Saturday, 23 November 2013

Sometimes we get the cherries . . . sometimes we get the pips . . .

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 When I was a child we were taught at school that the earth was whirling on it's axis.  My teachers and my textbooks taught me that if a person was to stand on the equator, they would be rotating along with the earth at 1,000 miles an hour, which is mind boggling.  I believed it back then . . . and I believe it now.  That fact would be true about each of us.

What's amazing about it though . . . is, it never really seems like we are moving at all.  The only time I get the sense of any movement at all is on a windy day with a blue sky filled with clouds, and then the clouds seem to be blowing past, but still . . . it seems that the clouds are moving, not I. 

In my childhood I was also taught that we have a Heavenly Father . . . God . . .who rules over all things and who sent His only begotten Son in the flesh to earth, and that Jesus, who died and rose again, and who ascended up into Heaven, will return to earth again one day.  This I also believed back then . . . and I believe it now.

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And yet . . . when bad things happen in the world and wicked people seem to be in control, I can totally understand why unbelievers would scoff at those of us who do believe . . .  and question why we would believe in such things.   Why do bad things happen to good people . . . why God would allow things like Tsunami's and Typhoons and Earthquakes . . .  why do children die, and bad people live . . . why does anything bad happen in the world at all?

There was a letter on just that subject in our weekly local paper this week.  It's writer was questioning the existence of a God who could allow such things to happen and not do anything about it and stated they didn't want any religious clap trap response about trials making us stronger, etc. etc.

Todd could not help himself.  He had to respond.  Todd himself is no stranger to sorrow.  He lost one of his sons as an infant and anyone who has ever had to lose a child knows how very difficult that is.  He remembers asking his pastor at the time, why . . . and not getting any answer other than it being the mysteries of God, or his son being too good to stay in this world, etc.  Religious clap trap.

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The truth is we live in a fallen world, an imperfect world, as beautiful as it may seem in places and as good as life may seem at times.  When Adam and Eve left the Garden of Eden because they had fallen, they were sent out into an imperfect world, and as such were subject to all the frailties and shortcomings of an imperfect world and the agency of it's inhabitants.  Yes . . . it is strengthening and it is a learning experience, and yes, the God who created all that we see and experience, could stop any of our trials at any given time, and we could all lead charmed lives where nothing bad ever happened.  But where would the value be in that?

How would we ever know joy, if we had not already experienced sorrow?  How could we taste the sweet without having tasted the bitter?   How could we serve others if there was never anyone who needed our help?  How could we develop faith . . . if nothing bad ever happened and all of our dreams came true at the snap of a finger?  How very easy it would be to believe in and take for granted our God, if  . . . every time a person was about to be hit by a bus, a big hand from the sky swooped down and gathered them out of harm's way . . .

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Yes, there is great suffering in the world, and people die and bad things happen, and it's not always fair and it's not always just . . . but I believe that with every tear which is shed by humanity, a thousand more are shed by our God.  That He sees the little sparrow fall and meets it with a tender heart . . . and that He knows and feels our pain, and our sorrow, and our joy and bliss.  And that when we reach out to others with a helping hand, or a prayer . . . He rejoices at the love we have for others and at our compassion and at our conviction to serve.

As a parent, I know how very much it hurt my heart when my children toddled about learning to walk and fell and hurt themselves.  There was a part of me that wanted to cushion them and carry them around so that they would never hurt themselves . . . a part of me which wanted to keep them forever within my safe embrace, and never let them go . . . but as a parent I also understood that I had to let them go . . . so that they could learn and grow and become, and that . . . yes, it would be hard and yes they would sometimes be terribly hurt and frustrated and sad . . . and that life would not always be fair for them or just . . . but I also knew that life would also be good and beautiful in equal measure, and I tried to give them the proper training wheels and guidance and tools that they would need to go out and be the best that they could be . . . strength of faith and conviction that was their own . . . and the spirit of hope, which lies within each of us.  

I can remember when I was five years old and my father was teaching me how to ride my bicycle.  He patiently ran up and down the slope of the back garden with me, holding onto the back of my bicycle seat, as I peddled my little heart out, safe and secure in the knowledge that he was holding on.   He had to let go eventually though . . . and even though he knew I might fall, he did let go . . .  because he knew I would never truly learn to ride my bicycle unless he did.   And I wobbled once I discovered he wasn't holding on, but I stayed up right and then had the confidence to go on and keep trying, all by myself.  It wasn't long before I was riding my bicycle confidently up and down the street and keeping up with the best of them, but it would never have happened unless my father had let go . . .

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God is no different.   He does not cause the Tsunami's or the Earthquakes or Typhoons . . . and just as we could have scooped our babies up and not allowed them to fall and hurt themselves but didn't . . . He will not scoop us up and not allow us to be hurt, because He knows it is what we need  . . . He will not stop our sorrows, but He will help us to get through them.  We can all experience the "peace that passeth all understanding."  We can feel the Lord's grace and peace in each of our trials, and we can experience miracles through faith, despite the worst that life can and will throw at us.  We can have hope.

"Though sin seems to triumph 
and wrong conquers right,
Though lies can put justice to flight,
God's truth is eternal.
His word shows His might,
And He will bring justice to light."

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Baking in The English Kitchen today . . . White Chocolate Glazed Jewel Tarts.  Deliciously simple!

Have a wonderful Saturday!

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