“Make it funny… but don’t’ make fun of me… but they like funny… you can tell them funny things about me… don’t make fun of me…”
Machine beeps. GoodNurse says “Julie, you need to breathe deeply.”
“I just did the breathing thing” Says Julie talking her about exhaling into the small device intended to have her exercising her lungs to prevent fluid build-up.
GoodNurse says “I don’t want you to do that right now. I want you to breathe deeply through your nose. You’re not getting enough oxygen.”
Julie asks GoodNurse “Do I need to walk tonight? If I need to walk tonight, FirstHusband can come back and help me out of bed. We have a system.”
GoodNurse pulls me aside and tells me. “I need Julie to rest. She is trying to do too much right now. She will relax easier if you are at home with the children and she knows they are O.K.”
Now at some point Julie will read this and want to defend herself. Just remember that she was on strong narcotics and will not remember this. She will claim that it wasn’t like this. I was there. She was drugged. According to GoodNurse, she wasn’t drugged enough however. Typical Julie. If she keeps this up, I’ll change the name of this blog to “Stoic Compendium”. It’s been a long but positive day so you will forgive the stream of consciousness. It’s what I do when I’m tired.
Julie pulled through the surgery with no complications except that the hospital didn’t have enough open rooms and she had to stay in recovery until 9:00 pm. Her doctor, who was experienced when she delivered FavoriteSon many years ago said in a very matter-of-fact tone “I’ve never seen a cyst like that before. I don’t think that was cancer, it didn’t look like it.” You would think that a Doctor with that much experience would have something better to say than “I don’t think that was cancer.” Can a man hold his breath for the two weeks it takes for the biopsy to say “Negative”. Only 13 1/2 more days to know. All in all however, the doctor said she did great and should recover with no complications.
The hospital is very nice. They are set up and equipped for women. No worries about shake and bakes. Julie’s gown is equipped with a heated air blower system. She has a little thermostat at her control that regulates the temperature to whatever she wants. Combine that with the little button for more narcotics and Julie should be just fine. Even in an at-best semi-lucid state, Julie was very appreciative of the quality of care at this particular hospital.
I am amazed and humbled by the number of people praying for her. I can tell you your prayers bore fruit. I confess sometimes I feel like my prayers are the smallest of things I can do for someone. On days like this, where there is nothing to do but wait while the doctors hold your wife’s life in their hands, I understand more than ever that prayer is the best thing you can do for someone. I was confident that my own prayers were multiplied by many times and I am truly grateful for all of you who contributed.
Julie called home about 30 minutes after PinkGirl’s bedtime to tell her goodnight. I wonder how she knew PinkGirl would still be awake. Probably all the times I’ve been on travel and Julie had to handle both kids without me. I’m sure that even on drugs, Julie knew I wouldn’t get them to bed on time. FavoriteSon is still doing homework at 10:59 pm.
So I missed on funny but hopefully made up for it with gratitude. I told her, “I don’t do funny on demand.” Can anyone post a few jokes I can tell Julie at the hospital?
Surgery successful with no complications!
Details at 11 (which is about how long it will take me to get the kids to bed)
I was bored. And hungry.
I’m. HUNGRY. I learned that a pre-op clear liquid diet is . . . challenging. It’s only 4 pm and I swear, if I pass anyone eating anything, anywhere, I am not responsible for my actions. If you have food, BACK. AWAY. I’m going to have to leave the house just so my children can eat the frozen dinners I bought for them earlier this week – when I was allowed to eat food.
Although I HAVEN’T learned it yet, I keep telling myself that, on Friday, when I have stitches across my abdomen, I will be SO glad I stuck to this #$%^&* clear liquid diet. Did I mention I’m hungry?
I learned that my hair stylist has no idea how I like my hair. It’s big and FEATHERED. All I’m missing are high top Reboks, scrunch socks and turquoise eyeliner. Thank goodness I have time to wash it before tomorrow.
