Some call them imponderables. They are those silly semantic quirks and inane realities of everyday life that we all hear, and are emailed by the dozens. They are oxymorons, paradoxes, and nonsensical things like…
* Why is there handicapped parking in front of skating rinks?
* Why is it that we park in driveways and drive on parkways?
* How can you have a jumbo shrimp?
* Why do banks leave their vault doors open, but chain their pens to the counter?
* Why is “abbreviated” such a long word?
* Why isn’t there mouse-flavored cat food?
* When dog food is advertised as “new and improved tasting,” who tasted it?
* Why don’t sheep shrink when it rains?
* Why do they sterilize the needle for a lethal injection?
* Why are they called “apartments” when they are all stuck together?
The ultimate master of such fun foolishness is comedian Steven Wright. If you will indulge me a few moments, I would like to share with you some of his quirky brand of humor…
* OK, what’s the speed of dark?
* How do you tell when you’re out of invisible ink?
* If Barbie is so popular, why do we have to buy her friends?
* What happens if you get scared half to death twice?
* What’s another word for “Thesaurus”?
* If a man is alone in the forest, and there are no women around, is he still wrong?
* If you were going to shoot a mime, would you use a silencer?
* How many people does it take to change a searchlight bulb?
* If a man with multiple personalities commits suicide, is it a conspiracy?
* How young can you die of old age?
* What do batteries run on?
* If all the nations in the world are in debt, where did all the money go?
* Do Lipton employees take coffee breaks?
* After they make styrofoam, what do they ship it in?
* Is “tired old cliché” one?
* Why don’t they make the whole plane out of that black box stuff?
And my wife’s favorite…
* How much deeper would the ocean be if it didn’t have sponges in it?
Such matters amuse us, perhaps even intrigue us. Reading them brings a grin or a smile, perhaps even a guffaw at times. But not all imponderables are amusing. There are some that are more serious. I ponder these “imponderables” often—these things that I wonder about. Matters that can be serious, very serious. Oh, I know that there are explanations and reasons (and excuses) for these things. But that doesn’t satisfy me. To me, these things just don’t make sense, and I guess they never will. Perhaps they never should make sense.
What am I talking about? Well, let me share a few of my imponderables with you.
Weeping Men: They say, “Big boys don’t cry!” Why not?! I mean what’s wrong with crying. Think about it. God, the perfect, omniscient, omnipotent Creator made the males of the species with tear ducts, tear glands, and emotions—just the same as he made the females of the species. Was it a creative error? Did the Almighty make a mistake? The first time Adam teared up, did the Lord say, “Oops. Didn’t mean for that to happen. BIG blunder there.” I really don’t think so. God made men with the capacity to weep.
History bears out the foolishness of our modern thinking here. Jesus wept. So did David and Jeremiah and John and Paul and many other biblical figures. Great heroes of history and mythology wept: Achilles, Roland, Charlemagne, Alexander, Robert E. Lee, Patton. I remember watching an interview that Barbara Walters had with Norman Schwartzkopf after the Gulf War. As “Stormin’ Norman” told of the lives lost in Desert Storm, he choked up and tears began to trickle down his cheeks. Barbara Walters commented on his tears, and the fact that he was not ashamed to cry. And I will never forget his answer. He said, “I am afraid of a man who cannot cry.” Wise words, from a wise man.
“I love you!” Why are these words so hard to utter? We all love hearing them. And doesn’t it make us feel good to say them? Isn’t it just the honest truth? When we carry people in our hearts, why shouldn’t we express our true heartfelt feelings to them? In the adversities and troubles of life, to hear those three simple words is like entering an oasis. They are a refuge from the harshness of life.
I heard of a woman recently who commented that she hears these words from her husband maybe once a month, if that often. What a tragedy! I guess that guy would think that Sue and I have a very strange marriage indeed. We probably tell each other “I love you” a couple dozen times a day. When she is working at home, tutoring students, and I am in the church office, one or the other of us will call to say “I love you” at least once or twice a day.
Are we weak or insecure or do we lack confidence in the strength of our relationship? No. Just the opposite. I believe it is because of insecurity and weakness that people are afraid to utter those three words. Just picture it. A big, brawny, hunk of man, a real man’s man, who can chew nails and fight bears—but if his wife calls him at work, and he hears her say “I love you” over the phone, he is cowed into silence by peer pressure from his surrounding buddies. “Uh, yeah, right,” he answers. Or, if he is really brave, “Er, uh, me too.” What courage! (Not!) Manliness? Hogwash. Any woose or wimp can cave in like that. It’s takes a real man to be real.
Don’t be afraid to speak from your heart. It’s real. It’s genuine. It’s true. And it’s right. So, just say it. Tell your wife, husband, children, parents, siblings, friends (yes, friends) and others that mean something to you that you love them. You’ll be glad you did.
Keep ‘em humble. I have on occasion heard someone compliment a young person or a child, only to hear a family member, even a parent, contradict what was said. “Oh, don’t say that. You’ll only give her a big head.” There seems to be some degenerate theory in modern America that it’s somehow dangerous to speak words of encouragement, affirmation and admiration to people. We have to keep them “humble.”
Again, I must say it, HOGWASH. Parents, teachers, preachers, friends, whoever… don’t worry that you are going to ruin someone life’s by complimenting them. I can assure you, there are more than enough critics in this world to speak negative things into their lives. You don’t have to worry about your loved one getting too vain. In fact, the opposite is true. I think the reality is that MOST people are starved for some positive input into their lives. I know of one psychologist who states that for every negative thing that is said to or about you, you need ten positive statements to counteract it. Hmmm. Do you really think most people are hearing TEN times more positive things than negative? Get real.
How wise the Scripture writers are in this regard. Did you know that there are 58 “one another’s” in the New Testament? Fifty-eight times we are instructed to assist each other in life. These instructions include things like: “Love one another,” “encourage one another,” “pray for one another,” “honor one another,” “esteem one another,” and “accept one another.” Fifty-eight times we hear this. No, I don’t think we can overdo complimenting one another.
A Free Gift Probably the greatest imponderable to me is why more people do not accept Christ. Think about it. You have the opportunity to miss hell. You can go to heaven. You get to live eternally in happiness, joy and bliss. After you make it through this life (a chore with Christ, but even harder without Him) you get to experience a reality with no suffering, pain, tragedy, abuse, sorrow, separation, disappointment or unfulfilled longing.
You gain a Friend who loves you unconditionally (even when you are at your worse) and loves you forever. You gain a Helper and a Guide and Counselor who is always there for you.
You find forgiveness for every wrong thing you have ever done. Once and for all you get rid of all the guilt, and shame, and muck, and crud that you spent a lifetime being covered with.
You find a true forever family.
You find peace and fulfillment and satisfaction.
And you are promised so much more than this, so much that it said that “eye has not seen, nor has ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man the things that God has prepared for those who love Him.” Wow!
And guess what? It is all totally, absolutely, completely FREE! It’s already been paid for. The ticket to enter this new life, this new reality, is bought and has been delivered. All you have to do is accept it.
Now, why doesn’t everyone just take this FREE gift for himself and experienced the joys of the new life offered in Jesus? I just don’t get it.