I don’t know if you’ve ever been to Rita’s water ice, but if you haven’t, look that place up. If there isn’t one in your area, the next time you travel, Bing “Rita’s” and get yourself over there ASAP. I was skeptical at first, as Boston has been loyal to Richie’s Italian Ice for like sixty years, but guys, once I tasted Rita’s while on a trip to Philly it was a wrap. Anyways, we have one close by and I took the family the other night. As I was savoring my black cherry with vanilla custard Gelati, I noticed a commotion outside. I soon realized it was not merely a commotion, but a full-blown ruckus. This poor kid was on the ground, getting his head stomped into the pavement by a group of angry teenagers, so I ran out there and pulled them apart. Once I was told that one of them had a knife, I informed them that they had a couple of options: stand around and wait for the police, or go home NOW. In the midst of it all, my sunglasses must have fallen off of my head, as I remember a kid snapped them in half and threw them at me, as he was not pleased that I abruptly ended their dispute. These kids were all using vulgarity and N words in extremely loud and obnoxious, wanna-be voices. If they had picked door #2, and waited around for the cops, I would have given them a lecture about the despicable nature of such slang being used by anyone, let alone Justin Beaber look-alikes. An older woman brought some comedic relief to the situation, as she began yelling “non-violence” at the top of her lungs around the square.
A life devoid of God is a life of calamity. We are vulnerable to our own emotions and discernment without a compass of any kind. A couple of weeks ago a young man was murdered in a park near my office. It came down to two young men reviving an old gang beef, which led to a stabbing. Now one young man is dead, and another will spend the rest of his life in prison, wishing he’d learned to fight with his fists instead of always relying on weapons. Perhaps you’ve never been in a scenario of that nature (or perhaps you have) but it’s amazing how we allow our emotions to take control in moments like these. I started an argument with my wife at midnight the other night. My brain was tired and I was emotional. I knew better than to start an argument, and that it would be better to designate a time the next day to sit down and have a simple conversation about my concern. Instead, I convinced myself that I was justified in starting in on her. Never mind the 6 a.m. wake up. Never mind the fact that she’s pregnant. I needed a slap, sincerely. It’s these situations that remind me of our need for God, and living outside of that need is a perilous risk to take.
There are moments in the Bible where God gave everyone the wake-up call they needed. Noah’s descendents built the Tower of Babel out of pride and arrogance. They wanted to prove to all how powerful a people they were, that they could build a tower that reached to the heavens for all to see. God was removed from their equation, and they became increasingly impressed with their own abilities. God reminded them of their need for Him, however, and He took away their ability to communicate with one another! So much for self-reliance.
We need to take the initiative to communicate with our Maker, as that was His design. Our tendency to live outside of that design leads to more and more separation from Him. Ultimately we suffer for allowing such a gap in our lives.