She’s My Sister — In Triplicate

There’s a certain story that plays out no less than three times in the book of Genesis. Different actors, on different stages, but there’s no denying the same things are happening all three times.

The Storyline

A patriarch, one of the founding fathers of the nation of Israel, goes to sojurn in a foreign land. The patriarch has this wife who’s very beautiful, and the ruler of this foreign land makes some very serious advances toward her, looking for to put her in his harem.

The patriarch is very fearful of telling the ruler his wife in indeed his wife. He’s afraid the ruler will have him bumped off to possess his lovely wife. So what does this patriarch do? He tells a baldfaced lie to the ruler.

“Oh, her? She’s my sister!”

And he coaches his wife to corroborate the fib. The ruler then thinks that everything is perfectly cool to go ahead and marry the seemingly unattached hot babe.

But just before his majesty is about to do the Wild Thing with her, God intervenes, telling the ruler in no uncertain terms that this is a married woman and He will not tolerate climbing into bed with her. The ruler is peeved, and confronts the patriarch about his lie and how it almost brought guilt and shame and destruction down on the entire kingdom.

The three casts of characters in each retelling of this story of deception are as follows:

  • In Genesis 12:10-20: Abram, his wife Sarai, and the Pharaoh of Egypt.
  • In Genesis 20:1-18: Abraham (formerly Abram), Sarah (formerly Sarai), and King Abimelech of Gerar.
  • In Genesis 26:1-11: Abraham’s son Isaac, his wife Rebekah, and King Abimilech of Gerar.

Fear of telling the truth

The first constant, the first same thread that runs through all three of the storylines, is the fear the patriarch has of telling the truth about being married to his lovely wife. I am no stranger to fear and how it will drive an otherwise good man to falsehood. Fear is a powerful voice that refuses to be silenced. It is also a faith in all the wrong things happening. Fear is faith pulling in the wrong direction.

How to combat fear? Realize it for the “counter-faith” that it is, and ask God to draw you to His voice, and to silence all other voices that are not His own.

Lies are unnecessary

The next thing that I want to point out is that the lies told to the rulers were absolutely unnecessary. Even before the account in Genesis 12, God had promised Abram (Genesis 12:1-3) that He would make a great nation out of him. Abram would have descendants. This promise and a little logic should have convinced him that neither he nor Sarai would have anything to worry about. But no, he had to listen to the voice of fear inside his head! He had to act like there was no God to help him! He had to take matters into his own hands! He had to try to manipulate Pharaoh into sparing his life through lies!

But God is “not a man that He should lie” (Numbers 23:19). In spite of the lies Abraham and Isaac told Pharaoh and King Abimilech, He still acted to protect them. All three times the patriarchs became convinced God is either incapable of or unwilling to save them. All three times, God saved them. God never failed.

Brethren, why are you fearful? Why have you become convinced that God will not deliver you? Why do you feel the need to take matters into your own hands? Has He not promised to feed you, to clothe you, to heal you, and to protect you? Has He not promised to hear all your prayers? Has he not promised to always love you and be with you? There is no need to replace His promises with lies and manipulation. There is not need to sin.

Abimilech smeared

God was not the only one whose good name was smeared by the disbelief of Abraham and Isaac. I seem to think that King Abimilech was also discredited. From what I see of Abimilech, he seems to be an honorable sort who wants to do the right thing, but neither Abraham nor Isaac would give him the benefit of the doubt. It was unfair for them to pre-judge Abimilech as being untrustworthy.

Misled

A final thing that I want to point out is that the lies the patriarchs told had consequences. Misled, Abimilech felt free to take Sarah to wife. It is good that God is understanding of this and warned him away. Wrong information leads people into the wrong actions.

Logistics Training

You’ll have to forgive me. I usually take time to sort new developments in my life out and portray them in this blog in a neat and polished way. That’s when things start to happen bang-bang kind of fast.

I was still hacking and coughing yesterday morning. With great reluctance I was going to allow myself another day of flu medicine and bed rest.

Then Joe from JobLeaders called me , got my cell number to give to the Workforce Development building at Columbus State Community College, and later they called up to ask if I was still interested in the free Logistics classes they were offering with job placement afterwards. I said yes. They called me down to their place for a battery of skills tests.

As it turns out, pending these tests and the drug test I go out to take later today, I’ve been accepted into the Logistics course. At the very least, I have something to get out of bed to go do for the next two weeks. After that, I will be well qualified to go out and find a job in the rapidly growing logistics industry.

Logistics, for the uninitiated, is the art of getting goods from point A to point B. Could be a little as getting stuff from your loading dock to your production line, or it could be as big as getting stuff from your production line to somebody else’s loading dock, across the country.

I wasn’t expecting these classes to happen for another couple of weeks, but according to Melissa Shaid, whom I talked to yesterday, the factories needing the help need it in time for the upcoming holiday season. And after the holiday season, they expect to keep 75% of their employees.

Hmm. A 3 out of 4 chance of keeping one’s job permanently? I like those odds. And thanks to some economic stimulus money put out by our government, I get a stipend of a few extra hundred dollars to take this training (though I am told I should not expect it before Sept. 30).

This does qualify as light at the end of the tunnel. Please continue to be in prayer for me.

