King of Hearts

I recently heard that the deck of cards has quite a bit more history woven into the characters than I had suspected. But for the purposes of Solitaire, each card is only useful in its proper time, and can botch the game if it comes in the wrong pile. What if they did that on purpose? Sometimes the cards think they would be more useful on the bottom than the top, or face down rather than face up. And sometimes they seem to enjoy my frustration. Do you ever act like a playing card?

I have to marvel at God’s patience with us: we humans act in ways so much more complex than a game of Solitaire. Yet at the same time, it is very simple. In Jeremiah 17, this man of God is groaning over the pickle that Israel and Judah are in. It is foolish to trust in man’s strength, he writes, but if you trust in God, you will have strength to flourish even when the world seems to be in drought. So why are they trusting themselves?

“9 The heart is deceitful above all things,
    and desperately sick;
    who can understand it?
10 “I the Lord search the heart
    and test the mind,
to give every man according to his ways,
    according to the fruit of his deeds.”

God sees so much more than we can. Jesus spoke about this in Mark 7 when he told a parable about how people become defiled, or un-clean in God’s eyes. It is not from outside things, but from the own wicked thoughts of their hearts. This is similar to what He taught in Matthew 5 when He confronted the people’s understanding of the Law. If you did not murder your brother, but you wanted to kill in your heart, it was the same guilt. The consequences would be different, but God saw the intention as the same. Broken relationships, self-focus, trying to control the world around us. Romans 1 lays out the thought process of rejecting God’s truth piece by piece.

Because we do know what we are doing – we can see that there is more to this world than eating and walking and breathing and dying. And yet we want to seize control, so we push away the truth, as Paul said in Romans 5. And we deceive ourselves.

But God did not give up on us. And Jesus came to give mankind a second chance. We were a race aimed to die away from God, and now God will redirect us to live with Him in truth, light, understanding. But we’re not there yet, so we have to give up control to Him. And we, like rebellious cards, want to change the rules of play. And yet He calls us back.

God, thank You for calling us back to Truth. You do not force it on us, but You call us back to new life. And God, once we accept, You do not let us forget it no matter how hard we fail to understand and try to fix our situation with patches that blow off in a light breeze. Thank You for Truth, thank You for love, and thank You for giving me both. Over and over again. To You be the glory! Amen.

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