“We are not intended to understand life. If I can understand a thing and can define it, I am its master. Logic and reason are always on the hunt for definition, and anything that can’t be defined is apt to be defied…” Oswald Chambers
I don’t believe Christians – even real good ones – are exempt from suffering. Neither do I believe that God plans all our trials for some sovereign purpose of his. I’m not saying that he never providentially prevents our sufferings or that he never miraculously intervenes to alleviate them. There’s no doubt that he does those things – sometimes. In the following post or two (or three) I propose to illustrate my point with a simple metaphor.
I was stuck in some jaw-clenching urban traffic recently. It looked more like a parking lot than a street and I had places to go and people to see. The traffic is always bad in the City. Just in case you ever visit, that’s what we call San Francisco – never “Frisco” or “San Fran.” But this day the traffic was beyond bad. It wasn’t just that everyone in the City decided at the same time to take the same route to Target. There was something more going up ahead. “What’s the hold up here?” I screamed loud enough to make own my ears ring, but with all my windows closed, no one answered back. I’m not usually one of those manic horn honkers, but the connection between my brain and my honking hand was temporarily severed. I joined in the fruitless, albeit emotionally satisfying, chorus of horns, as though the guy ahead of each of us were at fault for the jam up. Continue reading →
As you can see this is the second piece of a five-part essay. If you’d rather read it all at once, you can find it in barneywiget.com
Mother Teresa told of a time when she spoke at a conference on world hunger in Bombay. “I was supposed to go to that meeting and I lost the way. Suddenly I came to that place, and right in front of the door to where hundreds of people were talking about food and hunger, I found a dying man, I took him out and I took him home. He died there. He died of hunger. And the people inside were talking about how in fifteen years we will have so much food, so much this, so much that, and that man died. See the difference?”‘ Continue reading →
As you can see this is one piece of a five-part essay. If you’d rather read it all at once, you can find it in barneywiget.com.
“I don’t trust Christians,” said Pascal. “They know too much about God.” Of course he spoke sarcastically, since he knew that what we think we know we most likely don’t know at all, especially since what there is to know about God is too big for our small minds. It was probably to our small mindedness – claiming to know more than we know – that the philosopher objected. Continue reading →
It began to seem that his blessings were more randomly than uniformly distributed than I had once believed. The “God-always-does-this-and-not-that” approach to which I had previously ascribed didn’t seem nearly as valid as it once had. I used to think that he distributed blessings at more predictable increments along our path. Now it seems like he tosses them out like dice. He doesn’t seem so nearly as “in control” as I had once believed. That’s why I call him the “Sometimes God” and claim that he’s “In control but not controlling.”
He’s the God who watched as one apostle was beheaded, and then shortly afterward, rescued another from the same fate (Acts 12). What’s up with that?! I guess if I knew a conclusive answer to that, I wouldn’t be me – I’d be him, and I’m pretty sure that’s not the case.I’m not even a very good me, let alone a good him.
Anymore it’s not often that I ask him “why” he does what he does. To the why question he usually gives me answers that all pretty much sound like “Trust me.” Over time I’ve become more content not knowing why. I don’t need all the answers as long as I know he has them. I guess I could say that I’m a bit more at ease with his decisions these days. Continue reading →
[This is the second of fourteen passages that sustained me in the while in the dark.]
Though He slay me, yet will I trust him. Job 13:15
Besides Psalms, Job was my favorite book on which to muse while inside the deepest section of the tunnel.
I like to think of Job as the Bible’s “Biggest Loser.” He lost a lot of stuff in a very little time (his kids, his servants, his health…). If you’ve read the book, you know that he experienced emotional pendulum swings of intercontinental proportions. One moment he declared, “I know my Redeemer lives,” at another he moaned, “I wish I were never born.” I guess he was human after all. Continue reading →
[Another random selection from the memoir I’m finishing up…]
We ignore the ambiguity that accompanies our finitude, and thus we claim to know what we can’t know. We reduce the unfathomable complexity of the cosmos to the capacity of our finite minds. When we do this, we invariably end up blaming God or indicting victims. Gregory A. Boyd
Any snappy explanation of suffering you come up with will be horses**t. Anne Lamott
If you know me, you know that I like words. I like ones that you can find in the dictionary; but when I can’t find a real word that says what I’ve got on my mind, I like to make up some of my own. I call them, “Wigetisms.” Continue reading →