The latest on me

First, let me give you the good news (lest some accuse me of being incapable of it). I have been approved for an additional tier of unemployment benefits. They pay stub for tomorrow, which arrived in the mail today, looks very good. Paying the August rent looks very doable.

The bad news is I am not feeling well, suffering from some respiratory flu, and feel compelled to stay home and rest in bed. Bad for the job hunting effort. 

Not much time

In light of the fact that Congress finally delivered an extension of unemployment benefits to President Obama’s desk, I went to JobLeaders, sat down to one of their computers, and filled out an app for extended benefits. I think.

And this afternoon, I did a skills assessment for a temporary staffing agency called Adecco. And right now I’m coughing and my windpipe is stinging with what feels like bronchitis. Stay in prayer for me.

I should hope that I’m doing enough. There’s that nasty little thing I have called my Inner Critic (to give it a name even an atheist can accept) that constantly accuses me of not doing enough quickly enough.

It’s ridiculous. The sad thing about hunting for a job is there is so much of it that is dependent on what other people do. The boss is always free to hire the other guy, and I can’t control that. You can promise me that I will get killed at 9:00 PM the evening of July 31 if I don’t have a job by then, and it might put an extra spring in my step, but it still does not guarantee I’ll find employment.

And yet the Inner Critic would hold me accountable for that which I cannot control.

But I am finding some success at copying Sudoku puzzles into Second Life. At least I’m doing that much.

God is merciful today

I am not losing my Internet service as abruptly and completely as I had originally thought I would. I still have the Web for right now, and I can keep track of such needful things as my bank balance and the weather, but my email through Insight is gone.

Having the Breckenridge office fax my pay stub from RGIS Inventory to the unemployment office worked to release the benefits they had held there for several weeks, but alas, it was the last of my Tier 1 benefits. No more will come until Congress says so.

The replacement for the late Senator John Byrd of West Virginia turned out to be a Democrat, giving them 60 senators and the ability to override a Republican filibuster. No word yet on whether they’ll make the attempt to extend unemployment benefits.

God has been merciful today, allowing me to get away with adding more time to my prepaid cell phone. When I bought it, the $21.35 I spent appeared immediately in my checking account’s pending queue. I had feared it would be processed ahead of the $20 worth of gasoline and two $3.00 food purchases I had made earlier (larger amounts are processed ahead of smaller ones), and ahead of the unemployment money that was still in the queue (deposits are processed last of all).

The cell phone purchase stayed in the pending queue for an extra day, so I can give myself back the $108 of overdraft charges it would have incurred.

A small paycheck from the U.S. Census appeared in the pending queue today, and the available balance looks good. I still contend that the number in my account called “Available Balance” is a baldfaced lie. PNC Bank should not call a deposit available when their depositing policy effectively keeps it off the books for one more business day. If I can’t use the money, I’d rather not know about it.

In any case, the hard choice I have to make is no longer car versus apartment, but Internet versus apartment, and that’s a slightly easier choice to make.

Two payments for Santander

After crunching some earnings numbers, I called Santander Consumer and scheduled two payments for my car later this month, which should bring the payments all the way up to date by July 28. This makes good on my promise to choose to keep my car and let my Internet and my apartment go where God would have it to go.

This is an important thing to do. Of all my creditors, Santander Consumer was the only one that rang my cell phone as opposed to my home phone, and they rang it prodigiously, roughly once every two hours. I kept my phone turned off most of the time. That had to have hurt when recruiters and employers tried to call me on my cell phone for interviews and was shunted to my voicemail. Now that Santander is for the moment sated, I can keep my cell phone turned on more.

While we are on that subject, I’m happy to report that interviews and offers for interview are going well. My resumé now reflects that I can be reached by email at a free Gmail address, ready to take over when my Internet goes down for nonpayment over the weekend.

Now that it’s fresh on my mind, I better upload that resumé to Google Docs, just to have a readily available spare copy.

The hardest decisions

I don’t know how to tell you about this, or even if I should tell you.

I have your basic American male fear of failure. I would sooner eat aluminum siding than tell you in this WordPress blog of how I have failed miserably. I want to keep my mouth shut. Nobody has to know about this. Nobody wants to know. It would pollute Our Internet to tell of it.

But since there are those who would wonder about me and worry about me, I need to tell about it anyway. I am coming to the hardest decisions I have ever had to make about material possessions and creature comforts and which of these I can afford to keep.

The one that will have the biggest effect on you, my friends, is my Internet service. I cannot afford to keep it. Insight will pull the plug on me in the next few days for nonpayment, and there is nothing I can do about. it.

Another thing that will have a big effect on my locally, is I have come to a decision about my apartment and my car. It’s as plain as the nose on my face I cannot afford both. So, I have chosen to keep my car. I have a feeling I can more easily get somebody to help with shelter than with wheels. I’m not sure if I have made the right choice, choosing car over apartment. I should never have to make such a choice, but I do, and I would feel better once I have charted my course clearly.

By Saturday, I will have done my last work for the U.S. Census. I have not lined up another job to replace it. The unemployment office is having some issues about how much benefits to pay me in light of the inventory job that I work, and I need to fax them a pay stub to prove that I work there. They have held three benefit checks to date. I can’t expect anything from them in the next ten business days.

I’m telling you about this as matter-of-factly as I can, stating only the straight facts. And with that, I must bow out for a moment, and continue to try to do the best I can with what little God has given me.