Let’s imagine that we have an air cannon that is able to shoot projectiles at each other, like the t-shirt cannons seen at sporting events. What do you think would happen if two of these air cannons were aimed exactly at one another and launched two billiard balls at the same time? If they were actually perfectly aligned, I’d expect the two hard spheres to bounce off one another and head right back toward their respective launch points.
What if, instead of billiard balls, we launched two spheres of Play-Doh? In this case, I’d expect them to stick together. No rebounding!
These two cases approximately represent elastic (billiard balls) and inelastic (Play-Doh) collisions in physics. In an elastic collision, there is no net loss in kinetic energy due to the collision. In an inelastic collision, on the other hand, kinetic energy is lost when it is transferred to heat, sound, or deformation during the impact.
When you were born, you were launched on a collision course with God. The problem is that sin misaligned your air cannon. Sin points us in the wrong direction and we miss God’s loving embrace. The good news is that God provided a solution in the God-man of Jesus. Here’s how Paul describes it in his letter to the church in Rome (Message translation).
But in our time something new has been added. What Moses and the prophets witnessed to all those years has happened. The God-setting-things-right that we read about has become Jesus-setting-things-right for us. And not only for us, but for everyone who believes in him. For there is no difference between us and them in this. Since we’ve compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us, God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ. (Romans 3:23 MSG)
So where does this leave us as we hurtle through life? Are we a misaligned billiard ball heading off into darkness or a soon-to-be-hugged-and-never-let-go Play-Doh sphere? Ultimately, the choice is ours. We either admit our sin and choose Jesus, or we choose ourselves, our own desires, sin.
May I encourage you? Your circumstances do not define you. I don’t care who you’ve been or what you’ve done. You are loved and accepted. Humble yourself, collide with God through the one and only Jesus-path. You will stick and your life will never again be the same!