I learned that my OLD Oster blender pitcher works better than my NEW Oster blender pitcher. The new one almost immediately forms an air pocket around the blades and I have to stop the blender, pop the air pocket by stirring and then continue blending. Yesterday the new pitcher was dirty and I used one of the old (interchangeable) pitchers. Worked PERFECT.
I learned that I HATE the smell of lavender essential oil. I had my pain relief massage Monday and the massage therapist was out of eucalyptus oil (my FAVORITE). I said OK to the lavender because it’s supposed to be the most relaxing. Within 20 minutes I was coughing and she had to wipe it all off. yuck.
I learned (yet again) that I CANNOT have real flowers in my kitchen or my cats will jump onto the counter/table where they are NOT allowed to be, EAT the flowers and promptly puke up said flowers. Most often, on the kitchen counter. Monday, I came home to find partially digested flowers on the telephone (on the counter). ewwww. FirstHusband is saying “I told you so.” as he reads this.
I learned that when I don’t eat, I get cranky and sarcastic. What’s it to ya?
. . . in this video with HYSTERECTOMY.
This just makes me feel better.
I’ve decided to focus on other things besides surgery. These other things do not need to be meaningful in any way. I might even read a fiction book. I know. FICTION. Recommendations? It needs to be very, very engaging so my mind doesn’t wander back to H-Day.
PinkGirl and I hit a moving sale on the way home from softball this morning and picked up a princess tent for $3.00. It is currently assembled in the family room (Thank you very much. I am tent impaired.) in front of the TV. Softball was HOT and we are staying inside for a while to
dry cool off.
Watching Finnias & Ferb on the Disney Channel. Professor Doofenshmirtz is a guilty pleasure. He always has a “scheme” to “destroy” things in the “Tri-State area” with contraptions ending in “enator.”
Today, he will “DESTROY ANYONE WHO CAN’T MAKE UP THEIR MIND!” with the “Makeupyourmindenator.”
Where do you buy a giant snow globe anyway? I wonder if he’ll be charged return shipping.
I can’t help it. I just like the guy.
“enator” is now officially part of my personal idiom collection.
I’ll be whining today. This is the I hate surgery list.
Feel free to add to it. My surgeries are probably wimpy compared to most.
1. I hate IV’s. I REALLY hate them. I dread them going in. The first thing I want to know when I wake up is WHEN I can take it OUT. I want it OUT. My bad experiences with IV’s are twofold:
Pumping an entire bag of saline in as fast as possible after my water broke with FavoriteSon. When saline is at room temperature and it goes into the human body it feels BURNING cold! I kept FirstHusband running for nearly an hour as he ran hot water over washrags and repeatedly draped them over my IV to warm it up.
One IV was put on the side of my wrist, under my thumb and it CONSTANTLY hurt because I couldn’t keep my wrist from bending for multiple days. And they had to keep redoing it because it got clogged. Most IV’s I’ve had are on the top of my hand. Still hate it.
Did I mention I HATE IV’s?
2. I HATE the stupid automatic blood pressure cuff that takes your blood pressure EVERY 20 minutes, whether you’re askeep or not. WHY is this necessary in life? Before the automatic
torture device blood pressure cuff, nurses didn’t take blood pressure that often, did they? Who decided that 20 minute window? WHO? And it’s too tight, for crying out loud. OUCH.
3. I HATE anesthesia.
I don’t like going under. I HATE giving up my illusion of control. If I’m asleep, how am I supposed to be able to tell the doctors if they’re doing something wrong, like taking an ovary or amputating something on accident? How can I help them if I’m unconscious? The only good thing about anesthesia is that, from MY perspective the time between counting down from 100 to the time I hear, “How are you feeling?” in the recovery room is about 45 seconds.
Then I’m freezing cold. The warmed blankets are very nice, though.
And anesthesia makes me sleepy for DAYS. I won’t be able to walk 10 feet without a 2 hour nap. I won’t even be able to read or blog or . . . anything. Just sleep. What a waste of time!
