Sunday, May 25, 2008

Getting Our Attention

It always seems like bad news comes all at once. It can never just be one thing that's hard to handle, oh no. Multiple things have to suddenly explode or implode and make your life REALLY complicated. More often than not, I think it's the whole composite of bad things that makes a particular time of life so bad, not one thing in particular. I was talking to one of my friends about this last night who is going through a really hard time right now, and she mentioned that she felt like she had strayed a long way from God and that this was His way of getting her attention, and that for that reason it might all turn out to be a good thing.
I think she has a point. I don't believe that God creates the hard times for us to experience-- God has plans for our lives to "prosper you, and not to harm you; plans to give you hope and a future" [Jeremiah 29:11]. But I think that God allows the hard times to happen and uses them to bring us closer to get our attention, if you will. Face it- humans are really hard-headed. It takes a lot to get our attention when something isn't quite right. That's been true throughout history. A passage in the Bible that I like on the topic comes from Isaiah 30. Israel, according to the Bible, was one of the hardest-headed nations of all time. God had to do a lot to get their attention, but He did it out of love. Because of His love for them, He persevered and pursued them, to a greater or lesser extent. In the end, according to verses 20 and 21, the tough times served to give them guidance: "Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them. Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, "This is the way; walk in it.""
It's hard to go to God and allow Him to work through tough times in our lives, because our instinct is to yell at God, to run away and push at Him. But when, in the end, you've had your temper tantrum and run out of things to scream and places to go, and God is still there...well, as C.S. Lewis said, "To what will you look for help if you will not look to that which is stronger than yourself?" God loves you. You can accept it or ignore it or run away from it, but you can't change it, no matter what you do or how hard you try.

1 comment:

MikeC said...

and this just calls out for rumi's perspective:
it's not what happens
but what you tell yourself
that makes things
awful good or bad