Sigh. The last couple of days–or more accurately, nights–have been tough.
For the past few months, I have been dealing with a recurring toothache that is killing me softly. It’ll come on strong for about a week and a half or two, then go away for a couple weeks, and come back stronger. Right now, it is very active, and it has prevented me from getting a good night’s sleep. Normally, I don’t get a lot of sleep at night because I am in too close a proximity to my children–my daughter was waking up every thirty minutes or so for no reason, fussing, or else my son would talk in his sleep or get close to rolling off the bed and I would wake up if I heard him. For the past couple of nights they have both slept relatively soundly, so one would think I finally got a decent stretch of rest, right? Nope. This stupid tooth, the upper right molar, has produced a throbbing pain that only dulls temporarily after I have taken two Tylenol, rinsed my mouth with warm water and/or Listerine, and rubbed the pained area with a combination of gel and liquid Orajel. By the way, the liquid Orajel is one of the most disgusting things I have ever tasted. I imagine rubbing alcohol and peroxide taste better.
I am also fighting a spirit of discouragement. I have not heard anything about the job I am hoping for yet, but I am trying to remain hopeful–since I have not yet heard anything positive, I have not yet heard anything NEGATIVE either, so that’s a good sign. I know for a fact that particular healthcare organization is very slow about getting back to potential applicants. The last job I had there took almost a year before I was contacted and hired in. Only to be canned after four months. SMH.
But wait, it gets better!!
I made a vow not to apply to another job until I heard something about the one I want (at the OT/PT clinic). However, I am getting communication regarding jobs I had applied to before that one. Several of them have ended up being scams. I was very upset to see that another one I applied to was actually a scam, with the “recruiter” trying to get me to submit my Social Security number for a credit report. I do not know who is on the receiving end of the email–the name was Belita Kearey, but I am not convinced that is even a real person–but whoever it was, for whatever it’s worth, received my verbal wrath (but with no expletives, which is what I really wanted to do).
There is nothing more pathetic than a thief. Nothing. A thief who steals people’s things because they are too useless to figure out a way to get it on their own or think they are entitled to it when they are not disgusts me. A thief who steals someone’s life sickens me. I cannot stand, nor have I ever, a THIEF.
What these pathetic scammers are stealing is people’s hopes and dreams. Someone who has been chronically unemployed or underemployed, who is just waiting for the opportunity to prove themselves to even one person, finds a job posting that appears to be perfect for them. If you have been unemployed or underemployed as long as I have, there comes a time when your hope diminishes with every single application you submit. Sometimes, as with the OT/PT clinic posting, my hope comes back anew, but that is only when I see something I really want. Other times, I submit applications with a sigh, with doubt that I will ever hear anything from them. Looking for a job has become a job. I often long for days of old when I could walk into a company, ask for an application, fill it out, then ask to speak with someone THEN regarding the application. I almost curse these Internet submissions. I do not even get the chance to plead my case.
So you submit your application, either with dread or hope depending on how long you’ve been job hustling, or what your day thus far has been like, etc., and to your surprise a few days later you get that email saying that you may be a perfect fit for the company! HALLELUJAH, you think, SOMEONE thinks you are worthy of a productive adult existence! For a minute, you feel less pathetic than you did only several seconds before. Then you read the email and your spirit plummets again (if you are like me and catch on to the scam).
In brief, here is what I have encountered in these fraudulent job emails:
1. They request that you pay for training materials and often request your bank account number.
2. They either ask you for your credit report or send you a link to a website where you are THEN asked for your credit report.
3. Of course we have all seen the ones about processing wire transfers that also ask for your bank account.
Here is a website that discusses some of these scams. I am extremely angry right now.
In order to make sure that the rest of the day isn’t blackened, I decided to go ahead and do some studying. I have been waiting to get back to Hagar, but needed to get my rant about sin out the other day.
Just a bit of a recap–Abraham was married to Sarah, who was infertile. Sarah gave one of her slaves, Hagar, to Abraham, so that he may impregnate her and get his heir. The only problem was, God did not intend on Abraham’s heir to be born of another woman. Yet, Hagar gave birth to Ishmael, who was circumcised along with Abraham when he was 13 years old, and although we have not gotten this far yet, Ishmael went on to father twelve sons, and his offspring and that of Isaac, Abraham’s son with Sarah, have had contentious relationships ever since. The descendants of Ishmael are thought to be those of Arab descent, while Isaac’s descendants are the Jews.
I believe I left off discussing the three angels that visited Abraham, and how it is obvious he recognized them as angels. One of those angels is thought to have been Jesus Christ (this is something I do believe). After their visit, when they told Abraham (and Sarah, who was eavesdropping) that in a year they would come back and Sarah would have a son, (and she laughed and then lied, remember?), two of the angels left, but one stayed behind. It is believed that the angel who stayed behind was Jesus, because the two departing angels were heading to Sodom. It is thought that Jesus would have wanted nothing to do with such a wicked city.
