Jan 22, 2010

haiti, faith, and a whole lot of questions - pt 3

What was the last thing you tried to fix that was broken?  For me it was a broken door on our entertainment center, and before that it was a garbage disposal.

Yeah... that's right... I fixed the garbage disposal.  Take that, average 4th grader.

When something is broken and you're attempting to fix it, you need a point a reference.  Specifically, you have to envision or find a picture/blueprint of what the cracked or "out of order" thing once looked like.  Only with this reference point can you begin to see the flawed object as originally intended, giving context to that which is currently broken and how you need to go about restoring it.

That's one reason why the first two chapters of the Bible are such a gift - they remind us that humanity and this world didn't start out flawed, but rather were whole and interconnected.  There was a time when our relationship with God wasn't cloudy, our relationship with others wasn't strained, and our relationship with nature wasn't adversarial.

Oh, and another gift we were given?  Free will.

And we exercised that in the worst way possible.

I mention this because the reason we all sort of "know" what has happened in Haiti is "wrong" is because buried within us is a sort of Divine "Original Idea" blueprint for the way things are supposed to be. The once-atheist-turned-Christian C.S. Lewis once put it this way:
“My argument against God was that the universe seemed so cruel and unjust. But how had I got this idea of 'just' and 'unjust?'… What was I comparing this universe with when I called it unjust?… Of course I could have given up my idea of justice by saying it was nothing but a private idea of my own. But if I did that, then my argument against God collapsed too – for the argument depended on saying that the world was really unjust, not simply that it did not happen to please my private fancies…Consequently atheism turns out to be too simple."
Lewis was on to something here, for he came to realize that suffering provided a better argument for God’s existence than one against it.  In order to recognize something wasn't right, you unconsciously have to admit there is a "right."  So whether someone realizes it or not, they have gone back to the Original Idea of the Creator set in motion when they cry out against the way things currently are.

This is one way that God can use destruction to bring about a recognition and process of healing.

Think about it - what we learn from the Blueprint of Genesis 1-2 is that the Lord desired us to be in a mutually caring relationship with one another.  Jesus underscored this when He commanded us to love our neighbor as we love ourselves.  We've certainly had the opportunity to do so with Haiti for many years, and yet we've let them goe by with the average Haitian trying to get by and live on less than $2 a day.

I wonder... why didn't we TXT a pledge to help Haiti with that before the past week?  How come efforts to raise funds didn't make headlines until just recently?  Why has the effort to adopt Haitian orphans only just increased... in the past week and a half?

Oh yeah...

because we really didn't care about Haiti.

But then suddenly - a tragedy occurred - and we started caring.

Did you notice that?

It's why the current President and the previous two Presidents began hanging out. These men who have wasted so much of their energy trying to destroy each other's credibility in order to make their own shinier... put their arms around one another.  Folks, that's not a political statement... that's a spiritual one.

For we've done the same, haven't we?

It happened during 9/11.  It happened during Hurricane Katrina.  And it's happened in previous generations as well... from World Wars to Great Depressions.  People who never spoke to one another started having sober conversations; friends and family members began to reconcile; a grassroots effort began to bring hope and healing to those who had been hurt.

As if the Original Idea of caring for one another kicked in, even after years of suppressing it beneath our own agendas for life.  Something was broken, and so we all reached back to an unconscious understanding of our responsibility to care for one another and begin restoring the devastation of creation back into its original image.

It's as if God tries to get our attention in the best way possible, but we put our headphones on to listen to our favorite music instead.  So He shouts a bit - and for a split second we tune out the music and try to hear Him, because it momentarily rattled us.  Then He taps us on the shoulder - and again we pause, but then go back to our own beat.  Finally He shakes us, and we complain, "Hey!  Why did You have to shake me like that?"

Listen to these words spoken by singer Keith Green at a concert in 1979, addressing the theme of how God speaks to His people when they are hard-hearted (again - keep in mind this was shared 31 years ago and look at the timeliness of these eternal thoughts):
"When God wants to talk to (stubborn) people He talks to them in three ways. First, He touches them where it hurts - in their economy.  If that doesn't get their attention, then He touches their ecology... the rains, the locusts, the famine, the earthquakes, and so on.  And if that doesn't work, He raises up a nation to come and invade them.  I think we have struck out in two of those areas.

I'm not a prophet of doom... I'm a prophet of love. But love will bid a warning doom to those children that play on the freeway.  And I tell you this - we need to wake up, for Jesus wept over Jerusalem and said, 'Bid that the Father, the Lord of the Harvest, send laborers into the Harvest."

Maybe sometimes God has to allow the worst to happen to us in order to bring out the best in us.

Perhaps the Lord isn't as inactive as we think He is.
"It takes no faith to trust God when He is obviously moving. Real faith is holding on and believing when God SEEMS absent." - Rick Warren

And yet... perhaps the emotional question still remains.  "Why this way?"

Again, first think about how you even "know" to ask that question.

And then... I'll spend some time addressing that question tomorrow.

1 comment:

Robert said...

Tony- man will you stop being so superficial and shallow?? LOL Love the quote from rick warren. God is really active especially when we think and feel Hes not. Lots to digest here friend, deeply and thoughtfully.