Sunday, July 6, 2008
Places You Never Dreamed You'd Go
Maybe you've heard bits and pieces of the story on the news.
Right now, a high-profile couple is going through the trauma of a divorce, made only more painful by the public nature of it. Embarrassing details are being broadcast for all the world to know and discuss, and the parties involved are trying to maintain some degree of composure, as their children are about to have their lives changed forever. Sadly, tragedies just like this happen all the time.
But, there is something different about this story. While it involves the common culprit of adultery, mixed with the newer but equally common threat of internet porn, there is one fact that makes it surprising all this happened. That is the simple fact that the man in this case is, we will soon say "was", married to a super-model, whose name and image have been well-known around the world for many years. Not only this, but it is apparently his infidelity that has led to the pending divorce.
To the outside observer, based only on the most superficial knowledge of this family, wouldn't this be the last thing anyone would expect?
When this man married a super-model, how many men might have envied him, just on the basis of the outside appearance of what he seemed to have? Who would have guessed he would end up seeking the company of other women, both in person and in pictures? Who would have thought he would risk what he had for that? Of course, part of the problem is that we tend to think of sexual intimacy as primarily a physical thing, when it's far more complex than that, but, still, didn't this story surprise you a little, the first time you heard it?
In another recent story, a sports writer details how surprisingly common it is for professional athletes, who earn millions during their playing careers, to end up broke or hopelessly in debt when their playing days are over and the paychecks stop coming. It was actually a heartbreaking story, despite the lack of sympathy so many of us feel for these young men who make more money than we'll ever see, and don't always appear grateful for it.
How many people envy these young, newly wealthy superstars? How many assume these young people are set for life? How many would really have guessed that in many cases, it doesn't happen that way?
More importantly, in both of these stories, what are the chances the actual people involved would have ever guessed the ultimate outcome? It's safe to assume a man marrying a super-model would consider his need for female companionship to be met, and adultery on his part a most far-fetched scenario, if not an utter impossibility. It's not only safe to assume, but fairly easy to prove, that a young athlete signing his first multi-million dollar contract, fancies himself set for life, and the idea of returning to his prior financial status, let alone an even worse situation, to be beyond impossible.
Yet, both of these disasters, and many others like them, do happen, regardless of how unlikely we think they are.
Both of these stories serve to illustrate a spiritual truth: Given the opportunity, Satan can take a person to places he never dreamed he'd go. Places that just don't make sense to the casual observer, given the person and his situation in life. Places that seem to be the total opposite of everything the person is.
The Apostle Peter knew this to be true, from his own experience.
He assured Jesus he would never fall away, even if every other disciple did. He went so far as to tell Jesus he would even die for Him. Yet, later that same night, he fulfilled Jesus' prophecy by denying he even knew who Jesus was.
It's not unlikely he remembered that mistake years later, when he wrote these words in I Peter 5:8: "Be of sober spirit, be on the alert. Your adversary, the devil, prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour."
Spin a spiritual globe, and point your finger to a random place, a remote, isolated, dangerous island of sin. Say to yourself, "That's somewhere I'll never go!"
At that very moment, Satan stands not far away, smiling at the challenge. He whispers to himself, "You wanna bet?"
"Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." -- James 4:7