I’m sure that the “bait and switch” tactics of yesteryear are somewhere still being employed. The idea is to advertise a really great deal, one which is so attractive, intoxicating, that you head into the store/dealership so lathered up that you aren’t really thinking straight. And to your great disappointment, the item that you wanted so badly has just been sold out. But because of the generosity and nobility of the business, they will make a special deal just for you today to buy this much better unit, because they feel your pain. The catch is that the replacement is so much better, that you must pay much more than you first intended. But your juices are flowing, you are in a buying mood, and the switch has taken place. And you bite… I was thinking about this on the ride home this afternoon, because this is exactly the routine that Satan uses on us. We go to God for X, and we start out patient, trusting, faithful. God is good, He gives good gifts to His children, so we are in an expectant and hopeful frame of mind. Time passes, and the need is still unfilled. Our level of “need” hasn’t changed, but we’re “lathered up” now, the pump has been primed, our level of desperation has risen, and God has not come through. Maybe we try to help Him, like Father Abraham and Sarah. Even pillars of the faith can stumble and fall, grow disillusioned. And when that happens, the trap has been baited and set, and we often bite. And as soon as we do, the familiar taste of steel in the corner of our mouth causes the self-loathing to arise within us. Aside from derailing God’s plan to make us armed and dangerous for the Kingdom, and to liberate those in bondage, it also separates us from the healing grace that we need to be restored. The shame and fear of rejection keep us from running, stumbling, even crawling after the grace that will restore us and bring us back into the light. And back into the fight. That’s the plan. That’s why secrets are bad things. Because they cast a shadow of darkness over something, let it gain power and influence, and give it a room with a private view. And then when you have been separated out of the herd, and are alone, the enemy “kicks it up a notch”, and BAM! What looked like a very nice blackened Grouper in a cast iron skillet (thank you, Emeril, for the literary seasoning) is just a red hot skillet upside yo’ head. Older, unattached men are susceptible to this. Big time. A cute 30-something could ruin you. Literally. I could have been a casualty this time, but I wasn’t. No credit of my own, she wasn’t 30, my whiskers were tingling so I knew something was up, and God has set me in a safe place, with good friends. And I’m fairly convinced now that on-line dating sites are merely relational trot-lines, lots of bait, with lots of hooks, that are only too glad to give you a much more expensive taste of the steel you’re jones’ing for. I’m comfortable with my judgement now, not in a prideful way, but that I’m hearing God if I really take the time to listen. But, if I think I may want to actually date a woman, which is only a prelude to true courtship, she’s going to have to come to home group, and to our community gathering, “meet the family”, and hang out for a bit. And then we’ll be friends. That should be fun for all concerned. The reason being that your family can usually see through the bait and switch when you can’t. And at this stage of life, of my life anyway, there must be a higher purpose in it. It must be for true companionship, and the furtherance of the real Gospel. I finally know where I belong, can see a bit more of my purpose, and so anything that doesn’t add to that is dead weight. I need someone who is going to run in the brace by my side, who gets it and is ready for adventure. Who is better because of what I bring, and can offer. And who makes me better because of what she brings, and can offer. Where I worked in the past we called that “synergy”. Basically, the team is more effective than just the sum of it’s parts. To this way of thinking, somehow, 2 + 2 > 4. I was never very good at math…
Aha! Look what I've created. I... have... made... FIRE!!!
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