

I will choose to put away the idols.  And then tomorrow, I will wake up and choose it again.  I might even get to choose it again later today (probably will).

I’ll leave you (and me) with the great hymn of Edward Mote:

My hope is built on nothing less
Than Jesus’ blood and righteousness.
I dare not trust the sweetest frame,
But wholly trust in Jesus’ Name.

When darkness seems to hide His face,
I rest on His unchanging grace.
In every high and stormy gale,
My anchor holds within the veil.

His oath, His covenant, His blood,
Support me in the whelming flood.
When all around my soul gives way,
He then is all my hope and stay.

When he shall come with trumpet sound,
Oh may I then in Him be found.
Dressed in His righteousness alone,
Faultless to stand before the throne.

On Christ the solid Rock I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand;
All other ground is sinking sand.

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2 Responses to On putting away the idols…

  1. Mary Walthall says:

    I love love this hymn…this is one of my favorites!!! hope you are well and we all are guilty of thinking that way. I tend to think that way more often then I should. Jesus alone should be our Great Comforter and Our Solid Rock. I am a big worry wort but I have learned I just have to trust in Him and everything will work out according to His Divine Plan. 🙂

  2. Cara Kay says:

    Wow Susan! That simultaneously blessed my soul and broke a few toes. I face the fact daily that my kids and Larry are my idols … they say I have a PhD in Worry! I can so relate to the feelings you wrote about. When I can’t get in touch with Blake or Bryanna, my worry goes into overdrive. After a good worry-session, the Holy Spirit steps in and reminds me that even if things don’t go exactly the way I want them to, things will go exactly the way God planned them to. And HE will sustain me through whatever happens.

    I wish you could come here during spring break and have some girl time since those smelly boys are invading you! I miss you and Graham so much! Love to both of you!!!

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