“Humanity is bewildered by false idols and driven by vain fantasies into the pit of destruction.”—Rumi
A few weeks ago, I rushed into my yoga class—mat, towel, and water bottle in hand—and was met by the instructor who thrust a deck of cards in front of me. I took one but I was doing it wrong. She put it back in the stack and explained that I only needed to touch the deck. Oh, Lord. I noticed the deck looked suspiciously like tarot cards. What was I getting myself into?
I usually love going to my hot yoga class. They are sweaty and refreshing and wonderful. And I have learned a lot in them. So much of life is about rushing and laundry and technology. I have loved the chance to better learn how to be still and know He is God and love Him with all of myself more fully. That is not quite the goal of most of my instructors but that’s okay. I don’t mind learning a different lesson than they intend to teach.
However, after my card encounter I set up my mat with trepidation and waited to see what would happen. As it turns out, the cards weren’t tarot cards after all. They were printed with excerpts of the poetry of Rumi, a thirteenth century Persian poet and Sufi mystic. I learned on Wikipedia that his son founded the order associated with the Whirling Dervishes. Interesting.
The instructor began by explaining she’d had us all touch the deck so that we could be part of the selection. She shuffled them (as I began to wonder if we were ever going to start stretching) and read, ““Humanity is bewildered by false idols and driven by vain fantasies into the pit of destruction.” This was our helpful thought for the day. She tried to turn it into a positive message. ‘What vain fantasies do you need to let go of?’ or ‘What false idols are around us?’ or, my favorite, ‘Surrender to the pit of destruction where you can be reborn, renewed.’ Throughout the hour, she periodically read the phrase again and suggested applications.
All I could think as I stretched and prayed and listened was how she was speaking truth without fully understanding what she was saying. This is a woman who believes in yoga and drum circles and being at one with the universe. She has transcended that intrusive masculine Creator—or so she thinks.
As she read and re-read the quote, I thought of was Caiaphas. He was the high priest when Jesus was alive. When they planned how to get rid of the troublesome Rabbi while simultaneously avoiding Roman meddling and revolt from their own people, Caiaphas inadvertently prophesied, “…it is expedient for you that one man die for the people, and that the whole nation not perish” (John 11:50). It was truer than he knew. It really was better for one Man to die to save the many. Actually, it was the only way. I also thought of the Jewish people who shouted for Pilot to release Barabbas. The governor protested, worried about executing a clearly innocent Man. “And all the people said, “His blood shall be on us and on our children!” (Matthew 27:25). And it was. And it is.
My teacher has the truth written on her heart and is made in God’s image (even if she doesn’t acknowledge Him—yet). Rumi did too. So, really, it isn’t all that surprising that they have wisdom and insight about the world. People really are bewildered by a diverse assortment of idols and fantasies. And those who don’t know the One who can save will indeed be destroyed. But it doesn’t have to be that way. When Jesus gave up His life, He conquered death and Hades and the pit of destruction. And I want the whole world to know it. Including her.
“I am the door; if anyone enters through Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly. I am the good shepherd; the good shepherd lays down His life for the sheep.”–Jesus (John 10:9-11)