4. I HATE stitches. They are gross and they take SO long to heal. I have to wear giant clothes that don’t touch my body. Just standing up takes about 15 to 20 minutes. Sitting back down again is no picnic either. Walking? Don’t wait for me.
I do love my Percoset, though. You want me to walk the day after my surgery? NO problem. One Percoset and I’ve been found shuffling a lap around the ward, holding onto my IV stand like a cane.
Tip: Wear TWO hospital gowns. First one backward, second one forward. Trust me. I’ve worn my own gowns in the hospital before. Didn’t work for me. Everyone wants to check out my incisions too often and it’s too much work. Plus, I don’t want to get blood stains on a nice gown. I’ll save the good stuff for home.
Dear God, I would really, really, really like this to be my last surgery. Please?
Two Days Ago: GYN pre-op appointment. Check.
This Morning: Hospital pre-op appointment. Check. No more supplements, no more prescription iron. Only Nexium for the reflux. And I can still take the B-12.
This Morning: Worked out w/Personal Trainer. Abs. Abs. Abs. Check.
Sunday Afternoon: Scheduled work out w/Personal Trainer. Abs. Abs. Abs. Check.
Monday Afternoon: Scheduled neck and shoulder pain relief massage. Check.
Tuesday Morning: Scheduled work out w/Personal Trainer. Abs. Abs. Abs. Check.
Tuesday Late Morning: Scheduled plastic surgeon pre-op appointment. Check.
Early Tuesday afternoon: Scheduled 5th acupuncture appointment. Check.
(I have NO idea whether this is doing anything.)
TMI: I’m supposed to “do a bowel prep” on Tuesday. If I recall, I have to drink something disgusting and stay home for the rest of the day.
Wednesday: Take an anti-biotic at 10am, 2pm and 10pm.
Wednesday: I’m not supposed to eat “anything substantial.” Supposed to “try and stay away from solid food.” I’m trying to look at it as a kind of fast. Hope I don’t get cranky.
Is chocolate solid food?
I should schedule stuff on Wednesday to distract me from food (and the thought of major surgery).
Wednesday Morning. Scheduled Cut & Color. Check. People will be standing over me. No roots in the hospital.
Wednesday Early Afternoon. Scheduled Mani-Pedi. Check. Seriously. A Mani-Pedi is REQUIRED for a hospital stay. Really. I’m sure I read it on the pre-op paperwork. I sure won’t be painting my toenails anytime soon. Better add a lip and brow wax to that visit.
Wednesday Evening. Scheduled “relaxing” massage. Check.
Thursday O Dark Thirty. Friend scheduled to drive me to the hospital. FirstHusband to get kids to school and meet me in pre-op.
Ambien prescription already refilled. Check.
. . . I’m a little stressed out.
If you’ve got time to hang out for a few minutes, check out what else makes me laugh: Pragmatic Compendium’s “laugh!” category.
If you’ve got a few minutes, check out my previous chocolate posts.
I’m not worthy. How can I reply to you? I’m putting my hand over my mouth. I’ll stop talking.
I know that you can do anything. No one can keep you from doing what you plan to do. You asked me, Who do you think you are to disagree with my plans? You do not know what you are talking about.’ I spoke about things I didn’t completely understand. I talked about things that were too wonderful for me to know.
This is one of what I’m sure will be many posts on the seeming contradiction between a loving God and the presence of evil and suffering in the world.
In a comment on my previous post – the first on this topic, Lisa of Lisa Writes gave me a book referral: John Piper’s Spectacular Sins. I read pages 22-26 on Amazon’s “Look Inside.” Here’s a very short excerpt:
“Surely this Jesus can stop a tsunami, and make the wind blow a jet off its deadly course toward a crowded tower, and loosen the stranglehold of an umbilical cord from around an infant’s neck, and blind the eyes of torturers, and stop a drought. Surely he can do this and a thousand other acts of restraint and rescue. He has done it before. He could do it now. What is his reason for not doing it more often than he does?”
“What is his reason for not doing it more often than he does?”
