Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Pulling the cloth off the table

Are you familiar with the magic trick of pulling the cloth off the table and nothing moves, breaks or falls off the table?  Great attention getter....if you can pull it off (no pun intended...okay...just a tad).  The trick is similar to juggling.  For the experienced practitioner,  the challenge is how many items can you juggle and/or how many different items can you juggle.  For the less experienced, the challenge is: what can you afford to drop.  I jokingly tell people at work: "I can juggle, the question is do you want the Fostoria Crystal or the Corelle Ware to hit the floor?".

I think we sometime view our Christianity as a juggling act or tablecloth pulling act.  If we don't perform the trick correctly and we break something, we want to yell at the magician who taught us the trick.  I understand the physics and science of juggling and tablecloth pulling but I don't try either trick with breakable objects.  I'm not that skilled.  I have a great deal of respect and appreciation for those who can perform either trick.

Christian life is very much a juggling act: worshiping a magnificent, unbounded God, getting "pulled" off the table by life; slapped in the face by illness, disease, or death; dreams crushed or delayed.  Some might think it offensive to question God about life events such as a father being taken from a daughter; death of a spouse due to an aggressive, terminal illness; a failed crop that was supposed to provide financial benefit.

 I do not have a rock solid, verifiable, concrete answer to why "bad" things happen to Christians other than Christians live in a sinful world.  Yes, I know that might be considered a cheesy, easy out answer.  What I do know, by personal experience, is God is always with you listening to your heart, mind, and voice.  God doesn't take offensive when you question why.  Think about this for a moment: God freely gave His Son to die a horrible, painful death for His creation.  Don't you think God is touched by our illness, suffering, and losing a loved one?

Yes, it is difficult to wake up day after day when your life has been touched by illness, suffering, death, or broken dreams.  Acknowledging who has allowed you to wake up and have another day of life makes getting up possible.  I believe one of the greatest witnesses a Christian has is their response to life's challenges.  Do you get angry and ticked off and then stay that way?  Do you get upset, yell and scream, and then turn to God for guidance, support, and endurance?

There a two women, Mrs. T and Mrs. N, in my church who are, to me, examples of asking God for guidance, support and endurance.  Mrs. T has been in remission from breast cancer for several years but  the cancer has recently returned in her bones.  Mrs. T always seems to have a pleasant spirit even on her "bad" days when the cancer is bothering her.  My thought is: if Mrs. T can get up each day and present a pleasant spirit in spite of the pain and disease, so can I.

The other woman, Mrs. N, has lupus and is in some degree of pain most of the time.  She is also an encouragement when I look at her: she always seems to have a smile on her face or presents a pleasant spirit through her pain.  Mrs. N causes me to view my problems as insignificant compared to daily being in pain.

From listening to their testimony, I know each has a security that God is in control and will take care of them either by providing them the strength to daily participate in life or provide them a painless life with Him.  I'm sure, based on human nature, each has their days when they get discouraged and feel they have been "pulled off the table".  Their pleasant spirit seems to indicate they don't "stay on the floor".  Instead, each asks God for strength to live another day, witness to another person, love their spouse one more day and give a kind word to a stranger.  Last but not least each acknowledges God is in control and is the daily provider of their strength, endurance and life.

1 comment:

Dirty Butter said...

We DO lie in a sinful world, so it's never surprised me that bad things happen to good people. After all, this is no Garden of Eden!!

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