Life’s Greatest Ironies

March 17, 2023


Ironies sometime cause me to smile. Like this sign at a mall maintenance shop. “We can repair anything. Please knock hard on the door. The bell doesn’t work.” Ha! Well, repair it. You can repair anything.

You’re walking down a street and you see escalators taking customers up to a fitness center. That’s irony. Or a group of 25 young people walking toward you with t-shirts that say, “Be different.” Imagine your surprise when a large van from The Republican Newpaper plows into your house. On the side of the van are the words, “Where the news hits home!”

A friend sent me a few ironic pictures. One is of a beaver chewing on a wooden sign that says, “No feeding.” Another is a doggy obedience training certificate on the living room floor, chewed into tiny little pieces. Ha! Still another was a billboard. “Phone out of order? Give us a call.” Uh…well, I can’t. My phone is out of order.

Sweden’s famous Ice Hotel has a smoke detector. And the most shoplifted book in America? It’s the Bible.

The Bible is steeped in irony. Sometimes it’s subtle, always it’s a reminder that God is at work. Joseph and his brothers sell him into slavery, leading to his promotion to the number two position in Egypt and their eventual freedom from famine. In the midst of disaster, God is still at work.

In 1 Samuel 5, the Philistines capture the Ark of the Covenant and place it in the Temple of their god Dagon, who ends up prostrate before the Ark. They give poor Dagon a reset only to find him bowing before the Ark, his head and hands broken off.

The Israelites are forbidden to intermarry with Gentiles, but a Canaanite prostitute named Rahab is declared righteous and joins the lineage of Jesus.

Go looking for ironies in Scripture and they seem to never end.

The creator of the universe becomes a creature. The Lord of all is laid in a manger. The blind see, the lame walk, the weak are strong, the rejected are accepted. His disciples abandon Him, but He never abandons them. The one who is mocked on that cross will be worshipped for all eternity because we don’t get what we deserve. We are offered the greatest irony of all: grace.

The next time you encounter a smoke detector at an ice hotel or some overwhelming and impossible challenge, remind yourself that the master of ironies knows, and He can one day redeem our challenges, perhaps even turn them into delightful surprises.

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