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Friday, June 11, 2010

Lest I forget My God

Today didn't start out so good. I discovered that my bike had a flat when I was ready to go to work this morning. I forgot the shorts I wanted to wear during the day after I got to work. The check my wife had given me to deposit needed her signature so that I had to catch her before she got all the way to work. (She works fifty miles away.) I spend Fridays working on my sermon. I had several phone calls. I didn't even get to write this blog until now.

Each of these things are minor when placed alongside some of the horrible things that have happened to people today. Some people had their spouses leave them, some people lost their jobs today, some people just learned of an terminal illness. The things in my world are merely inconveniences. I had an expectation of what this day would look like. Its appearance is nothing like I hoped it would be.

Did these things happen because of bad karma, fate, bad luck or divine intervention? Do they have any purpose at all? How do I recognize the events which have a purpose? I am not sure that everything has a purpose. I know that I chose to wear a white knit shirt today. I don't think there was any purpose in my mind when I chose it. It seemed to be the closest shirt within my reach when I went into my closet. I suppose you could say it chose me. I don't think everything has a purpose nor do I think I will know the purpose of everything that does.

Yet, there are certainly times when unplanned events do have a purpose. I did not plan to meet my wife on the day we met. It certainly had a purpose. It was part of a divine plan to bring us together. It was God who endorsed the meeting. I am forever grateful.

Do I recognize the good things that God brings but fail to recognize the bad things which may ultimately create more good? Yes, of course. I want to acknowledge that God is good and can see the good things as His doing. I don't want to see the bad things in the same light. I want to act like God has nothing to do with these things. But how can I say that God has enough control to bring about good things and not enough control to stop the bad things from happening? He is God, right?

If God causes the rain to fall on the just and the unjust, He must have a reason for the rain.

Unfortunately, God allows me to go toward hell when I choose to. He leaves me alone when I want to be left alone. He ceases to speak when I give Him a deaf ear. I should expect to have some measure of bad things happen anyway. Everyone is in this boat together. We all have good and bad happen. The difference between those who know Him and don't is that those who know Him don't have to go through these things alone. We can cry out His name like we once called out for our mothers when we were afraid of the dark.  We can look to Him and be delivered from those things which haven't gone like we expected.

I think this is the purpose of some of the things that happen. It makes us remember Him. Our "not enoughs" and "unexpected failings" cause us to call out to Him. We do not have so much that we fail to need Him. We won't forget the One whom we are dependent upon. We will cry out to the One who can straighten out the crooked events in our lives. We will bless the One who can bless us. We will forget those we don't need.

And we need God. All the time. Even when we don't realize it. So, sometimes things happen so we won't forget.

11 “Take care lest you forget the Lord your God by not keeping his commandments and his rules and his statutes, which I command you today, 12  lest, when you have eaten and are full and have built good houses and live in them, 13 and when your herds and flocks multiply and your silver and gold is multiplied and all that you have is multiplied, 14  then your heart be lifted up, and you forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery, 15 who led you through the great and terrifying wilderness, with its fiery serpents and scorpions and thirsty ground where there was no water, who brought you water out of the flinty rock, 16 who fed you in the wilderness with manna that your fathers did not know, that he might humble you and test you, to do you good in the end. 17 Beware lest you say in your heart, ‘My power and the might of my hand have gotten me this wealth.’ 18 You shall remember the Lord your God, for it is he who gives you power to get wealth, that he may confirm his covenant that he swore to your fathers, as it is this day.
Deut 8:11-18 (ESV)

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