Struck by Russ Ramsey, Free for CAPC Members
Death’s party-crashing ways are detailed in a new book by Russ Ramsey, titled Struck: One Christian’s Reflections on Encountering Death.
The noise—that of buzzing and disturbed air—un-expectantly sounded by my ear. I was sitting on my couch, reading a book; this sound brought me out of my concentration and back into the non-literary world. I turned my head to see a rather large cricket crawling on the lamppost. A cricket! In the apartment! This invasive indignity could not go unpunished! I swiped at him with my shoe, only to find him quicker than my hand. Instead of being squashed, he deftly dodged my erratic blows and hid underneath the corner bookcase.
Annoyed and challenged, I unsuccessfully shoved my shoe underneath the bookcase, trying to move him from his new fortress. Becoming increasingly frustrated, I began to remove all the books from the bookcase. If he would not come out and fight like a real mansect, I would bring the battle to him. Before long the now bare bookshelf was lifted up and moved to the side, exposing my foe once again. Once again, he ran for his life, but there was nowhere close to hide. His desperate escape finally ended from a direct blow, administered with an old history of the French Revolution.
This victory, though significant (in my mind at least), ended up being transient at best. For our entire apartment complex was filled by an invasion of crickets. Every time we opened the door another hopped into our home. The chirping went on day and night. Nothing, it seemed, was stemming the cricket tide. Nothing was keeping them out of the apartment.
In reality, the overflow of crickets has proven to be a minor nuisance. Yet my unsuccessful attempts proved to be a gentle reminder. In our modern world, we sometimes think that we have conquered nature. The world seems like it tries to kill us, with its storms, heat, failing crops, carnivores animals and mortal diseases. In our time, however, we possess storm shelters, international trade, and vaccines. On top of fighting natural elements, we possess many additional trappings of technology, from cars, airplanes, and ipods to the computer on which I type these words. Even air conditioning shows us more than surviving what nature gives us. The world, it seems, has been tamed.
Then I am confronted with crickets. The fact is, no matter how much we think we tame the world, the earth as well as all in it is God’s. God is not to be and cannot be tamed. Nor do our actually small efforts prove successful apart from His almighty hand. Though we may accept such a statement in the abstract, looking into our lives will invariably show some concrete rejection. We may mask this rejection of God’s power in the most intricate ways. We may call it personal accountability, stewardship or defending God against claims of injustice. We may see it in the way we depend too much on our toys, our comforts, and in our often subconscious belief in progress.
Therefore, often such a lesson of nature’s—and hence God’s—uncontrolled power is made in reference to deadly natural disasters, like a hurricane. Such forces tear through our defenses and confront us with the realities of our autonomy. Yet perhaps the lesson can be learned by occurrences less deadly, less awful in the full sense of that word. Perhaps God’s sovereignty can be taught by the simple chirping of a cricket flying by my couch-potato, air-conditioned ear. Perhaps, for those willing to listen.
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