Saturday, January 13, 2007

"Spirit" -> Life Is But A Breath

Job 14

1 "Man born of woman
is of few days and full of trouble.

2 He springs up like a flower and withers away;
like a fleeting shadow, he does not endure.

Life is but a breath. Life is but a vapor.

As I run head long toward my fifth decade in this life, I am gradually becoming aware that my body is slowly wearing out. I am in "good" shape compared to most of my peers, and they seem to hardly realize how they have been abusing their body. However, regardless of what I take into my system to keep my body going--vitamins, protein, sleep--the boy continues to age. My left eye has a touch of fogginess of vision. My left ear has a bit of tinnnitus. My family is aging before my eyes.

So the question is "what is this life about?"

Yesterday, I came back from a business trip. I got into my car in the airport, and I turned the ignition key. And the car wouldn't turn over.

I couldn't figure out what was the matter. Then as I checked a few things, I found out that I had left my lights on. This in turn had turn the car batteries dead.

So, I got out of the car. The guy beside me had just pulled out. I went to the back of my car, and I found that I had left in jumper cables. Since I had recently moved all the stuff out of my car to pick up our Christmas tree, I was relieved to see that I had the cables.

Now, I saw that somebody was exiting a stall up two slots away. I went to their window, and I asked, "Can you spare 10 minutes to jump my car."

The person and his wife graciously agreed, and because the person had just left the spot beside me, they could actually get to a space to jump my car. If the person had not left, then my car would have been locked in.

In less than 10 minutes, I had my car running.

I have been to the airport many times, and normally I would have never, where I parked my car, had an open slot next to me. It normally would have been very difficult to quickly find somebody willing to jump the car. I could have easily forgotten to have jumper cables in my car. What could have taken hours to solve, only took a few minutes.

As this happened to me, I was profoundly impacted with how "lucky" I was to have all of these events happen to me in perfect order. Yet, I heard the voice of God nudging me. Random luck, in the bailiwick of Kingdom of God, does not exist. Every moment, every breath is dictated by God in some type of a master plan.

I do not understand why the world is like it is. I cringe inside of myself when I see all of the evil that is on the earth. I hurt when I think of the ChaldoAssyrians of Iraq being killed. I wonder when I see that African nations with a strong Islamic influence has little to no AIDS problem. As I look at the world, I cannot explain all of the problems that Christians see.

However, I see a God who is the God of everything, even down to the parking spaces.

I don't even know how to reconcile this from an intellectual perspective. How can God, who allows such tragedy in the world, be concerned about my parking space? Yet, I know that it is true. The same God that may allow a Iraqi Christian to be killed, helps me with jump starting my car.

The only way to deal with this is one word: Faith.

The problem of pain is one of the fundamental questions that has plagued the Christian since the beginning of our Faith. The Bible is not silent in the answer to this question. It answers the question of pain very clearly: I will give you no answer.

When Job cries out in his pain, and finally the Lord comes to answer him, the only answer is the following: "You don't know what is going on."

God almighty simply goes on to explain the extent of his power. In essence, God says "You don't have the right to question me because my ways are above your ways."

Jesus, the part of the Godhead incarnate, also gave the answer in Luke:

Luke 13

1 Now there were some present at that time who told Jesus about the Galileans whose blood Pilate had mixed with their sacrifices. 2 Jesus answered, "Do you think that these Galileans were worse sinners than all the other Galileans because they suffered this way? 3 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish. 4 Or those eighteen who died when the tower in Siloam fell on them—do you think they were more guilty than all the others living in Jerusalem? 5 I tell you, no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish."

Jesus says, "no answer." However, he calls out that to focus on pain and death is the wrong issue. We are to focus on our eternal state, not our temporary state. Jesus will not be dragged into a conversation on fairness. He only points toward one thing: There is eternal security.

The question is not so much "why do people see different levels of pain?"

The real question is "Why does God put us on this earth at all?"

I never hear sermons on this question, but I have been mulling it over my brain.

And it is this question that we will look at at a later time.

3 comments:

tmm said...

Ok... this is an amazing blog, and I regret not reading much of it earlier. I need to get back to doing math but will be reading the posts in the near future. Also... did you ever get the green tea? I tried to get the best stuff I could... it was either get 100 grams of really good stuff or a billion grams of mediocre stuff.
- Timu chin

tmm said...

Ok... I actually read this post now (when I commented earlier, I had only read some of the one on Genesis 1).

Yeah, I'm not going to try to answer that. It has not made any sense to me either, I have sort of kept track of the crazy things God does for me. And, it extends to the small things. And I get angry sometimes (not advocating this), because he provides for these crazy small things, but he doesn't provide for what I percieve to be the biggest needs in my own life.

But when I keep thinking about it, I realize that situations exist where terrible things happen to people that love God. And I'm like... "Ok, why did this good thing happen to me, when that terrible thing happened to them?"

And Job sort of asked the same question, but from the perspective of the guy who was recieving the infliction. And his friends were saying "well, you probably did something wrong. Or, you deserve it anyway, because nobody's perfect, so don't complain." And in the end, the only answer Job gets is... "Job - don't question me." But that's not the only answer we, the reader get. We got a birds eye view of the situation. God never told Job about Satan testing him, but he told the reader, so maybe what the book of Job is saying is that when things don't make sense to us, we are like Job, and if someone had the "book of Theo" or "the book of the Sudanese Christians" we would have the birds eye view and understand what was going on. But we don't, so all we know is God's response to Job.

Theologic said...

Tim-chin,

You found my blog! Amazing. I do it just for myself.

a. No green tea. Ah, I am disappointed. I hope it comes.

b. My thought about this earth will be covered in a later blog posting. :>)