Sunday, April 22, 2012

What Do You Think?

After 400 years the Red Sea wipes out Egypt’s army, and the evils of slavery ended for the Jews, finally, and they would not come back --- at least in that form.  What, I wonder, did the Jews think then?
For us, the horrible job, or the horrible period without a job, or perhaps long years of suffering, they all eventually end.  And what do we think?
A spouse, a child, a parent, suffers for months or even years, a pain you would die to make go away, and suddenly the time of seemingly never-ending pain is over.  What do you think then?
When a long misery in your life ends, what do you think?
Relief?  Peace?  Thankfulness to God?  Worry about what’s next --- perhaps, more pain?  What do you think?
Those Jews who were saved from the Egyptian slavery will see even more miracles happen for them:  manna from the sky, water from rocks, and birds landing for them every night; blessing after blessing.  Then, what did they think?
The crowd didn’t, but the apostles knew that He had fed 5,000 from those few loaves of bread.  They KNEW a miracle had happened.  What did they think at that moment?
The gospel today tells how Jesus came back and appeared to the apostles, as He said would, and it so upsets them that they think He is a ghost.  And so He eats with them and explains Scripture to them as He did before.  He had told them that He would rise after the third day, but still …. miracles, even when prayed for or even expected, are hard to believe.  And we don’t know what to think about them.
We like to think we are in control of our lives.  That’s why when bad things happen we sometimes blame ourselves, as if we could have or should have prevented them.  And sometimes good things surprise us, because we KNOW we didn’t make them happen; they were beyond our control.
We so much want to be in control, of everything, the bad and the good.  And when we can’t control them we pray to God, asking Him to end the bad or bring on the good.  If we can’t control everything, by our prayers, we want to control the God who DOES control everything.
But that’s not how our relationship with God works.  He is in control, not us.  He doesn’t assist us with what we want; we are to assist Him with what He wants.  That’s what praying that His will be done means, that we are able to help do it, that we are privileged to be His servants.  And that IS a privilege!
You see, despite how much we wish to be in control of our destiny, when we ARE in control we often screw things up.  We make bad things worse and don’t appreciate good things when they happen --- not only for ourselves, but also for God.  We often do the things He wishes us not to do.  We sin.  As His servants, we are not very good, nor loyal.  That’s why it is a privilege that we still are His servants; because for the most part, we are not very good ones.
We are fortunate that He weighs heavily that we intend to do good, that we want to love Him, and that we want to do His will even if --- like the father of the Prodigal Son --- He has to wait for us.
When times are bad or when times are good, He waits for us.  And we don’t know what to think about that.  We can never appreciate the love He has for us.  Always.

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