Sunday, March 19, 2006

Wandering around the blogosphere

I have a link to Erin Wilson's blog on the right hand side of this page. I found my way to her blog through the comments she posted on Pernell Goodyear's old blog. I have found my way to numerous other blogs with interesting posts by following the link lists on other folks' blogs (Dave Hamilton, who I found through Al Baker, has one of the most interesting blogs). What I have found on many of these blogs is a real openness about their lives. In a number of cases, I haven't met these folks, but I know if I ever meet them, I'll go in knowing a fair bit about them.

This is something I am not good at. The transparency presented by some of these folks (Erin in general and, of late, Pernell and Margie Goodyear) impresses me. I know there are some who would think of it as a cry for attention (oh, look at me, I've had problems!!), or maybe they're making some stuff up to get attention, but I like to think of myself as being not QUITE that cynical. However, I am really not that good at sharing things with others, and here's the reason why....not many bad things have ever happened to me. Most of the pain (and there isn't much) has usually been inflicted by me on others.

I am not easy to live with. Short-tempered, hyperactive, opinionated. Always focused on getting what I want, regardless of how my wants affect others. God has done a LOT of work on me to get me where I am today.

More later (maybe).

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

A question of faith

A month or so ago, I read this post on Tim Bailey's blog. It really got my mind moving and I have spent a lot of thought time chewing on it.

A long time ago, I heard a speaker (I want to attribute it to Steve Baldry, my first Pastor at Philpott) talk about the dangers of blind faith. When things happen that make us question our faith, we should be unafraid to go to God and ask why. Why does AIDS exist, why do tsunamis and earthquakes happen, why was so-and-so's child stillborn? For that matter, why did my children spend a combined 17 weeks in NICU wards when others, who have no love for/belief in/hatred of God have healthy children, strong marriages, great friendships, all the trappings of a good life?

Each Christian has to find the answers to this in their own way, so I thought I'd share my position.

I once heard that it was easy to praise God when things are going well, but it's difficult to entirely trust things to Him when the struggles happen. I find it's the opposite with me. I get really complacent when things are going well. In fact, it's those times, I find, where I rely more on myself and my abilities rather than trusting God. This is where it all falls down and God gives me a stark reminder (whether deeply personal or something happening elsewhere that affects me) that I need to go to Him EVERY DAY for solace and sufficiency.

I do believe that God is loving and benevolent. He HAS to be. He created me. He blessed me with a beautiful wife, awesome children, great friends and family and a good job that allows us to live comfortably. This doesn't even take into account the other amazing, simpler things He has provided in His Creation (a sunset, a rainbow, all of nature, the stars in the sky, clouds). However, He has also proven, time and again, that He is a jealous God (read the First Commandment) whose disappointment over our failures as humans is so great He allows none to approach Him except through His Son, whose sacrifice pays for our failings (sin).

I liken it to when, as a child, something bad happens to a friend. We don't understand what happened, but we instinctively know that we can go to our parents (or some other trusted person) to both discuss things with them and be comforted by them. Same thing here. We don't understand why God allows bad things to happen to people who, we think, have done nothing to deserve the fate visited upon them. But we can go to God in prayer and through the Bible and cry out that we don't understand. But God will reveal His will and reasons for what happened (in His own time, of course) and will give us immediate comfort.

You see, God, I believe, wants to be my sufficiency, the first place I go to every day. He wants to be first in every decision I make, everything I say and do. When I begin to rely on myself, trust to my own thinking, my own ideas, my own interpretation of right and wrong, God eventually does something to shake me up.

Perhaps, when God sees His children getting further and further astray, maybe not being sensitive to His call in specific lives, He allows something massive to happen, the enormity of which is sometimes beyond us. This could be God's way of telling us "You're drifting away from Me. Come back to Me and I will give you comfort". Or, maybe, God's intent in impacting individual(s) through specific events is to help clarify how He is calling them to serve Him in this world.

It should be no secret to anyone that evil exists here and will, until Christ's return. I believe that God is using the evil to remind us to keep Him first, stay by His side, keep serving Him while we are here running the race of Life and keep our eyes on the finish line, where He waits to take us to a place where there are no disasters, no illnesses, no stress and no temptations.

Conversation is welcome and encouraged. I love to read/discuss other's points of views.