Psalm 105:1-2, 3-4, 6-7, 8-9
Because he himself was tested through what he suffered, he is able to help those who are being tested. -Hebrews 2:18
In today's readings, I am tested. I find two common story lines. We see a God who allows us to transcend bodily death and suffering, and we have a God who grants special favors.
I find the tying together of moral evil and physical evil a frightening, but not a foreign thought. I want the transcendence over death and suffering that that our faith promises. I still grieve over the loss of my parents and my sister even as their physical presence becomes a distant memory. I still ask why. I want there to be a Plan. I want there to be a reason for everything. In a post September 11 world, dying and the glory that may accompany a life full of religious zeal take on a very different meaning. That brings me sorrow, uncertainty, and discomfort. I am not ready to let go. I am not ready to give myself over to total faith. I feel the need for spiritual healing.
As I shift story lines, my thought includes the West Virginia man who became the biggest Powerball winner of all time. He consciously would not say that he was lucky, but rather that he referred to himself as blessed. In the back of my mind, this is the way I would like God and the world to work: we are believers, so we have the inside track. What bothers me is that in many ways this is what my experience encourages me to believe. I have a wonderful wife. I have wonderful children. I have a job that I enjoy. I feel blessed. Nevertheless I return to sorrow, uncertainty, and discomfort. I see many, who are more deserving than I am, struggling in this world.
I fear justice because I know what I deserve. I look at the
degree of my problems. Late flights, lost luggage, someone cutting
in front, these pale in the light of the bigger picture in a world with
poverty, suffering and disease. I am blessed, but why me? I
feel God is granting me special favors. With my sister, I can remember
thinking here would be a nice place for a medical miracle. I don't
get everything, but I still feel blessed. In my heart I want to feel
that I am a descendant of Abraham, one of God's chosen. I do, but
I feel weak in attaching this to my material rewards. I feel strong
in my actions in this world, I long for the consolation of spiritual rewards.
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