This is only one of the questions I’m delving into as I explore this topic. Not so much for myself, to assuage my own grieving or anger or other emotion which can so quickly and easily find itself into the heart of humans today, when faced with evil and suffering. As I said in my first post, I want to be able to formulate an intelligent response which adequately, logically, PRAGMATICALLY addresses the question AND the objections to the pat, theological answers. More specifically, I want to be able to articulate this response to someone who may not believe the Bible to be the Living Word of God.
In theory, Christians are easier. Christians are pre-disposed to understand and accept (maybe not agree, but accept) Biblical support I might point to as I try to explain my own personal view and understanding. My background is seeping in here, but I think of it this way: In communication theory, specifically in persuasion, this is referred to as a “latitude of acceptance.” If someone is more likely to accept an idea, they are said to have a latitude of acceptance. If someone is more inclined to reject an idea, they would have a latitude of rejection. If someone is open minded and has no pre-conceived idea or prejudice on a topic, they are said to have a latitude of non-commitment. As a Christian, I have a latitude of acceptance for any Biblical support provided in a persuasive effort. It has to be sound Biblical support, taken IN context, but for the most part I will look to the Bible for my reasoning. (And I’m no stranger to looking up the meaning of original language).
For example, as a Christian, here’s a HUGE reason why I personally accept God’s sovereignty with regard to evil and suffering in the world:
The Book of Job, Chapter 38:1-40:4 (see my responses in parenthesis)
38:1 The Lord spoke to Job out of a storm. He said,
2 “Who do you think you are to disagree with my plans? (ummm)
You do not know what you are talking about. (yeh, but . . . )
3 Get ready to stand up for yourself. (uh oh)
I will ask you some questions.
Then I want you to answer me. (k)
4 “Where were you when I laid the earth’s foundation?
Tell me, if you know.
5 Who measured it? I am sure you know! (you did)
Who stretched a measuring line across it? (you did)
6 What was it built on?
Who laid its most important stone? (you did)
8 “Who created the ocean? (you did)
Who caused it to be born? (you did)
11 I said, ‘You can come this far.
But you can’t come any farther.
Here is where your proud waves have to stop.’
12 “Job, have you ever commanded the morning to come? (no, Lord.)
Have you ever shown the sun where to rise? (no.)
16 “Have you traveled to the springs at the bottom of the ocean? (no, Lord.)
Have you walked in its deepest parts? (no.)
17 Have the gates of death been shown to you? (no.)
Have you seen the gates of darkness? (no.)
18 Do you understand how big the earth is? (no, Lord.)
Tell me, if you know all of those things. (no, Lord, I don’t know any of these things.)
19 “Where does light come from? (you, Lord.)
And where does darkness live?
20 Can you take them to their places? (no.)
Do you know the paths to their houses?
21 I am sure you know! After all, you were already born!
You have lived so many years! (what was I thinking? questioning God?)
22 “Have you entered the places where the snow is kept? (I’m going to shut up now.)
Have you seen the storerooms for the hail?
24 Where does lightning come from?
Where do the east winds that blow across the earth live?
25 Who tells the rain where it should fall?
Who makes paths for the thunderstorms?
28 Does the rain have a father?
Who is the father of the drops of dew?
29 Does the ice have a mother?
Who is the mother of the frost from the heavens?
31 “Can you tie up the beautiful Pleiades?
Can you untie the ropes that hold Orion together?
32 Can you bring out all of the stars in their seasons?
Can you lead out the Big Dipper and the Little Dipper?
33 Do you know the laws that govern the heavens?
Can you rule over the earth the way I do?
34 “Can you give orders to the clouds?
Can you make them pour rain down on you?
35 Do you send the lightning bolts on their way?
Do they report to you, ‘Here we are’?
36 Who put wisdom in people’s hearts? (you did, Lord. Just now.)
Who gave understanding to their minds? (Thank you, Lord.)
37 Who is wise enough to count the clouds?
Who can tip over the water jars of the heavens?
26 “Job, are you wise enough to teach hawks where to fly?
They spread their wings and fly toward the south.
