Thursday, January 27, 2011

What Luck!

Those here without the Lord, how do you cope?
— The Newsboys, Breakfast




     About a week ago Allen and I were in a rollover. The entire car just veered off the road and flipped upside down with us in it. Gave us a nasty shock, it did. We both were wearing our seatbelts, so the only wounds my brother and I sustained were sore necks. Imagine! An entire car, a formidable structure of metal weighing upwards of two thousand pounds, and the inexorable forces of speed and ice combined to do absolutely nothing to the two frail human beings inside of it. Not a scratch! Did you ever? It being both very dark and very cold, neither Allen nor I cared very much about the route we had taken after leaving the road, but the next day we revisited the scene and retraced our steps. Or, more accurately, our tire tracks.

     In a strange twist of fate, we missed ramming headlong into a very tall and solid telephone pole. By chance, we did not smash into smithereens on a large structure made of concrete, which was placed in a place where we might have easily done so. Coincidentally, we were able to avoid crashing into a giant pile of rocks. Fortunately, the car landed inches from a boulder which, had we flipped onto it, would have damaged my head to a very great and lamentable extent. Luckily, two helpful gentlemen were driving by at just the right time to see our black car in the dark night. And, in the greatest coincidence of them all, all this happened right across the street from the fire station. And just think! The driver was not even steering. What are the odds. The man who came to tow the car— or rather, the misshapen lump that was once the car —away told us it was the worst he’d ever seen that the passengers escaped unscathed.

     It makes you think, doesn’t it? More specifically, it makes you think how can anyone in the world not believe in God? Chance did not set our car on exactly the right route to ensure our survival. Blind luck did not flip us in the one area it was safe. And it’s not like this was a once-in-a-lifetime experience; lucky accidents like this happen every moment of every day. If you don’t believe that the sovereign Lord of the universe is controlling every tiny push and pull of the laws of physics, who do you thank when your car rolls and you live? When you feel like you are hurtling toward your death on a snowy, icy night, who do you scream to for help? When all is lost, what do you have left? When you have everything, who are you grateful to? Even the cold, unemotional reasoning of science and logic points inexorably to the fact of a driving Force behind every act and motion. There is nothing— no logical argument, no scientific fact, no mathematical equation, no car crash —that does not bear loud witness to the Author who writes this book.

     And we have to know this, ladies and gentlemen. We have to tell the world. God is not an emotional projection of our human minds, not simply an imagination of needy, desperate souls in search of something more than the world. He is real. No, more than that; He is the reality. He invented and sustains the laws of physics. He orchestrates everything; from the tiniest, most insignificant action of a ladybug to every gunshot fired in World War II. He is completely sovereign!

     I know this because once my brother and I were in a car crash. And we were not even bruised…

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

New Page

     At last! The mysterious author of this illustrious publication reveals her identity! Not, of course, that most of you aren't familiar with it already....
     But if you would be good enough to glance slightly upwards, you will observe that a new page has been added. It is titled, fittingly, About the Author.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Fearless

     I like to walk. I like to hear my footfalls on the dirt road and breathe in the rich country air. I like to pass the horse stables and goat pens and hear the soft jingling of a lazy dog’s collar as he trots up to the fence to investigate. And, depending upon whether or not I’m by myself, it’s a marvelous opportunity to just think.

     What I don’t like is that nutso black dog on the corner. This animal must weigh upwards of ninety-five pounds, and he apparently views walkers as public enemy number one. If we could just rid the world of walkers, he says to himself, it would be an infinitely better place. He sees it as his civic duty to ensure that their lives are short and their deaths painful. As far as I am aware, he has never actually slain anyone and used their remains to season his kibble, but that is little comfort when he is standing a mere five feet from one and snarling and roaring like a lion on the kill. I can see every gleaming fang and every rippling muscle.

     This animal has little respect for property lines and, unlike other domestic canines, he remains unfazed by my shouts of, “Get back, creature of darkness!!!” (We decided to christen him Cerberus) In short, he scares me. (*Note: These circumstances are now in the past. I’m just using them to make a point. The owners imprisoned the dog
 inside an electric fence, and he has since become a more loveable animal. His coat is superb.)

     One day the idea of confronting the beast seemed even more distasteful than usual. I tried to shake off my fears as I drew closer to his residence, but they persisted. “Maybe,” I said hopefully to myself, “he won’t even be out today. Maybe he’s at the vet’s for his shots. Maybe the owners are on vacation and they took him to a kennel. Maybe he was kidnapped by Cruella deVil.”

     I kept walking. “After all,” I resumed after a short moment of wondering what kind of conditioner he used, “God said He would protect us. I read it in the Bible. Yes, He said He would be our fortress and stronghold and things. That dog won’t be hurling my body to the ground and tearing my large intestine from my abdomen. I have faith that he won’t. The Lord will protect me from that fearsome canine. … Right? … Right??”

     But deep down I knew this reasoning was faulty. You and I both know it’s complete nonsense. It’s true that God is our fortress and our stronghold, but nowhere are we promised that we will not be visited by calamity. No one ever said life would be painless. There was never any assurance that we would successfully avoid suffering. In fact, I seem to remember the exact opposite.

     Oh, thaaaat’s good to know. If safety doesn’t mean protection from painful circumstances, what good is it to anyone?

     Sometimes it seems like we try to assuage our fears by assuring ourselves that we will never be forced to confront them, or that it won’t be as bad as we imagine. We tell ourselves that financial ruin can’t really be that bad, or that there’s no way we could really have that painful illness. And sometimes it seems like faith. I have faith that God will not lead me into painful circumstances. That means I’ll be safe. Because He loves me, right? If He loves us, why would He let us suffer like this? Well, it’s good for you, bud.

