From The Kitchen Window - Opposites
Words by David Hollows
We are surrounded by opposites. Have you ever noticed?
In nature there are the 2 ice caps at either end of the globe of which the opposites are the heats of the many expanding deserts, especially in Africa.
In America there have been the wildfires as a result of decades of extreme heat and drought yet on the east coast there are floods caused by the hurricane season and in the middle one of the coldest snow winters in decades which caused power shortages for many in Texas and Oregon.
There are thousands of beautifully scented flowers with several species of poisonous ones. There are bold, upright heads of daffodils opposed to the bowed delicate heads of the snowdrops.
In the animal world there are millions of spiders some of which are poisonous, whales are opposite in size to pilchards, sharks are totally opposite in nature to goldfish and salt water is opposite to spring water.
In the human sphere, identical twins may share the same outward appearance but often are opposites in personality and characteristics; Cain and Abel certainly were as were Jacob and Esau in the Bible.
Siblings may share similar physical characteristics but interests and careers are opposites: there are those who are dexterous with their hands and those who could not change a flat tyre. Similarly there are those who are adept with computer systems and modern technology and those who find it difficult to use a mobile phone. There are those who can sing as an opera star and those who are the opposite, tone-deaf.
In the world of sport, there are those who are the superstar footballers and those who struggle to catch a ball. There are the super athletes who run marathons and those of us who are fatigued simply observing.
Recently, there has been a youth craze in the youth world of fashion of deliberately wearing opposite socks rather than matching socks. Some males continue to struggle with the wearing of a striped shirt with an opposing dotted tie, check out MPs next time you spot them on TV, and there are still those who wear brown shoes to dark blue suits.
In the world of food, people who are vegetarian or vegan are definitely opposites to the meat-eaters and it is often quite amusing to watch the couple in a restaurant where one person makes a decision quickly, whereas the other dithers and delays. The idea of opposites often features in the art world where our distinct tastes for art will vary and may be opposite; for one person a certain painting may be the best ever seen and the same painting is a dreadful mess to another viewer. There are those who prefer bright, dominant colours and those who prefer the opposite of soft pastels. There are those who are perfect musicians, for example, with brass instruments and those who fail to blow up a balloon.
Finally, we are informed that opposites attract in marriage. What is your considered opinion on this conjecture for those of you who are so disposed?
Photo by Alice Yamamura via Unsplash
As already indicated above, the Bible is not shy away from this theme of opposites.
In the very first chapter of Genesis, we have God operating with opposites; the light is separated from the darkness and land is opposite to the seas. David, the shepherd boy, is totally different in his style of leadership and kingship to Saul (1 Samuel).
Joseph is opposite to some of his brothers as is Reuben who tried to save Joseph from his brother Judah (Genesis chapter 37).
The theme of opposites often appears in the life of individuals in their stories in the Bible. We have the before-and-after of Saul to Paul after his conversion and the total opposite in his character (Acts chapter 9) The same applies to Thomas who doubts the resurrection until he meets with Jesus (John chapter 21).
Jesus himself is opposite to the religious leaders of the day hence their rejection of Him (Luke chapter 13) and in the story of Elijah confronting the prophets of Baal, God is totally opposite to the god of the prophets (1 Kings chapter 18) just as the God of Moses is opposite to the Egyptian gods (Exodus chapter 7).
When God gave Moses the Commandments for godly living, this lifestyle was directly opposite to the other nations around at the time (Exodus chapter 20) because God wanted His people to be different and an example of how to live in a relationship with the living God of creation.
The Bible clearly show to us that our God is opposite to those of other world religions in that our God is not remote, unforgiving and uninterested, rather our God is close, loves and forgives and desperately wants to be involved our lives on a daily basis. However, the Bible also demonstrates that the true nature of our God is opposite to basic human nature: we can be selfish, inconsiderate and unloving with a me-first attitude. Whereas our God and His nature, personality and character values are evidenced in the Jesus lifestyle which we are encouraged to adopt.
So, how are the opposites in your life? Thriving or causing you distress?
In God you will find all the solutions you need to live a healthy and gracious life – have a go!
You may find the following hymn useful:
Lord of creation (Mission Praise 440)
You may find the following prayer helpful:
Almighty God, you are closer than the air we breathe and yet, you are beyond the range of radio wave, telescope sight or radar search. Your touch is as gentle as a snowflake yet yours is the power which spoke the universe into being. You are as intimate and close as we permit you to be and yet we can never fully know you as our minds are too small and our imaginations not lively enough to appreciate the immensity of your nature. Great God, creator of the universe and of that is, share my life, I pray.
God bless you