27 Do you command eagles to fly so high?
They build their nests as high as they can.
Job Chapter 40
1 The Lord continued,
2 “I am the Mighty One.
Will the man who argues with me correct me?
Let him who brings charges against me answer me!”
3 Job replied to the Lord,
4 “I’m not worthy. How can I reply to you?
I’m putting my hand over my mouth. I’ll stop talking.
1 Job replied to the Lord,
2 “I know that you can do anything.
No one can keep you from doing what you plan to do.
3 You asked me, ‘Who do you think you are to disagree with my plans?
You do not know what you are talking about.’
I spoke about things I didn’t completely understand.
I talked about things that were too wonderful for me to know.
4 “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak.
I will ask you some questions.
Then I want you to answer me.’
5 My ears had heard about you.
But now my own eyes have seen you. (emphasis added)
After SEEING the Lord, Job had no desire to debate. To question. To “yeh, but.”
Instead, after SEEING the Lord, Job said, “”I’m not worthy. How can I reply to you? I’m putting my hand over my mouth. I’ll stop talking.
Job took the words right out of my mouth.
God explaining the things HE understands to ME? I would be like explaining calculus to a 2 year old. My mind wouldn’t be able to grasp it.
But that’s just me. So, knowing that I have NO idea what I’m talking about, I instead trust God, much like a child trusts that his parents will care for him. The child doesn’t understand what’s involved in raising him, he’s just living in subjective self-awareness. Knowing that I have no CAPACITY to understand the things of God, I believe in God’s sovereignty. Now, this is not to say that when I’ve faced . . . difficulty in the past, that I didn’t grieve and struggle with God’s will. This is not to say that, facing tragedy in my future I won’t struggle and desperately beg God to grant me peace. I’m human. I’m weak. I need God. Which is kind of my point.
I trust in a sovereign God. I believe that He is a loving God, despite evil and suffering in the world.
So now what? Do I just say, “I’m good.” and be done with it? Or, when I encounter others who aren’t able to do that or who choose not to do that, do I step outside of my independent security? Do I reach out to OTHERS and, in compassion and with God’s love and hopefully, His wisdom, do my very best to help them see what I see? Do I say, “Well, I can’t understand the things of God, so I’ll just have faith and I’ll be fine.” and be done with it? Do I stand comfortable and secure in MY acceptance and understanding of Biblical truth or do I prepare myself to address the common arguments to my faith and the truths presented in the Bible? When faced with these arguments, these obstacles of faith, do I seek to understand the things he HAS revealed? The things I AM capable of understanding? Because there are SOME things I CAN wrap my mind around and be able to share.
If I make the effort. Faith in a vacuum is easy.
There’s a cartoon about two turtles. One turtle says “Sometimes I’d like to ask God
why he allows poverty, famine, and injustice when he could do something about it.”
The other turtle says, “I’m afraid God might ask me the same question.”
There’s a cartoon about two turtles. One turtle says “Sometimes I’d like to ask God
He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.
Colossians 1:17 (NIV)
I used to make this garlic toast when I was a kid, using the oven broiler and I can fairly say I burned more than a few pieces of bread. Now we use the toaster oven. It’s VERY easy. Butter a piece of bread and sprinkle garlic salt to taste. Toast in the toaster oven (or place on the top rack of your oven and use the “broil” setting) Garlic toast in less than 5 minutes!
We use wheat bread and smart balance spread for a healthier bread, but this is especially good with slices of french bread too!
Need more? Head over to Tasty Tuesday hosted by Jen at Balancing Beauty and Bedlam MY previous Tasty Tuesday posts are HERE. Tasty Tuesday posts prior to April of 2009 can be found at Forever . . . Wherever
Works for Me Wednesday posts prior to February 2009 are archived at Rocks In My Dryer.
That would be our weekend.
I came out of it understanding how and why some parents do their children’s homework FOR them. It would have been so. much. easier.
