Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands. – Deuteronomy 8:2 (NIV)
I was and am a big fan of the classic Warner Bros. cartoons, featuring the likes of Bugs Bunny, Froghorn Leghorn, Road Runner, Daffy Duck and Speedy Gonzales. The cartoons were not initially conceived exclusively with children in mind. They were originally created to run before feature length movies and designed for general audiences. As such, they were smart, witty, containing innuendos that while not offensive to young children (unlike many of today’s cartoons which feature heavy doses of bathroom humor) resonated with adults. While there are a host of Warner Bros. cartoon characters, Bugs Bunny was and remains the marquee star much in the same way that Mickey Mouse is the headliner for Walt Disney cartoons.
Bugs Bunny is that wise-cracking, animated rabbit who speaks with a cross between a Brooklyn and Bronx accent. His signature tagline, uttered after taking a bite from an always convenient carrot, is “what’s up doc?” Bugs Bunny has matched wits with any number of nemeses over the years including Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam and Marvin the Martian. Bugs and Daffy Duck always had an uneasy “frenemies” relationship with Daffy being jealous of Bugs top billing.
Like a yesteryear Neo from The Matrix movies, Bugs Bunny always seemed to be able to suspend the laws of physics. Invariably Bugs would find himself literally out on a limb having been chased there by his foe du jour. If Elmer Fudd produced a saw and sawed off the limb, it would be Elmer Fudd and not Bugs who plummeted to the earth. Bugs would remain suspended in the air, defying the law of gravity, with no visible means of support. Bugs would sometimes assume the role of saw-er and not saw-ee, taking the saw into his own hands. When this occurred, the heretofore suspended laws of physics would be reinstated and once again it was Elmer Fudd who fell to the ground.
Similar to Bugs Bunny, God occasionally likes to get his children out on limbs and then proceeds to saw them off. During the Exodus from Egypt, God placed the Israelites “out on a limb” on numerous occasions. It started with the Red Sea crossing. With the Egyptian army approaching them and their backs facing the Red Sea, the Israelites only way forward was through the Red Sea which God supernaturally parted. God fed the Israelites for 40 years with manna that appeared on the ground in the morning. If the Israelites attempted to gather more than they could eat in a day, it would spoil. They literally had to pray as the Jesus later prescribed the Lord’s prayer, “Give us this day, our daily bread.” On several other occasions when the Israelites feared they would perish from thirst and dehydration, God miraculously caused water to spring from rocks. God orchestrated all of these events to get the Israelites to trust not in what they could see, but what they could not see – an unseen, all powerful, yet all loving God.
God remains in the limb sawing business. We all unwittingly cling to the “limbs” of health, relationships, finances and other things. These limbs are tangible and appear sturdy. As the divine arborist, God will allow our health to fail, relationships to end and bank accounts to shrink. Like Elmer Fudd, we are suspended in midair without visible means of support. However unlike Elmer Fudd we will not plummet to the ground if we place our faith in God. God will suspend the laws of physics and keep us aloft in his unseen hand. Isaiah offers this reassurance when we face tough times, when you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze – Isaiah 43:2 (NIV).
Please look for my next post when I write about when God is like Sponge Bob. (Just kidding!)