As I was cleaning out old boxes in our storeroom, I stumbled across some old VHS tapes. One tape was of me riding the Ejection Seat at the Minnesota State Fair back in the early-1990s, the year the ride first opened. Did you ever go on that insane ride?
The Ejection Seat was a ride in which two people are strapped into seats inside a metal frame in the shape of a ball, that is attached to what seemed like giant rubber bands. With music pumping, crowds gathering – you are ejected into the atmosphere at 70 mph, going 200 feet high at 4Gs! It was compared to what astronauts’ experience during a launch. Exhilarating enough to make a person scream or lose their lunch!
I quickly dusted off the VCR so I could stroll down memory lane. Wow – this was going to be exciting! As I started watching, it brought a rush of good memories – oh to be young again with no grey hair, no wrinkles, and to be in prime shape! That thrill ride was awesome and right up my alley as a curious, adventure seeker! Over the loudspeaker the ride operator counted down “three, two, one!” Zoom! We went flying in the air with gravity pressing against you, we hit weightlessness at the top, then plunged backwards and repeated the slingshot motion a few times. I screamed at the top of my lungs during that adrenaline rush, but upon hearing my reaction to the ride – the words that came out of my mouth – I wept. Not just a little cry, but a serious, deep sorrow-filled cry from my soul, in an apology to God for taking His name in vain.
I had forgotten that in my early 20s, I did occasionally take The Lord’s name in vain – much like people do today on TV home makeover reveals, in the hallways at school or work, and in three letter text abbreviations – without much thought. Just because everyone else seemed to be talking like that, it still didn’t make it right for me to do. Deuteronomy 5:11 says, “You shall not take the name of The Lord your God in vain, for The Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.” I was ashamed. To hear my recorded voice disobeying God’s command was disturbing. It was like I viewed a completely different person on video. I responded with a whole-hearted apology to God for every time in my life I had uttered words in a sinful way. Then, I destroyed the tape as an act of remorse and confession, releasing forgotten sins of my past to God, to once again be washed clean by Jesus.
Thankfully, God convicted me to change while attending a young adult retreat just a year or two after the Ejection Seat ride. He gave me forgiveness and restored me. He has been making me new and renewing my mind ever since, just as He said in Romans 12:2, “Do not conform to the pattern of this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.” And He can renew your mind as well!
It’s been interesting to reflect on how much God has renewed me from the inside out over the years. Back then, I didn’t realize the magnitude of my words. Fast-forward and now every time I hear or see someone take The Lord’s name in vain – I literally cringe – like nails on a chalkboard. It hurts me to the core to hear someone speak flippantly about the one true God whom I love.
Our God is Holy and Divine – He’s our King, Creator, Provider and so much more. He deserves our utmost respect, love and adoration! “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be pleasing in your sight, O Lord, my Rock and my Redeemer.” Psalm 19:14