It occurred to me, while we watched Evan Almighty with friends last night, that God really likes to mess up lives. In the movie, God said he does it because he loves his children.
Ok, before you have some crazy knee jerk reaction and burn me at the stake, think about it...how did Abraham do? This elderly man (75 year old) was told to leave his comfortable home and secure job and go-no map, no destination, just God's command. Moses? Well, this fugitive has to go back to the place where he committed a murder and deliver God's order to the leader of a nation. Jeremiah? God told him that he needn't sweat public speaking; he NEEDED to worry about what God was going to do to him if he didn't obey. Paul? He gets blinded, stoned (no, not that kind-the kind where the big rocks knock ya out and break your cheekbone), thrown out of towns, imprisoned every other week, and eventually executed. Evan? Instead of being the big man in congress that he expected, he gets abnormal hair growth, stalked by Morgan Freeman (AKA Al Mighty) and becomes the joke of the week on TV, nearly losing job, family, sanity.
Somewhere along the line, people came up with this idea (I assume people did it since I wasn't there but I have heard stories about it) that if you accept Jesus into your heart you will live happily ever after. And, maybe some will...if they don't meet up with the God of the universe. They will just go thru their pious motions and visit their Christian dentist where they read their Christian books in the waiting room and have a fish on their car and possibly sponsor a child in a third world country (wouldn't want them to get too close) and maybe tithe (tho that can be so Old Testament and Jesus is the New Covenant so we can justify not doing that, too) and never purposely come into contact with anyone outside their Christian huddle.
Hmmm, do I sound cranky?
It just doesn't seem like God asks us our opinion for what the definition of "right" or "good " is. Sure, I can say everything in my life has turned out good, even if it felt or really seemed bad at the time. Does it have to be so painful? And, what about the things that will not be ok, ever, on this side of heaven? Illness, death, loss? Sometimes I have to remind myself several times an hour what the word sovereignty means. Most days I try not to think about it at all.
And I don't get this idea that becoming a Christian brings Pollyanna sunshiny days. Jesus loves me, sure, but this isn't a fairy tale. We know the story ends with His victory, but there is a lot between the title page and The End. Did we miss the part where Christ died a brutal death for the likes of us goofballs? Did we skip the section where he told his followers to take up their own cross? That we must die to live? And that is just the stuff in the Bible. Who knows, well, He knows, what else He has planned.
We should be uncomfortable as followers of Christ, if that is what we are trying to do anyway.
And this is as convicting to me as it may be an accusation to someone else.
I want a new job. Maybe I am in the wrong field altogether, I think. It is too hard to be the person I want to be at work because there is so much negativity. I am misunderstood. There is too much pressure. I am tired of struggling. I am whiny. Who cares if I can do good where things are good?! Isn't the point to do good when wrong is done to you, to bring light where there is darkness?
Would I like the easier, softer way? Yep. I am guilty of being a whimp. Still I know that in the hard times, in the uncertain times that there is a strength found, a connection to God, that I find when I have nothing to rely on but Him-even if I appreciate it only after reaching the other side of the pain. It isn't that things are "bad." I believe my Father is working on me, growing me, loving me. My life is exciting and full. I know I am blessed, but the pain still knocks the wind out of me at times. My knees sometimes weaken in fear and grief, but I never walk alone. And I know there is More. More to live, more to love, more to grieve, more to explore, more to learn, more of Him.
I chuckled when Evan whimpered, "Love me less," but I know that is not for me. "Love me!" I yell at the heavens, knowing Father already does, but buckling up all the same.