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Sunday, May 31, 2009

if this is a crutch, give me the other one

I know someone who 'hears from God' with regularity. In fact two weeks ago God told them they have cancer... it turned out to be an infection.

Of course they believe God healed them. I myself have doubts.

Not that God doesn't have important things to say, and not that God doesn't care about the minutiae of our lives. I just don't like positioning myself at the centre of God's work in the world. There are far greater forces at work than my actions, more important factors to consider than my personal preferences and comfort. God may be the source of all that is good, but when we attribute every extraordinary thought or inexplicable event to him I wonder if we don't verge on the edge of a form of hoodoo voodoo christianity. How are we different from the ancients who saw fertility gods behind the rain or sacrificed to war gods for help in their conquests? We would do better to take life at face value and respond according to the principles of justice, mercy and humility as so ably lived out by Jesus.

Having said all that, I don't want to negate the comfort I frequently find in my faith. I'll admit there are some pretty strange beliefs to subscribe to when you follow Jesus, and I choose to believe them because that's what faith is about, but the real boon in fostering a relationship with God is the meaning and purpose it gives. If that statement flies in the face of everything I wrote above... um... bear with me, I'm still figuring it out! Anyway, I had a special God moment last week.

I'd just been 'laid off' from one of my positions. That's far too dramatic a turn of phrase... the company I work for was asked by the company who contract my services for two hours a fortnight (no great biggie), to replace me with another member of personnel. The rationale offered seems to be that I am too youthful and gentle for the role required, though I am yet to clarify the accuracy of this. As you would imagine, I was pretty upset. Here I was being misjudged and taken lightly simply because of a youthful manner and a lack of lines. I wailed and gnashed my teeth and determined to demonstrate maturity beyond my appearance. Ha. Some of that is true, and yes, I am dealing with the matter in a hopefully appropriate manner. It's probably not wise to say more than that and it's not really the point of this post anyway.

So I was lying in bed sniffling, trying to steady my breathing and calm my thoughts, feeling miserably sorry for myself. What happened to diversity? justice? respect? valuing a person for who they are not what they look like? How humiliating to be judged so unfairly!

The perfect place from which to step back and gain a little perspective.

I thought of all the people around the world living in absolute poverty. There is no reason for this other than gross injustice keeping them there. My little episode started to pale into a piece of global insignificance.

Believing Jesus is the son of God (as I crazily do) reveals another pretty hefty injustice. The son of God comes to earth, receives no respect and is killed on the cross*. Whoa. That's one almighty humiliation to endure. My little issue became even smaller.

Actually, that's not true. I stood with Jesus and he held my hand and rather than tell me to get over it, he offered comfort as only someone who knew exactly how I felt could offer comfort. I was soothed and calmed by the presence of Jesus and fell asleep soon after.

Now you may think this is all mumbo jumbo invented in my head, as hoodoo voodoo as the person who believes God told them they had cancer. You might even go so far as to say it's a crutch I'm leaning on rather too heavily. I'll live with that. In fact I'll laugh and say you might be right. But there's no denying the fact I fell asleep in record time after I remembered Jesus and his hellish experience. So if it's a crutch, give me the other one, cause I love hopping around on this faith that holds me up.

*Phil 2:5-8

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2 Comments:

At 5:31 am, June 01, 2009, Blogger Cherie said...

Well put and totally relatable.

I'm sorry for your job loss, Cecily. Do you see how quickly you found perspective? Well done.

It's okay to be sad and frustrated and even blue. Emotions take their time to catch up to the mind.

Hugging you from afar, friend.

 
At 8:39 am, June 01, 2009, Anonymous deanna said...

I share the sadness over the job thing. Like Cherie, I think your perspective took the high road. The difference, I think, between the way you're relating to Jesus and the hoodoo voodoo religious way is that you're not, as you said, making yourself the center of God's work in the world. You recognize that basically it's about God, not you, but that God, in the midst of everything that matters, is concerned for you in a real, relational way. In my thinking that's total common sense. Thanks.

Oh, and I came here to say thanks for being my Facebook friend!

 

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