The Lord tells Abraham about the wickedness that is Sodom and Gomorrah, and says something I find interesting: “…The outcry against Sodom and Gomorrah is so great and their sin so grievous that I will go down and see if what they have done is as bad as the outcry that has reached me…” (Gen. 18:20-21). When I see the word “outcry” I tend to infer that someone somewhere was praying to God about the spiritual condition of the city. Or perhaps was God getting the word about the city from the angels? (Not that God could not, of course, see what was going on for himself, but again, “outcry” means that someone else communicated the condition of the city to him).
An exchange occurs between Abraham and the Lord, where Abraham appears to be bargaining with God on behalf of Sodom and Gomorrah: If there are even 10 righteous individuals in the city, God will spare it (negotiated down, in a sense, from 50, 45, 40, 30, and then 20).
The 2 angels get to Sodom, apparently to inform Lot that judgment would be levied against it, and no doubt were unimpressed and uninspired by what they saw. Lot greets the strangers, forcefully requests that the two spend the night in his home, and prepares a meal for them. No doubt Lot was hospitable, but I wonder if he knew that he was entertaining the company of angels? A group of men have followed the two angels from Sodom and surround Lot’s tent. They want the angels to come out so they can have sex with them. It is no coincidence that this city’s name reflects the crime these men were attempting to perpetuate upon these angels: SODOMY. At this point, Lot offered his two daughters to the gang–WOW, you might say…so do I. In those days, it was of supreme importance that a host protect his guests. I must admit that I would never have gone so far as to offer my daughters, although I would not have turned my guests over to the crowd either. However, Lot may have thought that since those two were angels, they could protect his daughters even if the crowd actually did take him up on his offer. Whatever his reasoning, I highly doubt God approved of Lot offering the two daughters when he could have just relied on God to protect them all. It appears that Lot had entered the political industry in Sodom: One of the men in the crowd says, “This man came here as a foreigner and now wants to act as a judge!” (Gen. 19: 9). While judges command respect in today’s society, I think it is obvious that these men did not respect Lot at all!
The two angels sprang into action, blinding the men, which made them unable to find the door. Then they informed Lot that he, his daughters, and sons-in-law needed to leave immediately, as judgment upon the city was nigh! Lot’s sons-in-law did not take him seriously. (The sons-in-law sound like a reflection of the attitude of a lot of Americans. A recently published study suggests that an increasing number of Americans claim to have no religious affiliation, according to the following:
I blame Christians on this, including myself. We are not witnessing as we should, nor are we setting an example with our lifestyles. People have come to think of our religion as a joke, and “Jesus” is almost treated like a four-lettered word. I cannot count how many times I have heard or seen people refer to the Bible as a book of fiction, or God and Jesus as fictitious characters).
But I digress.
Why do you think the sons-in-law did not take Lot seriously? Probably for the same reason some of us cannot get through to unsaved people–blaring hypocrisy. Here is a prime example, and I will use myself. Let’s just say I was the exact same old beast I was ten years ago, hanging out with people at the dance clubs all hours of the night, drinking, etc. If I went to the club one week and did everything else the others were doing, or in some other fashion condoned it, would they pay me any attention if I went back to the club the next week and told them what they were doing wasn’t right? Again, notice that the men had no respect for Lot as a judge. We expect judges to exhibit high moral and ethical character–that is the only reason why, aside from their education, we would accept their judgments. It is from these facts that I opine that Lot was living an ungodly life.
Lot ended up having to leave the sons-in-law behind. That is just like in real-life today. Sometimes, in our attempts to escape sin as we mature in Christ, we have to leave old things behind, and some of the people. I think we should always attempt to bring people out of sin along with us–for example, as I began my maturation process, I shared it enthusiastically with my friends, and still do–we cannot pull them with us. They have to come on their own, and if they do not, they must be left behind.
In the morning the angels rouse Lot and tell him to take his two daughters and wife and get out of dodge. What interests me is that Lot STILL hesitated, even after hearing what was going to happen!!!
“When he hesitated, the men grasped his hand and the hands of his wife and two daughters and led them safely out of the city, for the Lord was merciful to them” (Gen. 19:16). Then, Lot resists again: “…But I can’t flee to the mountains…Look, here is a town near enough to run to, and it is small. Let me flee to it–it is very small, isn’t it? Then my life will be spared” (Gen. 19: 19-20).
Sigh. This guy just refuses to listen. You would think after he saw the angels blind the group of men that he would have respected that and followed their instruction with no question. You would think after processing the fact that the entire town was going to be destroyed, yet God had been merciful enough to spare him simply because of his relation with Abraham, that he would have followed their instruction with no question. NOPE. The examples of this stubbornness of heart consistently pepper the Bible.
