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Categorized | From the Pulpit

Jealous

Pastor Dallas Burgeson 

The Springs Church

135 N. Grant St., Cedar Springs

Not long before I turned 16, my dad helped me do a ground-up engine build for my first car. And ever since, I’ve considered that to be the ultimate father/son experience.

What’s interesting, though, is that that car we built together was also my unspoken master plan to get a girlfriend. I thought loud exhaust and a stereo would allow me to remain the quiet kid and still somehow get me noticed by the fairer sex. In the absence of any personality, my car was going to have to do the heavy lifting if I was going to find love.

When the car was done, I was 16 and finally able to cruise Main Street. Cruising Main was life in Armstrong, Iowa, population 1,000. And if that long-standing teenage ritual didn’t get the girl, I would have to go big… and drive 18 miles to Estherville, Iowa, population 5,000. Whatever it takes, right?

Now, it seems silly in comparison to the things students face today, but there was actually a lot of trouble to get into while cruising Main—especially in the “big city.” At that time, even as a responsible and pretty introverted kid, I think I was willing to risk the trouble if it meant getting the girl.  It was worth it, even when I knew of a 15-year-old boy being murdered there in a drug deal gone bad just a couple of years before; worth it even when my friends and I once got chased out of Estherville by a huge state wrestler because a buddy thought it’d be fun to “flip him the bird.” And those weren’t the only stories.

Thankfully, there was another pursuit of love at play. My parents eventually decided they wouldn’t allow me go cruising in Estherville anymore. I was preoccupied with one sort of love, and they were preoccupied with another. But I realize now that they probably felt the weight of both—experiencing relief and sadness for me at the same time. Regardless, they didn’t budge. And—shocker–my car never ended up winning a girl’s heart for me.

I find it comforting that Scripture reveals God’s deep resonance with both of these loves. He, the Bridegroom, longs for His Bride with an intensity and passion that shames even the most twitter-pated teenager. And He, our Father, works tirelessly to keep His wayward children out of temptations He knows can destroy them. In both loves, I see a certain jealousy for us at play.

Song of Solomon 8:6-7 (NLT) says, “Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm. For love is as strong as death, its jealousy as enduring as the grave. …Many waters cannot quench love, nor can rivers drown it.”

As I get older, I’m more and more thankful that there is a jealous God at the helm of the Universe—our God, a God with all the relentless passion of lover and father combined.

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Ray Winnie
Kent County Credit Union

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