We, as believers, hold that God is in control. We paste it on our facebooks and on our bumpers. Except for Kris Kristofferson, we don't often ask what we have ever done to deserve the blessings of life. But when things go wrong, we are faced with a dilemma. Unbelievers just say stuff happens and that's life. That was me for a long time. The irony is that I was agnostic during the many years of my life when all was swell. I felt I was living a charmed life...good job, wonderful family, the Chihuahua was housebroken. But I doubted God's existence or, at least, felt there was no way to prove it. But when Whit was her sickest, I never considered that there was no one there to be angry with. We, as believers, can't say stuff just happens. Even if we want to blame satan or the bad choices we are allowed to make, God is ultimately in control and that has to be reckoned in our hearts and minds or we end up with a tear in our sail.
I mentioned in an earlier post that I had become angry with God. I said that it was ok because God is a “big guy”. After reading back over those statements I felt I needed to add a not-so-little footnote that I never lost my fear of God. Now I could take the self-comforting route and fluffify that fear of God into a comparison with the fear of getting blindsided in a pillow fight, or explain that fear with terms like “awe” and “ reverent wonder”. But the bottom line is an element of that Godly fear is because He could revoke my Earth visa any time He pleased in any unpleasing fashion He desired. Yeah, I’m talking about the same God who composed the little birdsongs to comfort me in the morning as I sit on the porch steps lacing my shoes. Good for us that that is not His nature. But if we..if I were to lead someone toward the idea that we somehow had a right to harbor anger toward God, it would be better I have a "millstone tied around my neck and be thrown into the sea".
I'm not shying away from my trust in the God who built me to understand my frustration and hurt. But a tilt in that direction that goes uncorrected will inevitably lead into treacherous waters--not gale swept torrents, but the horse latitudes where driftless ships thirst for a sip of wind. God will not leave us in our anger. But if we drop our sails and paddle hard enough, we may veer from that gentle current.
Last Fall, I was understandably missing a lot of church and had taken a hiatus from teaching Sunday School as it seemed every off weekend I had was spent at the hospital. I just plain played hookie some other times. That made it much easier to stay my heading as I avoided my brothers in Christ who can read me like a bold print banner flying behind a turboprop (Google said they are noisy, so..) We all are blessed with one of those brothers or sisters. Pastor Chris would visit to see how we were doing, but I could always seek cover by tending conversations away from matters of the heart. I did slip once when I quipped that even Jesus felt forsaken. That was cheap. But, then there were his occasional phone calls...maybe once a week. Pastor Chris never pressed, but the short, asking pause he allowed at the end of my scripted responses became something I wished to avoid. Looking back, I am ashamed to admit that my grievance with God may have begun to infect my relationships with all that I identified with God...or at least anyone or anything that might expose my rebellious course. But ,then again, isn't that inevitable? It was rebellion, after all. Rebellion is essentially sin. And rebellion can not, by its nature, be hidden or contained. I tried. I would even flip the radio back over to the "Message" when I got out of the car in case my wife drove it next. But it was cranking "Ozzy's Boneyard" during my drive. Now, I'm not suggesting that climbing aboard "Crazy Train" is going to carry you to hell. But let's face it, Ozzy is the "Prince of darkness". But why, just because I was having an issue with my faith, would the nature of my musical taste change? When we change the nature of our relationship with our Creator, everything changes to some degree. It must. Rebellion, unchecked, can be like a cancer quietly tunneling, invading , from organ to organ.
Thankfully, God is merciful. But I am accountable. I am "of age" as a Christian...as a human being. When I was a child it was a loosely held truth we would not be accountable for our sins until the age of 12. I recall thinking that was kinda unfair since you would be too young to commit most of the fun sin. Bear in mind this was the early '70s . My confessional would have consisted of admitting I raided my buddy's crawfish trap or to changing my "D" to a "B". Yeah, you could actually get away with that back then. But I have come to believe that we all have our own age of accountability. That is a time in our lives when God deals with us through an experience, circumstance or process and we know in our gut we have been given an offer--no... a choice that is personal, spiritual, undeniably eternal. In effect, we choose to serve or rebel as we can no longer live in a spiritual Switzerland. And-- while we are spanning the globe--you may be stationed in sunny Hawaii for a while, but you will inevitably be called to the front, or the front will come to you...see "Pearl Harbor". As in any war, there is carnage, pain, death. But no one loves peace like a weary warrior. And no one loves Heaven like a soul who has been through a little hell. Heaven. It is where all reasoning begins and ends. "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind conceived what God has prepared for those who love Him." It is the purpose we seek in understanding all of our sufferings and triumphs. There is but one strait that leads to it. Lay down your oars, lift your sails and the wind will always guide you...the current will always carry you. And Pastor Chris...thanks for asking.