I admit that I don’t know what to do with the incongruity of life. Most of the time it’s easy to keep things in their place like well-mannered children from a bygone era. But when the images and stories relentlessly invade every space, it’s…well, it’s messy.
Does the earthquake in Haiti erase the worship at URBANA’09 on New Year’s Eve?
When people are left without adequate food and water, how do I face a typical grocery outing in the States?
This is not the first time I’ve bumbled about wondering how to live in the midst of inequality. It’s not the worst. It’s certainly not the last.
I become frustrated when I don’t have words that explain how I can continue to trust a holy, sovereign God in the midst of things that are not holy and that give the sense that everything is out of control. I also become frustrated when people try to “control” tragedy by explaining it as if God needs us to justify His decisions to act or to refrain from acting.
And, like many of you, I get really tired of hearing people say “I’m sure God has a plan” as if that makes it all okay. I’m sure He does, but that’s not an excuse to ignore the situation and sometimes we use it as such.
Today I will probably spend time in my back yard making a plan (and implementing part of it) for cleaning up my yard. The unseasonably cold weather in Florida killed off most of the plants in my yard and it’s pretty ugly out there. It’s hard to not feel guilty that I’m going to be engaged in what is — in comparison to the clean up that is going on in Haiti — fairly meaningless activity. I could let that stop me from it.
Maybe it’s just guilt that my house is still standing. I have clean water to drink and food to eat and shelter. My bed was really comfortable last night. It’s like feeling guilty about a great game of Chutes & Ladders with a couple of healthy children — a time of laughter and delight — because another person is sitting in the oncology wing of the Children’s hospital with their child who is struggling to swallow.
Praying that God will show us how to find His rhythm in this rather syncopated movement of music and that we will live well, serve well, mourn well and laugh well. We’d not have a chance at that except that he took on flesh and joins us in the dance himself. He moved into the neighborhood. He brought his toothbrush and intends to stay.