My son asked me the question at the least opportune time. Right while I’m prepping dinner on one of those ticking time bomb hungry family kind of nights, he pipes up, “Mom, what does SOS mean?”
SOS. SOS. I know this one.
I think quickly while trying not to burn the bread toasting beneath the broiler.
I rack my brain while turning off the steaming veggies, attempting to plate the meal with at least a fragment of finesse I see in those television chefs. Dishes clang as I execute much more like the haggard, end-of-day-mother I am right now.
I wave a white flag. “Buddy, I’m not even sure what SOS means. We’ll look that one up after dinner, okay?”
I am continually amazed by all of the things I should probably know, but I don’t. What did mothers do before Google?
Making good on my promise, I looked up the definition after dinner. It turns out SOS means nothing and everything. It’s not an acronym like I had thought, but rather a simple combination of morse code dots and dashes that can be communicated both quickly and clearly. It’s a simple and efficient distress signal that is understood globally.
The concept brought me back to the devotion I read with my kids a few days prior. We were parked in Genesis 3 and the familiar story met me in a whole new way – that cunning and crafty serpent catching Eve’s attention, bending her ear, catching her gaze, twisting Truth.
I wonder what may have been churning inside Eve in that moment. I wonder how the lies mingled with truth. Did she have the slightest hesitation, a tingly pause, an uncomfortable curiosity as the questions first coursed through her mind?
But mostly, I wonder why she didn’t cry for help. Couldn’t she have turned her confusion, her desperation, into a lines and dots SOS that would mean nothing and yet, everything?
That lingering question stuck with me long after we finished the devotion. Honestly, I was kind of annoyed at Eve. She was near to God in that garden in ways I can’t even imagine and yet she couldn’t mumble out some kind of gasp for help? C’mon, Eve.
I Am Eve
And then I turned around and snapped at my at kids at bedtime, again. I was unkind and unloving toward my husband, again. I practiced selfishness, faithlessness, embarrassing amounts of unbelief, again and again and again.
Forget the truly tempting harvest, pleasing to the eye and desirable. I don’t even need that kind of beauty to dive headlong into sinfulness. I grab quickly for the low-hanging fruit each and every day.
And here I am shaming Eve? That’s a little uncomfortable in print.
The truth is, I have more in common with Eve than I would like. I ignore the uncomfortable conviction, that subtle alarm that could be my invitation to Him. When anger surges quick, when exhaustion overwhelms, when that biting reply sparks fast in my mind, what if my pause came quicker? I don’t think God even requires artful words here – simple dots and dashes, an SOS that means nothing and everything will do just fine.
Jesus, be near.
Holy Spirit, help me hold my tongue.
Oh God, may we silence ourselves enough to hear your voice, feel your prompting. Train our hearts to be sensitive to your guiding, more aware of the Spirit at work in us. And help us build our reflexes to cry out to you. In simple words, may our quickest responses, our voluntary reactions, be God, I need you here. Thank you, God, for being near. Thank you for your grace as we clumsily learn to trust you more, hear you more, and fear you more.
In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Katie, I Choose Brave
Katie Westenberg is a wife, mother and writer who is passionate about living life bravely for the glory of our Creator and encouraging others to do the same. She enjoys country living in a small town, time spent with friends and family, and saying YES to adventure. She writes at ichoosebrave.com.