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June 25, 2018 – For Tony V

What I read today

Numbers 1-2; Psalm 59; Isaiah 59; Luke 15; Philippians 2

Sometimes it’s easy to believe that we worship a nameless, faceless God.  Especially in times of darkness.  I read a post from a friend of mine from High School.  He’s got terminal cancer and is in a lot of pain.  He mentioned another person he knew from high school who recently lost her son and brother.  Both of them are wondering where God is.  They don’t understand why bad things have happened to them.  The truth is, the things both of them are going through are worse than awful, and I don’t know why God is allowing either of them to go through it.  It makes no sense to me either.

After I read his posts, I began my reading for the day.

If you have a few minutes, read Luke chapter 15.

The story of the prodigal son. Life’s going great for him.  He’s got money, he’s traveling, he’s partying.  Then life decides to punch him right in the mouth.  He wakes up one day, and the money’s gone.  He can’t get a job, so he ends up working in a dead-end job.  Then a famine strikes.  Now he’s struggling just to feed himself.

As I read Luke 15 a few things struck me.

  1. There will always be pain and suffering on this earth.  We live in a world of sin, disease, death, and disappointment.  It will never go away.  All you have to do is watch the news for a few hours, and you’ll see pain and anguish that is unimaginable.
  2. I’m not God.  I don’t understand why he does what he does.  I don’t know why he just doesn’t snap his fingers and bring us up to be with him.  I don’t understand why he allows countries like Guatemala to be so decrepit that people would willingly choose to walk across the entire length of Mexico to come to the US.  I don’t understand why he’d allow despots like Kim Jong Un to exist.  I don’t know why he gave my daughter and I diabetes.  I don’t get why he allows people to get cancer, Alzheimer’s or other insidious diseases.  He could end all of this right now. But for some reason, he chooses not to, and in all honesty, I don’t understand why.
  3. Maybe the reason God is choosing not to end it all today is that he’s patiently allowing more people to come to him.
    • Jesus says that Heaven rejoices over one sinner who turns to Jesus.  It could be he’s just being patient with people and giving them more time.
    • Jesus compares God to a gracious father who hands blessings out to his sons.  One of them takes those blessings and squanders them.  In spite of that when he sees his wandering son coming back to him in humiliation, he runs to him and embraces him.  He celebrates his return with great joy!
  4. Maybe he’s pointing us to a better place that won’t have diseases, famine, pain, and suffering.
  5. All I can really do is understand that God is real and he cares for each and every person.  He loves us and cares for us even when we are going through the darkest of times.  We don’t understand, and maybe we won’t understand this side of heaven.

To my friend in Iowa who’s suffering through cancer.  Maybe God is giving those of us who’ve known you for years more time to be with you. Perhaps he’s blessing those of us who’ve known you.  It could be that God is reminding each of us who’ve seen you on those crutches since childhood, to one more time marvel watching you overcome yet another obstacle with your smile and joy that you’ve always had since we were in grade school.

You’ve earned the right to question, doubt and yes even complain.  You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t feel angry and have doubts.  If the majority of the people on earth had gone through half of what you’ve endured in your life, we’d have curled up in a ball on the ground and never gotten up.

Even though I haven’t seen you since high school, you are still an inspiration to me and to many others.  You have touched more people in your life than almost anyone I know. And in truth, if I take one look at your facebook page, you are more loved than anyone I know!

Love and peace to you my brother.  I’m praying for you and pulling for you every day!

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