Featured Post

Dear Reader

I compose and post these articles with only one desire in my heart: to praise God and to offer modest help on your spiritual journey.

Sunday, October 2, 2016

WHAT DID YOU EXPECT?

Perhaps the most difficult yet common question that confronts people
of faith is “Why do bad things happen to good people?”

There are worthy books that take much more time to deal with this than
a simple column such as this. I am no author, but I have reflected,
like many others, over my years of service this vexing question.

I believe that this is particularly troublesome for Christians. Even
more difficult for my fellow Caucasian Americans. I can’t say for
sure, but I doubt this is as profound a “make or break” issue of faith
for the Afro-American church. My experience with serving the immigrant
community has certainly given me a different perspective on this
question. I have found the difference in liturgical songs in Spanish
using the same biblical texts reflect an acknowledgment of suffering
not found in English.

I am no expert in Islam, but I have learned from them the profound
meaning of surrender. The willingness to touch one’s forehead to the
ground in surrender to whatever is God’s will in the present
circumstances.

But we Christians have a habit of prayer as a wish list. God as
somehow fulfilling our requests as long as we are good boys and girls.

This habit begins with the idea that when we do our chores we get an
allowance. Of course it is only right and just that when we do our
job, we get paid. If we do a really great job we look for praise if
not a bonus. As adults we only think it is normal that after doing our
housework that we should reward ourselves with a special treat, be it
chocolate, ice cream, or a good drink.

So God, the all-powerful and all loving and all generous should reward
us for doing/being good. The better we do, the better we are, portends
God will keep us from bad things.

There are preachers who have built fabulous mansions promoting such
ideas. Think only good thoughts, eat only the right foods, do only the
right thing and be able to imagine only the best things one should be
able to be rewarded with perfect health and prosperity.

The athlete who works out every day can’t understand why he or she has
diabetes or a heart attack. The most dedicated volunteer in any
organization who has a terrible accident. Such tragedies become a
crisis of faith. What good is faith?

Yet every Christian carries or displays a response to our complaint;
the cross. For early Christians a scandal. For prosperity Christians a
conundrum. They may have a jeweled encrusted empty cross which
ideally represents the victory of the resurrection over death but can
they also accept the crucifix with its bloody Jesus? Culturally we
prefer to gaze at the empty cross than be reminded of painful, bloody
price paid on the cross. But how as Christians do we get to the
victory without going through the passion and death? How many churches
do you know that would accept an image or statue of the scourged
Christ? Yet it would be rare to not find such an image in a Mexican
church.

So pondering this, what do you expect?

No comments:

Post a Comment