The Cruelty of God–2: Polaroid

I talked about why God has the right to take things, but this does not exactly answer the question of whether it is cruel for Him to do so, only that it is not wrong.

And there are multiple reasons. But for the kind of thing I was talking about, the thing most precious to you, there is an answer that no one likes, but everyone needs to hear.

There is something fundamentally wrong with the way human beings tend to love things. While thinking about it, I started thinking of the song by Imagine Dragons, Polaroid.

If you haven’t heard it, the lyrics go like this:

“I’m a reckless mistake, I’m a cold night’s intake, I’m a one night too long, I’m a come on too strong.

Chorus: All my life I’ve been living in the fast lane, can’t slow down I’m a rolling freight train, one more time gotta start all over, can’t slow down I’m a lone red rover.

I’m a hold my cards close, I’m a wreck what I love most, I’m a first class let down, I’m a shut up, sit down.

I am head case, I am the color of boom, that’s never arriving, yet you are the pay raise, always a touch out of view, and I am the color of boom…

Chorus

I’m a midnight talker, I’m an alley walker, I’m a day late two face, I’m a burn out quick pace. 

I am a head case, I am the color of boom that’s never arriving, yet you are the opera, always in time and in tune, and  I cat he color of boom…

Chorus

I’m gonna get ready, for the rain to pour heavy, let it fall, let it fall, let it fall upon my head…”

What I noticed about this song was that the man compares himself to a bunch of negative things, and what they all have in common is this idea of falling short by going too far. He can’t stop himself. He’s reckless, too cold, he goes one night too long, he comes on too strong.

The whole image of a fast lane, and being a rolling freight train implies he is stuck on high speed. He even says “can’t slow down.” And when he start all over, he does the same thing. Which is why he’s alone.

Holding cars close implies he also goes too far with secrecy and caution. Leading him to wreck what he loves. Making him a let down, and someone people tell to shut up and sit down because he goes too far.

He then says this had made him a head case. The color of boom imagery ties in to how hard he tries, but int he end he just looks like he’s going to come through, and then he never does.

His frustration is that the person he’s singing to is out of his reach because he can’t get it under control.

The last verse suggests being alone and in the dark, and using up your life too fast.

Then, even more interesting, he compares himself to the other person, saying they are always in time and in tune. They have the self control he lacks, and it makes them beautiful.

Then, on a more hopeful note, he turns to rain. Something that he can’t control, but can save his life. The only thing with more than enough to satisfy him.

How does this relate? I’m glad you asked. (I hope you asked.)

What Imagine Dragons has hit upon with this song is the same thing in “Till We Have Faces” and “Hinds Feet on High Places.” When we love, we go too far, and not far enough at the same time. By not being able to stop and be satisfied, we ruin our chances. (Notice in the song, letting the rain fall on his head is the one time he stops moving.) God does not have that problem.

We cling to everything we can get our hands on. We have that one thing we stake all on, and if it is not God, he is, as that commentator scornfully said, a jealous God.

And only someone who scorned God could not see why He should be.

We destroy ourselves and each other in our mad quest for satisfaction. Or, in some cases, our absolute refusal to be satisfied by anything but dissatisfaction. (Apathy, pessimism, cynicism.) We hold our sins–and our virtues–so tightly, we become slaves to them.

“There is a way that seems right to a man, but it ends in death.” (Proverbs 14:12, 16:25.)

God is more than right to call us on this, but He does more than that. He will wrench the thing from our grasp.

If it’s a person, or if it’s our career, or if it is a thing, it usually doesn’t matter. It may not b e a death, it could just be a separation. It could be hospitalization for it. That’s not really the point.

We worship these things, when we should only worship God.

Frankly, it is our desire to have our cake, at all costs, that kills us.

You are addicted to TV, it breaks, you replace it.

My dad used to be addicted to a video game, it would break our computer. The computer would freeze up playing the game, but not doing other things. To us, the hint was clear, but he would just buy a new computer. Not that we could afford it.

I’m happy to say he has quit, but for years it was a problem.

God seems cruel to do this to us. But if he let us live in that, we would put ourselves into our own hell. We want to be left alone to ruin our lives, they are ours right? But God will not leave us alone.

People can hate Him for that, but for my part, I decided a long time ago that I love Him for it, I did not like how life under my idol felt.

When God takes something; sometimes, even often, He later gives it back, now redeemed; purified from our addiction, we can enjoy it for the good it actually was.

But in the end, it is more important to have God himself. And I will not apologize for saying so. The worst time of my life has been when I felt I did not have Him.

Until next time–Natasha.

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