These children are SO ready for summer. Homework is actually painful. For all of us. In addition to regular homework, this weekend FavoriteSon was working on an outline for a research paper on McCarthyism and PinkGirl was working on a “shoebox book report” on killer whales.
In the end, PinkGirl typed EVERY word of her own book report – WITH her fingers on the “home” keys, thank you very much. (use your left middle finger for the “c” key, use your left middle finger for the “e” key. – repeat.) She also cut all her own (ocean looking and seaweed looking scrapbook) paper, stuck all her own double sided stickers on all her cut paper, stuck her own paper to her shoebox and decorated the box all by herself. I say this because the finished project looked too good for a second grader. But I SWEAR all I did was cut out waves from the lines SHE drew with a wave stencil and put glue on a few pieces of paper for her. She did all the sticking. She’s the crafty one in the family. Regular readers know that crafting makes me break out in hives.
After a weekend that included a Friday night high school district track meet (he’s in middle school) where he placed 6th in the 400 meter dash, (got home after 11:30 p.m), a Saturday morning basketball game, math homework, science homework and yearbook homework (puh leezz), I cut FavoriteSon a break on the research paper outline and typed for him, with him sitting next to me, dictating every word. When he got stuck, FirstHusband or I would ask him a leading question and he would be jump started again. Turns out, the kid knows a heck of a lot more about Joe McCarthy and McCarthyism than I do, he just had trouble organizing all his information.
Domestically? The weekend was largely unproductive. By Sunday evening, our house was trashed. Only patches of carpet visible in places. The contents of both kid’s backpacks strewn from one room to another. The kitchen counter 4 inches thick, the kitchen table covered with craft paraphernalia, library books all over the living room floor, the dryer full of dry clothes, the washer full of wet clothes, the sink full of dirty dishes . . .
FirstHusband and I left it all and fell into bed, exhausted. I got up this morning and, after going to take care of a friend’s cats while she’s out of town, spent more than 2 hours “finding” my house. The kitchen counter is clear, the floors are clear, the washer AND dryer are empty, the sink is empty, the dishwasher is full and running. ahhh. I HATE it when my week starts “in the red” like that. I was finished by 10:45 a.m., just in time for a little coffee/Bible study/prayer journal time before my trainer arrived at 11:30. Then I walked two miles, sauna, shower, lunch and after school pickup.
After school today was intentionally orchestrated. First thing in the door, everyone got a snack and the kids unloaded the dishwasher. Then exactly 15 minutes to do anything they wanted, 15 minutes of homework at the (clear) kitchen table. We rotated that 4 times and all homework was done except for FavoriteSon’s rough draft (due Wednesday). We ate dinner together at the table, all four of us folded the dry laundry together, and we sat back down at the kitchen table, PinkGirl, to show her dad her math, FavoriteSon to work on his rough draft, me to read a book while keeping FavoriteSon on task. Both kids went to bed on time.
I’m ready for summer too.
I’ve been singing this all week, rehearsing. The Praise Team will be singing it for the first time on Sunday. (I am SO happy we are singing a song with WORDS! and they’re not all the SAME! And they MEAN something!)
I love this version by Phillips, Craig and Dean. The bongos are such a peaceful addition. It’s been like a mini-devotional for me. Multiple, multiple, multiple times a day. Every day. Especially with all I am thinking about this week.
“How deep the Father’s love for us,
How vast beyond all measure
That He should give His only Son
To make a wretch His treasure
How great the pain of searing loss,
The Father turns His face away
As wounds which mar the chosen One,
Bring many sons to glory
Behold the Man upon a cross,
My sin upon His shoulders
Ashamed I hear my mocking voice,
Call out among the scoffers
It was my sin that held Him there
Until it was accomplished
His dying breath has brought me life
I know that it is finished
I will not boast in anything
No gifts, no power, no wisdom
But I will boast in Jesus Christ
His death and resurrection”
Why should I gain from His reward?
I cannot give an answer
But this I know with all my heart
His wounds have paid my ransom
I’ll be thinking via my fingertips today. Given the extent of the topic, I’m sure I’ll rinse and repeat so additional thoughts and insights are very much sought after.
