Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Perfect Lover: How Reading a Vampire Book Brought Me Closer to Jesus - Sacrificial Protection

To start, I must give a heartfelt shout out of thanks to all of the VETERANS out there – speaking of sacrificial protection!
Thank you for making life as we know it possible.

The rockin’ new band, Abandon (click here for their site), has a song with this line: This world is crazy and it’s not the safest place to be.

Now, that’s putting it plainly.

Pretty much on a daily basis, we need Something larger, stronger and more powerful than ourselves to pluck us out of the harm that comes our way…or the messes we get ourselves into.

In Twilight, Bella is portrayed as a clumsy girl, getting herself into precarious predicaments without even trying. She slips and stumbles, faints and falters. Edward tells her, “Ordinary people seem to make it through the day without so many catastrophes.” (Twilight, pg. 174) From relatively minor incidents such as on blood typing day in Biology class when he comes to her rescue with gentlemanly instincts learned from over a century of practice,

to more perilous situations like the appearance of the non-vegetarian vamps on the baseball field when he prepares to fight for her safety, Edward offers himself as a shield between Bella and a dangerous world.

My favorite example of this comes at the end of New Moon, which I didn’t want to mention yet, but it’s such a poignant picture I can’t wait to share.

After a long separation (which Edward instigated at great sacrifice to himself and for her protection, incidentally), Edward and Bella are reunited but find themselves in immediate danger, in the dungeons of the Voltari, the vampires’ ruling class who are not at all like the Cullens in their “vegetarian” eating habits. They have the authority to punish and the capacity to inflict pain. Aro, one of the vampire princes, commands Jane, one of his most powerful followers, to try her special ability on Bella, a trick that makes the victim feel like they are in excruciating pain without actually causing physical pain.

Edward doesn’t hesitate. In fact, he jumps the gun since he can read their minds, and throws himself in between Jane and Bella, taking on every bit of the agony himself. This scene is packed full of other analogies, but I don’t want to get too far down a rabbit trail. Right now, the point is, he took on the pain meant for her so that she would not have to go through it. (New Moon, pg. 474-75)

His aim is to do this every time suffering threatens her, but she ends up experiencing pain nevertheless. Either she makes a decision preventing it or the circumstances in her physical world come between them. For example, if Bella had trusted Edward when he said, “Bella, don’t you dare waste time worrying about me. Your only concern is keeping yourself safe and – please, please – trying not to be reckless,” (T, pg. 398) she wouldn’t have tried to handle the James-situation on her own, expose herself to danger, trust a deceitful phone call. But she didn’t trust the right voice and she did get in trouble. And although she suffered, physically and emotionally, Edward still pursued and protected her.

During the course of the Twilight Saga, Edward saves Bella over and over and over… and over. Although I know some who find that infuriating and irritating, I think it wonderful and telling on many levels. First, it says a lot about Edward that he continues to rescue her with patience, long-suffering, tenderness. Second, it says a lot about humans – we are in constant need of rescuing. We just don’t like to admit it sometimes.

Other times, we are starkly aware of it.

Can you name a time in your life when something tragic should have happened but you were spared?

Oh, I can.

Have you glimpsed the world of close calls and somehow known a shield protected you?

I have.

Satan prowls around like a lion, seeking to destroy us. (1 Peter 5:8) His attacks come in spiritual as well as physical and emotional forms. Without God’s covering, we are vulnerable to his attacks and left defenseless to fight back. We need His protection.

Jesus does this and more for us. His Word is full of promises designed to protect us if only we’d trust Him enough to follow His instructions. When we take matters into our own hands, we suffer consequences. But He doesn’t leave us there. He’s there to protect us from that point on, help us through the pain. (Psalm 34)

Let’s take King David as an example. The Bible says he was a man after God’s own heart (Acts 13:22) David and God shared an intimate, holy, close, honest, love relationship. David trusted God enough to slay Goliath the Giant and lead a mighty band of men through great battles on his way to the throne of Israel.

However, David suffered… a lot. Just to get to the palace, he endured the world’s deluge of danger - accusations, battles, death threats, just to name a few. The Psalms, though, are packed full of David’s testimony that throughout it all, God protected him, pursued him, gave him success in battle, rescued him from his enemies. Once he got the hang of being king, though, he strayed from his Love for a time, which led to specific and devastating sins. Does Bathsheba ring a bell? (2 Sam. 11)

Yet, through all of that, God pursued and protected David. Because of David’s repentance and God’s grace, their relationship survived and thrived. God still recorded in His Word that David was a man after His heart.

Jesus offered the ultimate sacrificial protection when He threw Himself under the weight of our sin. While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom. 5:8) When Satan threatened us with unbearable torment – even death - Jesus took it all on Himself, suffering greatly in the process.

I get the shivers when I read about Edward protecting Bella, especially when he’s writhing on the floor under Jane’s powers, because I see Jesus and the amazing sacrifice He’s endured to protect me.

Our God, our Perfect Lover, is so kind. He even hovers near by in case we faint in Biology class.

(click for next chapter: Absolute Provision)

Photos used in Dry Ground posts courtesy of Photobucket.


LynnRush said...

Right on, Lori. I've heard countless people rag on Edward for always swooping in, saying Bella's weak.

This is a nice alternate viewpoint, Lori.

I, personally, LOVE the idea of someone hovering around in case I faint in biology.

Oh, hey, which Abandon song has that line in it? I'm on iTunes trying to find it. I'm liking that group, I think I need to download a few songs. . .

Lori Lundquist said...

Lynn - Abandon's album is called Searchlights. And that song is... Here Waiting. Met them at The Rage in PHX last Jan. and they truly have hearts for God. Love 'em!