The Almighty Big Box Store

Wal-MartFor those of you who know me, you know my life has been in flux as of late.  A job change, along with a move from Washington state to Montana, selling a house, trying to find a new place to live, and splitting up from the rest of my family for a few weeks seem to have put a lot of pressure on my sense of security.  For the past week I’ve felt somewhat jobless and homeless, though never in need of income or shelter.  It’s funny where, even as Christians, we derive our sense of security though.  I’ve been in a foreign town in a foreign state for all of 36 hours now.  I find it a little scary and lonely without my wife and kids by my side.  I know, intellectually speaking, that I ought to derive my sense of security from the creator of the universe who can both give and take away.  However, in practice, it seems that I fail miserably at this.

First, it is probably no surprise that my wife is my crutch.  Not crush mind you (although she is that too), but the one I lean on for all manner of support.  From friendship, to financial planning, to fashion advice, if you take her away from me I become somewhat paralyzed.  I can overcome these things, but I feel lost without her.  Now, in my defense I could make a biblical case that this sort of leaning on each other in a marriage is a good thing.  Hopefully there are some things where I am a crutch for her as well.  We rely on each other, but answer to God first.

However, I discovered today, that it turns out that big box stores offer some odd measure of security for me as well.  I walked into a Walmart this morning and immediately noticed I felt somewhat relieved.  Things were suddenly familiar again.  That sense of nothing making any sense seemed to fade a little bit.  It felt somewhat like home.  The reason, I suppose, is that no matter where I go, places like Walmart and Costco look pretty much the same.  I literally thought to myself something like, “This Walmart is oddly comforting.”  They say home is where the heart is, and apparently the heart is at Walmart ($19.99 in the Shoes and Accessories department I think).

After deriving some sense of comfort in troubled times from the almighty Walmart, I came to the sudden realization that I could easily be compared to those foolish people in Exodus 32.  My wife (Moses) was back in Washington (up on the mountain) and in my panic and insecurity I appealed to Sam Walton (Aaron) to build me a Walmart (golden calf) to which I might appeal in my time of uncertainty.  Luckily I realized it before I got to the part where I was burning sacrifices before Walmart.

Once I realized it, I was able to somewhat refocus my sense of security back on God where it belonged.  Fortunately, through Christ I have a path to forgiveness for such corruptness, and can even chuckle about it.  Some people say “God is a crutch” as a means of defaming theists as being weak minded.  However, with the exception of the malice with which the comment is generally intended, I agree with those people.  God is a crutch.   We all have our crutches; those things that provide peace and security in our lives.  For some it is things like successful careers, big houses, fine automobiles, stacks of money, the dream of power, lust, or popularity.  For the follower of Jesus of Nazareth the pinnacle of security, upon which all other securities rest, should be the triune God, but is it?

When life gets complicated and uncertain, what is your crutch?