I’m reading The Case for Faith by Lee Strobel. (Click HERE for his youtube testimony.) In this book, Strobel attempts to “investigate” the most common obstacles to the Christian faith. He calls these obstacles “the Big Eight.” I’m reading about Obstacle #1.
“Since Evil and Suffering Exist, a Loving God Cannot.”
Why am I reading this? I was led. Compelled. There are so many struggling. Suffering. All ages, genders and walks of life. Suffering physically, spiritually, emotionally, financially. Children died this week. Children die every week. A young mother at my church lost her battle with cancer the day before a friend who defeated stage 4 breast cancer got her breast reconstruction.
I pray. For people I know, and people I don’t. I pray for strength and comfort. For peace.
I pray because I personally believe a loving God does exist, despite the evil and suffering in the world. But in my prayers, unspoken, was always “Why?”
My auto-pilot answer was “Have faith in God.” But in truth? I had nuthin. Except that whole “then we shall see face to face” thing. (1 Corinthians 13:12)
If there is a loving God, why is there pain and suffering in the world?
I’m 44, for crying out loud. I’ve been a Christian for nearly 30 years! I should to be able to ANSWER THE QUESTION instead of mumbling words like “sin” and “test of faith” and “God’s will” and “free will” or quoting scripture to Christians, agnostics and atheists alike. Scripture. Not a credible resource for agnostics and atheists. Quote the Bible if it makes you feel better, but when I’m talking to someone who doesn’t believe the Bible to be the Living Word of God, or to a person who doesn’t even believe in God, I need to approach the conversation in a different way. God can use other books and resources besides the Bible. He can use a sunset, a song or an impossible coincidence. He can even use my personal experience and fallible human intellectual understanding. He is that good. (I just need to gain some intellectual understanding and identify my personal experience.)
Besides not being able to intelligently articulate a reasonable response when talking to others, I personally didn’t like not having answers to the “why” question and the “how can there be a loving God” question. And I believed there were answers. Just because I didn’t know what they were, didn’t mean there weren’t any. This week, I found myself no longer comfortable just believing and trusting in God and accepting suffering without question. (Which I did, by the way.) For some reason, I’m at a place in my life where I want to know WHY I believe what I believe about this issue and be able to explain myself to Christians and non-Christians alike.
Wait. Don’t go off and comment yet, telling me “the” answer. Bear with me. I want to work through this one pragmatic step at a time. I’ve had discussions with “strong” Christians, “longtime” Christians, pastors and FirstHusband. I’ve read the Bible, commentaries, and books. Nothing seemed REASONABLE. The Christians were often patronizing and/or vague, attributing my doubt – or questioning or whatever you want to call it – to a lack of faith or an immature Christian. Because they really believed I lacked faith or was immature? Or to cover up the fact that they themselves weren’t able to effectively articulate an answer either? Back then, I believed it was me. After this week? Not so much. Because I found two authors who were able to articulate their reasoning in a way that resonates with me. It’s not that they “told” me the answer to these questions so much as they rounded up many of my thoughts on the matter (conscious and not) and were able to lay them out in an organized, reasonable way.
Let me back up a bit, before the resonating, and answer a likely question. What have I been doing all these years, with this seeming contradiction between suffering and a loving God?
Years ago, FirstHusband gave me the thought that allowed me to let the contradiction rest – until now. In discussing why a loving God allows human suffering, we had a lot to talk about. In the end, it was this:
Could it be (I said COULD) that one (I said ONE) reason people suffer is so the world can see the difference between how a Christian and a non-Christian deals with the suffering? The theory is that Christians have a hope, strength, peace and comfort that comes from God. Now THAT, I’ve seen. On more than one occasion. And so have you.
But what about non-Christians who approach adversity with a seemingly positive outlook? What about non-Christians who overcome obstacles to make things better or inspire us? Randy Pausch never professed Christianity. Neither has John Walsh. Both remarkable men, who, when faced with tragedy, responded much like we expect Christian men would. And what about the Christians who react to tragedy with anger, blame God or who fall apart and shut down? Non-Christians blame God, fall apart and shut down. It can go both ways.