Fortunately for Lot, the angel agrees to this request. However, as they flee, Lot’s wife does not heed the angel’s warning not to look back and turns into a pillar of salt. The big question here is, why did she look back in the first place? My first thought, years ago, was that Mrs. Lot was nosy and wanted to see the destruction that was going to come down on the city. However, I do not think that, while they were fleeing, the city was in the process of being destroyed, because I know I would have been interested to see burning sulfur raining down on the place. No, I think Mrs. Lot looked back longingly. Apparently she was fully engrained in the wicked culture of Sodom and Gomorrah and did not want to leave. So God let her stay–albeit not in the form she would have preferred.
But can you blame Mrs. Lot? Sodom was her home. It was what she knew. Maybe she had a nice home there with a garden, friends, social standing as a judge’s wife, who knows. I think we all get that comfortable, to where we may not respond appropriately to a call from God if it came. In class, one of the questions that came up was somewhere along the lines of, “if God asked you to travel as a missionary to a remote area, would you want to leave your cushy job and home and go?” Most of us honestly said NO.
The story of Mrs. Lot may be a bit different. None of us were interested in coming out of our comfort zone. We are perfectly content to speak to people at our jobs, in our neighborhoods, in our cities or states. But the thought of going to a village in a rainforest or drought-stricken area with no modern amenities did not particularly appeal to any of us. However, that is not to say that it must not be done! Everyone needs and deserves to hear the Gospel, no matter which corner of the earth in which they reside. My attitude has changed. If God gave me the opportunity to be used in such a manner, I would go. Not saying I would not have my reservations, but I would go.
Anyway, I think Mrs. Lot looking back is symbolic of the way a lot of us approach possible conversion from unsaved to saved status. Boy, that unsaved lifestyle was fun, wasn’t it? (I don’t think it is now, but at the time, I thought I was doing it big!). Drugs, alcohol, sex with multiple partners, hanging out all night, etc… Who would want to trade that for what they perceive to be a lifetime of boredom? That is the complaint I hear from young people in particular. Christianity is not thought of as “cool”. It allows no room for experimentation. Yet, I have found out that fun CAN be clean, and still be fun! It just depends on what type of person you are and what you like to do. For instance, I used to drink when I bowled, which is one of my favorite pastimes. Well, guess what–bowling is fun whether you are drunk or not 🙂 I like to dance, too… Dancing is fun even when not in a night club. Now I dance at home with my husband or children. And I’m safer when I do. I’m sure any of you past clubbers know that there is always potential for a fight or an encounter with a drunk or drunk driver after a night of dancing and drinking.
Some of us also do not know how to get out of sin and are afraid of the possibility of moving forward. For someone who is in a deep, sin-filled bog, it may seem like there is no way out. Mrs. Lot may have been wondering, “where do we go from here?” I have heard this from addicts in particular–after awhile some of them have lost hope that their lives will ever be anything more than a drug-induced stupor.
The next morning, Abraham looked over the destruction that was Sodom and Gomorrah, probably with a spirit of lamentation. I’ll bet he was as awed as he was sad. Wouldn’t seeing something like that, the remnants of a city that was once alive with people, now turned into a pile of ash, depress you and convince you of God’s power and truth at the same time? Unfortunately, Lot was unmoved by what had happened, and that is apparent by what happens next.
Lot had asked the stay in the small city, Zoar, during the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, but for some reason, he was afraid to remain there. (Again, no trusting God for protection). He and his daughters move to a cave in the mountains. Here is yet another example of a woman overstepping her boundaries–Lot’s older daughter conspires with her younger sister to get their father drunk so they can sleep with him and produce an heir for him. It is obvious that Lot got drunk two nights in a row, so I kind of wonder how often he drank… anyway, the first night the older daughter slept with him, the second night, the younger. And they both became pregnant. The older daughter’s son, Moab, became the father of the Moabites, while the younger daughter’s son, Ben-Ammi, is the father of the Ammonites. Both these nations had animosity with the Israelites.
I think it goes without saying that God did not approve of this. Who knows what could have happened if these girls just let God do his work. He could have replaced the two men who were contracted to married them but perished in Sodom. He could have given Lot a new wife. There is really no explanation for what these two did, but we do know that God is not the author of foolishness.
Geez, all that and I have not yet gotten back to Hagar and Ishmael. I’m working on it, I promise. But as you can see, sometimes I get sidetracked. I can be a tad random at times, especially when I am reading the Word and trying to apply it to my own experience. But on the bright side, I am no longer in a bad mood! Reading about someone getting turned into a pillar of salt simply for looking back, while I am sitting here perfectly intact considering all the wrong I have done–for some reason, that lifted my spirits.
And now I am hungry. Time for a sammich.