     I know this is probably familiar stuff to you guys, but sometimes you can know things intellectually without actually believing them in your subconscious. So I’ll say it once more: faith is not the implicit belief that God will keep your leg from being chewed off by large, ferocious canines. Faith is not the confidence that you are invincible. Rather, I believe that faith is simply knowing that God is with you. I think it’s the knowledge that no matter what kind of suffering your body goes through, your soul is safe behind a six-inch adamantium wall. I’m pretty sure there’s a verse somewhere that goes, “Do not fear giant black dogs that can destroy the body and not the soul…” Something like that. No matter what, no matter where, God is with us. We use the phrase “no matter what” quite often, but have you ever stopped to think of the depth of what it actually means? Awful things happen. People you love will die. Maybe you yourself will suffer intense physical agony.

     Through illness, persecution, financial ruin, bodily pain, God will never leave my side, and He will never stop loving me. I know these are just words on a blog, but the reality is there. Blood, sweat, and tears. God is with us. Faith is the unshakeable conviction that nothing anyone in the world says or does has the slightest impact on God’s love for you! No more, and most certainly no less. Pain will come. I guarantee it. But why fear pain when God loves you?

     Basically, the point is this: the fact that God loves us doesn’t mean that suffering won’t affect us. It just means it doesn’t matter. It’s a marvelous thing, and I wish I had a bigger vocabulary because maybe then I could express how truly comforting it is to know it. It’s up to you, I guess. Have faith.

     So you know something? Next time I go on a walk, I shall pass Cerberus’s house with a smile on my face and a song on my lips. Because even if he disfigures my facial features with those fearsome giant teeth of his, I have perfect confidence that God will be with me. Let’s be honest, if God loves me it’s not because of my looks.

     God be with you, my friend.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Pseudo-Post: It's Just Like a Real Post, Only Lamer

     It recently came to my attention that a great calamity had darkened the normal jolly brightness of my travels through that marvelous world called The Internet.
     “My blog readership!” I gasped. “It’s down! By a lot! By far too much! Alas! Woe! A pox on the day!” And I continued in this vein until I ran out of synonyms for “oh no,” at which point I considered repeating myself but decided instead to change the direction of my lamentations.
     “Why?” I wailed, aggrieved and now earnestly seeking an answer instead of moaning pointlessly. “What have I done to deserve this? I try so hard…”
     But then the light came on! Why, indeed, had my public (those highly discerning and tasteful members of the intelligentsia who frequently give proof of their stunning brilliance by perusing this publication), deserted me so heartlessly? It was because I hadn’t written anything for them! One can’t expect one’s readers to do all the work, can one? It wasn’t wholly my fault, you understand. Art can’t be forced. For —it must be two weeks by now!— I’ve been marooned on that hideous and dreadful island which causes all us authors to quake in our figurative boots… Writers’ Block. I am simply stuck. Here I stand on stage in front of an auditorium filled with breathless ladies and gentlemen who wait on the edge of their seats for me to whisk a white rabbit out of my hat. But alas! they wait in vain. Can it be any wonder that they begin to file quietly out of the room?
     My dear readers, I hereby offer you the handsomest apology I can muster. My behavior has been unacceptable. Two weeks and not a word from me to you! You must be suffering terribly, poor souls.
     … Of course, this isn’t to say that I actually have anything to offer in the way of posts. I just kind of wanted to throw you a bone so you wouldn’t wander too far. Putting it another way, I’m drawing a hamster from my top hat and hoping you don’t know the difference. You’re welcome. But rest assured! I have not died, lapsed into a coma, or fallen victim of amnesia and begun to wander foreign streets without even a recollection of your existence. I will give you another post someday. But until then, perhaps you will be content with this charming white hamster.



Ohh, it’s a pseudo-post,
It’s a pseudo-post,
And I wrote it just for you!
It’s a pseudo-post
It’s a pseudo-post,
‘Cause I’d nothing better to do!

Oh, I wondered what had happened
Then I weepingly divined
What happens when I do not write
For two weeks at a time

For no one wants to read a blog
With no new posts to show
But ah, alas! I couldn’t write;
My mind was far too slow

Ohh, it’s a pseudo-post
It’s a pseudo-post,
And I wrote it just for you!
It’s a pseudo-post,
It’s a pseudo-post,
‘Cause I’d nothing better to do!

So then one day I just sat down
And forced myself to write
And came up with this pseudo-post
(Though, frankly, it's a fright)

Nothing to communicate
Naught valuable to say
No deep, profound or weighty thing
Do I have to convey

Ohh, it’s a pseudo-post
It’s a pseudo-post,
And I wrote it just for you!
It’s a pseudo-post,
It’s a pseudo-post,
‘Cause I’d nothing better to do!

One day, my faithful readers,
I’ll take in hand my pen.
I promise you there’ll be new things
To grace this blog again

But until that distant future
This is all I have for you:
A poorly written song to sing,
A picture that I drew!

Ohh, it’s a pseudo-post
It’s a pseudo-post,
And I wrote it just for you!
It’s a pseudo-post,
It’s a pseudo-post,
‘Cause I’d nothing better to do!

One more time!!!

Ooooooohhhhhh,
It’s a pseudo-post
It’s a pseudo-post,
And I wrote it just for you!
It’s a pseudo-post,
It’s a pseudo-post,
‘Cause I’d nothing better to do!