So I personally choose to believe that there IS a loving, all-powerful God despite the seemingly contradicting evidence of evil and suffering present in the world. For years, I’ve been able to fumble around the God-speak, quoting scripture and using words like faith, free will, sin, and God’s Will, but I’ve never before formulated an intelligent response which adequately, logically, PRAGMATICALLY addresses the question AND the objections to the pat, theological answers.
Faced with the multiple tragedies of the death of her uncle and and her aunt’s diagnoses of Alzheimer’s disease and terminal cancer, Lee Strobel’s wife said:
“If someone thinks he can wrap everything up in a neat little package and put a fancy theological bow on it, go somewhere else.”
I don’t want to be “someone” or “go somewhere else.” So, here are some questions and issues I’m going to work through:
Is evil evidence FOR God?
If God is all-POWERFUL, why doesn’t He stop or lessen suffering?
What does “less” suffering mean anyway?
If God is all-KNOWING, what does He know that we don’t?
How can we say that God is good when He allows evil and suffering?
What other questions or issues do you see?
Need a little inspiration today? Need to see something really, truly great?
It’s only a few minutes of your life. Wait for it. At 3 minutes and 11 seconds in. Amazing!
There are certain songs . . .
The great Satchmo, singing “What a Wonderful World” on Thanksgiving Day.
The Walt Disney Candlelight Processional Choir singing the “Hallelujah Chorus” at Christmastime.
And Sandi Patty, singing “We Shall Behold Him” at Easter.
Growing up, my mom often made an Easter Bunny cake like this one for Easter. (page down for more photos)
Easy, not too crafty (thank goodness), I think I’m making one this year. Judging from the number of available photos on Google Images, I’m not the only one. Check it out:
Bake a cake, any cake, in two round cake pans. Mine will be chocolate. There is no reason for me to eat cake unless it is chocolate. Let it cool and then cut it like this:
On the serving plate (my mom always used a piece of cardboard covered in aluminum foil), CAREFULLY arrange it like this:
Then, frost and decorate! My mom always frosted it white and covered it with coconut shavings as a base. Dark chocolate cake with coconut – mmmm – just like a Mounds bar. But CAKE!
That does it. We’re making this cake.
Here’s a video and some more samples:
Works for Me Wednesday posts prior to February 2009 are archived at Rocks In My Dryer
If you’ve got a few minutes, check out my previous chocolate posts.
I held a TWO MINUTE plank yesterday!!! My trainer tricked me into it by LYING about the time.
Today, I had no excuse. I was determined to do another one. And yes, my trainer tried to lie to me again and get me to hold it longer than two minutes, but I was not falling for it a second time.
I need to remind her that if she kills me, she will lose a client.
When I rehearse – and I mean really rehearse, not just sing along with the radio while I’m doing the dishes – when I really rehearse, both my cats weird out by stalking me. If I continue, the male cat tries to get busy with his sister.
WHAT is that all about?!
It happens EVERY time. The vet thinks it is hilarious, but has no idea what is going on.
This afternoon I was rehearsing a solo for Easter Sunday. I was standing in front of the entertainment armoire, singing with the demonstration track. I had my eyes closed, singing and listening. I opened my eyes and Bob the cat was literally two inches from my face. Nose to nose. He had jumped up on the fireplace hearth, walked it to get to the armoire and climbed up so he could get right in my face. Both he and his sister do that to me. The last time I was rehearsing at my desk, she kept jumping on the desk and sticking her nose right in my face. I don’t get it. Do they like it? Does the sound hurt their ears? If it does, why don’t they try to get FARTHER away from me instead of closer?
They are freaks.
Today I had to separate them. After I got Bob off the entertainment armoire twice, he went after his sister. He tried to grab her by the back of the neck and she was hissing at him. I broke it up and quit for the day.
Should I take this as a compliment or an insult?