Oct 26 2010
The trees in middle Tennessee are quickly losing their hands. Leaves are being pried from limbs with each gust of wind. About as often as it’s windy, I sit in my backyard and listen to the 30ft tall trees clap. It makes me a little sad to see summer gone and fall moving on because I really love these trees. Tonight, it got me thinking about disappointment.
As little kids we get very angry when things don’t go our way – when we can’t have the toy we want or we can’t eat more cookies. When we grow up, the only thing that changes is we get angry about different things – when we can’t have the girl we want or we can’t buy a nicer car. Those are bummer things, I suppose, but some of us have really unusual and unfortunate circumstances come upon us – death, disease, rape, unemployment, weather disasters, hunger, infidelity, no husband/wife when you desire one. It is so easy to get really angry with God when these things happen and doubt Him. Much of that emotion is understandable.
A tree does not stop being a tree when it loses its leaves.
A girl does not stop being a girl when she takes her makeup off.
God does not cease being good when the circumstances in our life become dim.
Leaves and makeup and great circumstances are all adornments. They’re nice, but they’re not the full story. They’re wholly secondary.
The voice inside us that screams, “THIS ISN’T RIGHT” when tragedy strikes is right. We know in our hearts that life wasn’t supposed to be tragic. And it wasn’t. God didn’t make life this way. It ended up like this because of sin. Sin is like the winter that pulls leaves off beautiful trees. It ruins comfortable lives.
And like a little kid is puzzled why leaves fall off trees, I don’t understand completely why God doesn’t stop bad things from happening.
The argument goes that if someone can stop a bad thing from happening but chooses not to do so, then they’re not good. So some people reason God isn’t good because evil happens. But what if that person who doesn’t act is so intelligent that they know something BETTER will happen if they choose not to act and prevent the evil? Would you imagine that person is still bad? No. That would make them good AND brilliant. Remember this: Jesus Christ was murdered on a Cross. Imagine the deep, bitter sorrow of losing your best friend in that way. What good could ever come of that? Only the salvation of the world! There is no crime, no sin, no tragedy beyond God’s redemption. He is good!
GOODBYE AND HELLO
There’s a blanket of dead leaves on my lawn right now – the remnants of nature’s instruments I held dear for 7 months this year. But now I get a better look at what a tree really is. I get to see all the branches – not just the trunk. And the truth is, leafless trees still make noise in the wind. The pitch just changes.
When our lives are stripped of their good circumstances, we get to see God as He really is. When we’re bare and feel empty and alone and hurt, we have nowhere else to go but to Him. And He meets us when we go to Him. We get to see that He not only exists, but that He’ll listen to our cries and, somehow, provide comfort. This is when God increasingly becomes a friend. It’s mysterious and it’s tragic and it’s good. Because HE is good.