Friday, May 3, 2013

Did you see that?

The past weeks have been filled with history bending events that have been greatly influenced by being able to see something right away.

Whether you are a golfer or not, I’m certain that you heard about the incident at The Masters where Tiger Woods was penalized for not dropping his ball in the correct place. While I play golf, and I use that term very loosely, I don’t pretend to understand the rules that govern golf. I mean, if my ball lands against a tree, in the sand or water, shouldn't I be able to move the ball to a place where I can hit it? So when I saw Tiger drop his ball after his shot ricocheted on the 15th into the water at Augusta, I thought nothing of it. But Champions Tour golfer David Eger saw exactly the same thing and thought differently. He got right on the phone and called a PGA official, and that probably saved Tiger from being disqualified.

Fast forward to the incredible and horrifying bombing incident at the Boston Marathon. Not only did we see the actual explosions, but we also see volunteers rush to provide immediate and lifesaving first aid and comfort in the moments immediately following this senseless act. Not only have we watched the explosion countless times, but video cameras were vital in identifying those responsible. The trail of text and pictures were also employed in the subsequent arrest of three students who destroyed evidence and lied to authorities.

Banks have been using video cameras for years. As the price came down, video cameras were installed in convenience stores, malls and gas stations. Cameras take pictures of cars running red lights while software reads the license plate and automatically sends out a speeding ticket along with the fine. Video camera’s monitor highways and let us know if traffic is clear or snarled, alerting us to alternative routes. Police cars, school buses and classrooms are videotaped, showing exactly what is going on, providing proof positive whenever an incident occurs. Farmers are using unmanned drones with video cameras to watch over and monitor their crops.

And it’s going to only increase. Google's self-driving car gathers 750 megabytes of sensor data per SECOND! That is just mind-boggling to me. Here is a picture of what the car "sees" while it is driving and about to make a left turn. It is capturing every single thing that it sees moving - cars, trucks, birds, rolling balls, dropped cigarette butts, and fusing all that together to make its decisions while driving. If it sees a cigarette butt, it knows a person might be creeping out from between cars. If it sees a rolling ball it knows a child might run out from a driveway. Follow this link if you want to see the car in action.

No matter whether you think this is a good or bad thing, cameras are watching us all the time, gathering up information about us at an accelerating pace. You might think it’s for your protection or an intrusion into your privacy. While it may be a bit of a stretch, it would be hard to deny that someone or something is just about always watching.

If someone’s always watching and monitoring us, then why do we react and rebel against the idea that God is watching? If we’ve achieved almost universal coverage for cell phones and camera’s on highways, why is it so difficult to imagine and trust God to be watching over us?

As I think about a video camera recording my every action, I have absolutely no doubt that they are not necessarily looking out for me and my best interests. I'm just another set of digital dots, no different than the image of a car or tree.

But the idea of God watching over me can be either cause for concern or comfort. And that depends on who God is and what you think about him.

Some people think of God as some really angry guy with a scow on his face and an attitude in his heart, just waiting to pounce. The idea of him watching will put us on the defensive, throwing us into a guilt-infested forest of weeds and vines that are all designed to trip us up. And then we fail, we cringe and hide, thinking that we’re about to get hit upside of the head with a two-by-four.

But God as described in the Bible is one who is deeply concerned with us, wanting to protect and provide. He made us to engage in a deep and completely transparent loving relationship with him.

So why would we run for cover and hide from him? For the same reason that Adam and Eve did that very thing; shame and guilt for turning away from him, making ourselves out to be God. But he did not run away from us, he ran towards us. He sent Jesus to pay the price necessary to reunite us with him, again completely free from all that guilt and shame, reestablishing that completely transparent relationship with him.

I want to encourage you not to run and hide from God, but to come to him. We come just as we are, no need to clean ourselves up or get our stuff together. That’s his job. Our job is to come, his is to receive, forgive and start the process of healing our wounded souls, hearts, minds and emotions.

He loves to see us coming to him. He’s looking for you right now.

Y’all come.

Blessings - Chet

Through GladAssociates, Chet writes and speaks about topics that touch culture, life and faith. This is from a chapter in his upcoming book.

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