Julie Lyles Carr: Sunday Selah

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sunday Selah

for the LORD will be your confidence
and will keep your foot from being snared.
Prov. 3:26

Much of my time over the past few days has been spent in an overly air-conditioned, dimly lit, sprawling performing arts center watching hour upon hour of dancers competing for national titles.
My mandate has been to watch each piece 2 of 8 performs in and to keep her younger brothers and sisters from disturbing or defacing the other audience members and the venue itself.

No small order.

The staff at this particular venue were very nice and very diligent. In the dark confines of the auditorium, they were continually on the look out for the stray water bottle in the aisle, a certain banana peel slipping hazard to people trying to walk to their seats. The staff would circle through the audience in between dances, making sure litter was picked up and items were not blocking doors. They kindly but firmly slowed down kids running through the lobby and oversaw the general atmosphere of the event.

They helped keep us safe.

Having quite a bit of time on my hands to observe the facility, my eyes finally adjusted to the murky illumination of the theater and I began to notice other items installed for the safety of the patrons. Small ribbons of lights were embedded in the floor along the aisles of seats, making a visible landing strip for audience members to follow. Pot lights installed in the ceiling were positioned just to the left of each door, a security staff person sitting beneath in a wash of quiet light on a tall stool. Reflective tape adorned the threshold of each step leading to the backstage area. Exit signs, arrows, instructions, reflectors, beacons of entry and signals of closure. Such were the markers for shepherding the crowd.

Such measures are the norm in our society, part wisdom, part prevention, part legal requirements in a litigious culture. We don't look for the low-hanging doorway; 'somebody' should mark it with bright paint to warn us. We don't look for the step up; 'somebody' should place a sign next to it, warning us of the change in incline. We benefit from the forethought of safety experts.

But it may make us a bit complacent in looking out ourselves for hazards.

When it comes to our souls, the enemy knows this about us all too well.

We skip lightly along spiritual paths, going through our routines, our attentions focused on our to-do lists and errands and chores. We can get so caught up in our plans for what is around the curve that we can lose track of the terrain directly in front of us.

Or sometimes we decide we're going 'off-road', just a little meandering off the path, just a little peek at the scenery.

These are some of the favorite places for the enemy to set his snares, the place of our distraction and the place of our trail tangent.

It can come as a surprise, finding our feet stuck in the quicksand of sin. It can jolt us when we fall flat on our faces, tripped up by what we thought was just a little step off the beaten path.

And it can potentially crush us when we scamper into the thin air off the cliff of discretion.

It's not that there has been no warning sign; we just exercise our option to ignore it. That small voice of the Holy Spirit whispering, "Back up", "Turn around", "Run." We think our eyes have adjusted enough to the dark effulgence of this world to make our way along. We stop looking out for the safety of our hearts, picking up speed as we careen down dim aisles.

There are snares and traps set for us. Cunningly. Quietly.

But we have the map for making it through. We have the guide. And we have the responsibility to stay aware, to look for the low doorway, to see that upcoming step. At times the way can seem dimly lit and nets of deception nip at our ankles. But if we can allow our eyes to adjust to the light that He brings, if we can let Him expand our vision to see the battle that rages around us, then we can safely navigate through the lures of the enemy's lies.

Selah.

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