Monday, May 3, 2010

The pickled beets bomber

For he is God’s servant to do you good. – Romans 13:4 (NIV)

Last summer I promised a colleague in Colorado a jar of home-canned pickled beets. The only problem was getting it to Colorado Springs from western Pennsylvania. I didn’t want to take the chance mailing or shipping the glass quart jar, no matter how well wrapped and packaged. I still remember the time my son spilled beet juice on a pair of new white sneakers.

So when the opportunity came to fly to Colorado Springs on business last month, I saw a way to fulfill my promise. After wrapping bubble wrap around the jar—twice—and securing it with packing tape, I sealed it in a gallon-size freezer bag. Then I carefully placed it in my carry-on.

“Are you sure you can take it on the plane?” said my husband, who can be a real wet blanket sometimes. “Did you check the airline regulations online?”

“Yes, and I didn’t see anything about home-canned pickled beets.”

He raised a wary eyebrow.

“OK, OK,” I said. “I’ll look again.”

So after supper I did a more-than-cursory scan into what I could and could not take on the plane.

“Well?” hubby asked when he came in from his evening chores.

“I still didn’t see anything that told me I couldn’t,” I said. “If baby food’s allowed, why wouldn’t pickled beets be? I wrapped it up good and tight. Let me show you.”

It wasn’t until I placed the bubble-wrapped, taped and plastic-baggie-sealed jar on the counter that I saw the problem. Until then, I admit, I was just being stubborn, contrary, and, OK, a little bit rebellious. I wanted to take those pickled beets to my colleague, and, by golly, come the Secretary of Defense and the entire Department of Homeland Security—I was going to.

Until I saw the package.

It did look suspicious. I had visions of alarms and SWAT teams and bomb squads converging on me and my jar of home-canned pickled beets—and me getting escorted from the airport in handcuffs, with the headlines “Police Arrest Pickled Beets Bomber.”

So I left the beets at home—not without a little resentment and complaining about how our freedoms were being taken away one by one.

After I cleared security (they always have to wave that wand thingie over my CPAP machine to make sure it isn’t a you-know-what), I got on the transit to the terminal. As I looked around the crowded car, and saw all the baggage people carried, it hit me: I’m safe.

What I saw as a hindrance was meant to protect me.

St. Paul advised the Roman believers to “obey the government, for God is the one who put it there” (Romans 13:4 NLT). And the Roman government, in those days, wasn’t Christian-friendly.

No government is perfect. It is, after all, run by humans. And those humans need our prayers.

Thursday is the National Day of Prayer. For one day, let us replace our complaints with prayer. For “blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD” (Psalm 33:12 NIV).

Thank you, God, for those who have taken the responsibility to govern. Bless them with wisdom, discernment, and integrity. Amen.

Special-Tea: Romans 13:1–7

Click here for more information about the National Day of Prayer.

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