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Sunday, May 24, 2015

A Virtual Life


I am currently working with kids in a different sort of job for a while.  In this job I’ve noticed kids like to play video games on various kinds of game players, iPads  smart phones, computers and so forth.  I even hear there are adults who spend plenty of time playing those kind of games, too.  (You mean they actually make paper card things to play Hearts with?  Or people can actually roll a ball at white pins at the end of a long set of boards, like, as if in real life???)  

ANYWAY…..I’ve noticed that in a lot of these games, many of which include lots of guns, bombs, zombies and bloodshed, the player of the game risks getting destroyed in one fashion or another.  When you are, there is always something that then sets up the next round, usually a reset button, a time of waiting, or an opportunity for you to spend money to “get a new life.”  Sometimes right away, sometimes for a price, sometimes after a period of waiting, but the game is NEVER completely over, or if it is, there is always the next round.

Do you believe in a circular or a linear view of history.  That is, do you believe there was a starting point and things (including your own life) is moving to some conclusion in the future.  Some religions teach that it is all a big circle, with individuals coming back time and again in different forms, different lives and different eras.  

Biblical teaching, however, clearly disagrees.  The Bible states that however everything started, it was God who was in the beginning getting things going.  As well as it will be God who, at the end of time, will bring an end to everything we now know and experience in the final judgment and start of final eternity.  The video games fits well into the circular scenario, but to apply that over to the world in which we actually live, seems to me, at the very least, to be very misleading.

I was walking my wife's "little-so called" dogs today.  On the route we took, they were very interested when we crossed a rise and they discovered a fresh road kill…an armadillo was in the road, hit by a car and now dead.  Further on we ran across another specimen, this time a squirrel, probably hit last night, it appeared.  Neither animal moved.  The squirrel’s eyes were vacant, the life force drained onto the roadway.  Nowhere around did I notice a reset button, nor do I expect that if I had hung around it would have eventually gotten a new life and run away.  The early life of that squirrel was over (whether it is now living in squirrel heaven would be the topic of another blog). 

Children, especially the very young, are often confused with death.  Often surprised and shocked to learn that a person is not coming back after a tragic death - a shooting or a traffic accident - learning quickly that death is final.  The older child may understand death but doesn't understand the impact of the finality of death upon their own lives or the lives of others.  

We have one life to live.  I will never be a teenager again (and I’m actually very okay with that!).  I will never launch my first career again.  I will never have my first child again.  Among other things, divorce cannot be undone.  Couples can and do reconcile and get married to one another again, but doing so does not change the fact that, at least for a while, they were divorced.

Sometimes in life we do get second chances at things.  I feel very blessed in the second chance at marriage I have had, which has given me the opportunity to enjoy what I feel is a really good marriage.  However, having a second chance is not the same as being able to change our past. 

More often than not, though, we get one chance to make our choices in any given situation.  Often knowing the best or right choice is not always as clear as we would like it to be.  Some of our choices entail negative consequences we never intended nor desired.   Some choices lead us to greater things than we had ever imagined.  Even though there are many books, fantasies and movies about the possibility of time travel and changing history, in real life, that isn’t an option we have.  We make our choices now, and then handle the consequences.  

Whether divorce, marriage, career, education, starting a family…whatever the life issue about which you are required to make choices these days, I invite you to consider the values and bases out of which you make the choices of your life.  The scriptures offer guidance to enable you to be wise and godly choices that will stand strong not just in this world, but also into eternity.  They even offer guidance about how God would have you handle the mistakes of your life that he can use them for something good.  And if you aren’t sure, then Proverbs 1:7 is a pretty good place to start.

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