Art Imitates Life

The Dallas Summer Musicals had several shows this year my wife and I wanted to see, so we bought season tickets. Our daughter and son-in-law ended up going with us as well; we enjoyed Wicked, Chicago, and, of course, Spamalot among others, all at 8:00pm on Sunday evening.

This evening was Lion King, the spectacularly costumed musical version of the Disney movie. It also happened to be opening weekend of the Texas State Fair, so we arrived extra early, around an hour before showtime. Since we were so early, we decided to go and look at a few trucks and the new Honda’s at the Auto Show pavilion. We strolled back over to the Music Hall around 7:40, with plenty of time to buy a t-shirt and get to our seats. Or so we thought. (That’s called foreshadowing, used only by your professional bloggers. Don’t try this at home.)

We thought it odd that no one was in the hallway, but figured it was because the doors had already opened and everyone had already headed for their seats. Except the doors weren’t open. Realization slowly dawned as one of the ushers said, “You need to hurry, we’re about to have a ten-minute blackout.” It seemed tonight’s show began at 7:00pm, not 8:00pm. We had forgotten to do a very simple thing — look at the starting time on the ticket. We got caught in that most human of predicaments, the assumption.

It isn’t a new predicament. The prophet Nathan stumbled into it several thousand years ago. Nathan was a mighty prophet in Israel. It was he who uttered the infamous words, “You are that man!” to King David, after David’s shameful escapades with Bathsheba and Uriah (2 Samuel 12:1-15). But a few years before that, in 2 Samuel 7, Nathan fell prey to the same trap we did tonight.

There was peace in the land, David had built himself a beautiful cedar house, but God still dwelt in a tent. David decided that wasn’t a good thing, so he had the prophet, God’s voice to the people, come over for the evening and told Nathan his thoughts. “Let’s build a stupendous house for God,” David told Nathan. “Great idea!” Nathan replied, “Do whatever you have on your mind.” Because, of course, it was a great idea. What could be wrong with building God a great big house?

Well, nothing, except God hadn’t asked for a great big house. And He wasn’t interested in David building Him one. Which He told Nathan that night when Nathan got home. And told Nathan he had to go back and tell David to call off the building. Don’t you know that was a pleasant conversation for Nathan? “Umm, King David, ummm, well, you see, ummm, you know that building idea you had that I said was a great idea? Well, ummm, I know I’m the prophet and everything, but, ummm… Gosh, this is hard.”

Nathan assumed. He heard an idea, he decided it was a great idea, but just like we didn’t bother to check the tickets (hey, they’ve all started at 8:00pm), Nathan didn’t bother to check with God.

If it was only show times, I wouldn’t worry much. But it’s frightening to me that I might make an assumption far more serious. That when someone asks me what they should do about a problem in their marriage, or with their finances, or about changing jobs, or whatever else the question might be, that I would give them the “obvious” answer. The “obvious,” and wrong, answer.

What are you assuming today? What might you assume tomorrow? Let’s you and I remember to check with God on all our decisions, because His answers often aren’t the obvious ones.

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