“‘I will praise the LORD, who counsels me; even at night my heart instructs me. I keep my eyes always on the LORD. With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken (Psalm 16:7,8).”
I walked into my regular coffee shop one morning this week and noticed the small blackboard behind the counter. I looked at the barista and said,”What, no question this morning?”
Usually there is a trivia question for customers to answer. The barista said,”I am writing it right now.” He then read it out.
I answered the trivia question quickly. The barista looked at me with frustration on his face because I had answered his question so easily.
This set in motion a discussion of important events in our lifetimes and where we were when they happened. We discussed disasters, assasinations and famous criminal trials.
Last night my wife and I were discussing one man we remembered from our neighborhood in the early days of our marriage. We laughed because what made him so memorable was a rather crass bumper sticker on his car.
I can still recall what our neighbor looked like. I think I remember the kind of car he drove and its color, too.
I am surprised at my age how many things I can remember. Some of them I would like to forget.
Why do we remember some things and forget others? I suppose it is because of their emotional content, how they make us feel.
Some people repress their memories. Others have physical damage to their brains that harm their ability to recall things.
In an episode of the medical drama “House”, both the phyical and trauma-induced kinds of memory loss come into play. In “House’s Head”, blog critic Barbara Barnett says:
“There were so many moments that made this episode memorable, seamlessly brought into the whole.” (I know. A TV show involving amnesia is memorable? Sounds like an oxymoron to me, too!)
Dr. Gregory House was on a bus when it was involved in a terrible accident. He can’t remember the four-hour period before and during the event.
Yet, House knows one thing. He has to get his memories straight.
House says,”Someone is dying because I can’t remember.” He knows someone who was on the bus is in serious danger of passing away because of the accident, but he doesn’t know who and that person is probably at another hospital.
Barnett summarizes the plot of “House’s Head”: “Reality merges with fantasy, visions, dreams, hallucinations as House tries to complete the picture — and save an anonymous victim — using everything from medical hypnosis to sensory deprivation and Alzheimer’s drugs.”
The problem is that House gets it wrong. He has bits and pieces of the truth, but not the whole reality.
It is not until he reenacts the events on the bus with colleagues that everything clicks. His memories come back in traumatic fashion and he discovers the dying person is the girlfriend of his best friend.
One way House likes to get at the truth, especially when he is diagnosing, is to bounce ideas off of colleagues. As this is his preferred method, he has a team of other brilliant diagnosticians to assist him.
House holds conversations in his mind with others to solve the mystery of what happened on the bus. However, House’s conclusions are faulty in “House’s Head” .
This is because what he learns “from others in his dreams and illusions aren’t really true. In fact, at least one key advisor in his mind is not whom she seems to be, but only a representation of someone else.
They are not true because they are based on a memory of events and persons on the bus which his damaged mind is conjuring up. As a result, the truth of what really happened and what to do is elusive.
This raises the question of how to get at the truth in our lives. Especially, I wonder how we get at reality as believers without engaging in falsehoods or logical fallacies from our fallen minds.
For Christians, the Bible is our guidebook for living. We search out its tenets because we believe them to be the source of God’s will and the antidote to the deadly virus in our fallen minds. .
I have been seeking God diligently the last month in order to solve some a big problem. It has been difficult to separate truth from fiction and get at reality as I do so.
In my search for God’s will, the issue of seeking wise counsel has come into play.
From my Christian experience, counsel is a crucial method for discerning what we should do.
It seems to be biblical, too. For example, the wise man of Proverbs wrote,”Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed (Proverbs 15:22)”.
A close look could mean that what this passage means is that when you make a plan, you should get advice from a lot of people on how to make it work. However, in my Christian circles, this seems to be interpreted by believers to mean also that BEFORE you make plans you should get counsel.
Where I run into trouble in my own mind on the issue of seeking counsel to determine God’s will is my knowledge that other believers are just as fallible as I am. Just because someone says something that SOUNDS like gospel truth doesn’t make it so because they themselves are subject to error.
Also, they don’t have all the facts. Like House, they have bits and pieces of reality, especially when it comes to my case. Because of the unreliability of my cohorts of the faith, I amwary when I listen to them.
One principle I have heard of late from believers is “listen to your wife”. Now, in general I tend to agree with this because my wife is a wise woman and inevitably right.
However, I take issue with the “listen to your wife” principle in some fashion. My wife is human and subject to making mistakes in judgment, just as I am.
Also, my understanding as a believer is that I am the head of my home and ultimately responsible for its management. Thus, to apply “listen to your wife” as a blanket truth seems to me to be an abdication of my leadership in the home.
I do not see the principle “listen to your wife” clearly in the Scriptures either. Oh, this doesn’t mean I shouldn’t do so, though.
For one, I have learned from my wife that she needs to be heard, so if I want to improve our relationship, I ought to listen to her. Also, as I mentioned above, she is right a lot.
Where I get tripped up on the “listen to your wife” issue is that because women do tend to have a sixth sense, I feel paralyzed to act when I disagree with my wife. “Listening to my wife” becomes “do what your wife says” in my tepid brain. That I do not see in Scripture.
I can think of a couple examples from the Bible where following the “listening to your wife” principle was a disaster. Look at the example of Adam listening to Eve:
To Adam he said, “Because you listened to your wife and ate fruit from the tree about which I commanded you, ‘You must not eat from it,’ “Cursed is the ground because of you; through painful toil you will eat food from it all the days of your life.
Also, King Ahab following the advice of Jezebel comes to mind. The woman led him away from God.
Now, once again so I am clear, if I am smart, I WILL listen to my wife. However, she and I are better off if first and foremost I listen to another and DO what that person says.
The Person I am referring to of course is God. I am not so arrogant that I believe that I have a perfectly clear signal as to His will for me all the time, though. Like House, I have a damaged brain.
Thus, it would behoove me to get all the information I can from a lot of sources which God seems to approve of: the Bible, prayer, other trustworthy godly believers, and the Holy Spirit in my heart.
However, after I do those things, it is my responsibility before the Lord to make decisions and take actions which I believe are in accordance with His personal plan for me and mine. My own awareness of my own faulty mind and heart shouldn’t keep me from this.
I had a restless night and got up to write at 3 am. I had had a strange dream I am not sure how to interpret.
My guess though is that I am trying to sort out all the advice, Scripture and so on in my mind to solve my big problem. Barbara Barnett referred to a quote from another show when she commented on “House’s Head”. The quote is this:
“A dream is an answer to a question you have not yet learned how to ask.”
Barnett says that when House gets clarity as to what happened on the bus, it just raised more questions. As “House’s Head” was the first of a two-part season finale, the answer to these questions are yet to come.
In my view, God knows the questions I haven’t even figured out yet, and will present them along with their answers in due time.
What do I do in the meantime? I guess I should stay tuned and just do what Jesus told His first disciples: “Follow Me.”
On to the next episode.