Choices
The Big Picture Part of the point for my whole ministry is to make observations based on lessons that I draw from every day experiences; and to point out to everyone that God puts lessons all around us that we can learn from if we see them. I thought I saw what would have been a nice lesson today but it didn’t work out that way. There were a few of us sorting out craft items and getting ready for the kids Christmas party last night. One of our group had her grand daughter with her, Brylee who is maybe 2 or 3 years old. To keep her occupied her grandmother brought her a nice big fat coloring book, the kind that didn’t interest me when I was 2 or 3 years old but does now that I’m 51 because I feel the need to color pictures now and then. I probably should be concerned about that but unless I start wanting some blocks to play with I won’t get too alarmed. Anyway, I was sitting diagonally across the table and didn’t have my glasses on and I watched her open it to a nice, big picture of a poinsettia with a ribbon around it. I was immediately interested because it had such possibilities with the colors that could have been used. As most kids her age do, she grabbed the first crayon within reach and started coloring away. Even though I knew what was going to happen I was horrified to watch her scribble all over the page with brown. What could have been a symphony of reds and greens had quickly before my eyes become a big glob of brown.  Our Bible study group the night before had been talking about Jonah, about anger, and how we get mad at God because He does and doesn’t do that we think He should or shouldn’t do about this or that. I saw a parallel here and thought it would make a nice article; I wanted to draw a comparison between the picture of the pathetic poinsettia and our failure to see the dynamics of the divine diagram. Ok, it’s a silly word play but lesson is still there. I don’t know if you’re familiar with Jonah or not but he was a guy that I relate to. To make the story short and simple, God told Jonah to go tell his worst enemies that He (God) was going to give them one last chance to change their ways or He would destroy them. Jonah said No, God said yes and 3 days later Jonah emerges as fish puke a little more receptive. So he went and delivered the message to the bad guys hoping they wouldn’t listen so they would get smacked. They did listen and he got mad that they got off just like that. That’s all we know about Jonah but it’s enough.  Jonah spent a lot of time mad at God because he didn’t understand and didn’t try to. That reminds me of me, I’ve spent a lot of time mad at God because He doesn’t run the universe the way I would if I was in charge. He is after all, God. He is in command of every atom of everything. He can ignite a sun or snuff it out with a single word. Time and space obey Him. Storms stop raging just because He says “be quiet.” Even death, the ultimate enemy that man has never nor will ever defeat is subject to His rule. So why did He let my son die? Why couldn’t He have just told one angel to be in one place for one second in time and counteract the laws of inertia for one second; one second, one miserable second that would have kept my dad from being killed in a car accident? Why couldn’t He just rearrange a tiny molecule of DNA that would have kept my wife from crying at night because her arthritis hurts so badly. Why does He allow armies to rage rampant and kill millions and yet allow millions of children die of abuse and hunger? Why did He allow his best friend John to die and yet allow Hitler to live? Why? I don’t have the answer, and that’s a problem. We as a race always seem to need to know the answer to everything. I, and I guess almost all of us think that we could run the universe better if we were in charge. But how could I explain quantum mechanics to the little girl sitting there coloring? Even if I gave her the complete explanation (assuming I knew it) she couldn’t understand. She isn’t ready to understand. Later when she’s a teenager she will probably have all the answers, or at least think she does. All she can do at this point is completely trust her parents to get her through a day. There are a lot of things we don’t and can’t understand; anyone not believing that should try reading the book of Job and see if they can answer the questions that God puts to us. We should just trust that God has a plan and is in control. We should accept that He has lines for us to stay in and has given us all the necessary crayons. We should but we don’t. Nope, we don’t stay in the lines and we don’t use the right colors. We don’t follow the rules and we don’t make the right choices then we get mad at Him when things end up being a mess. Every single bad thing that has befallen humanity is due to someone’s bad choices. Even the arthritis that plagues my wife is because of a choice, not hers certainly, but it was due to a choice. From the second the first two people chose to not stay in the lines the whole picture was corrupted. From the second Eve bit into the fruit all of creation was tainted. I don’t know why God couldn’t have just fixed that problem somehow then and there, but I probably will someday. Someday, but not until we get home, to heaven, we’ll understand. We have that in writing: Now we see things imperfectly as in a cloudy mirror, but then we will see everything with perfect clarity. All that I know now is partial and incomplete, but then I will know everything completely, just as God now knows me completely. (1 Corinthians 13:12)  For now, we have to just trust Him, stay in the lines and use the right choices. We have to trust Him to get us through a day, a lifetime, and sometimes a second.  Understanding isn’t necessary even though we think it is, trust is necessary. It would have been a nice article but there was a problem. When I had my glasses on and saw the page from the right perspective I realized that what she had colored brown wasn’t a poinsettia, it was a football.  It would have been a nice article too.
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