Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Last Hour, Jamestown, NC

“If God is God, he’s not good. If God is good, he’s not God.” That’s what you will often hear from those who cannot reconcile the pain, suffering and death in this existence. Frankly, it’s a fair observation without much reflection. The world IS broken and we’re surrounded by these realities every waking day—that’s why some folks stay in bed on occasion. It’s probably one of the best arguments for atheism. But without a moral compass in the universe, how can we discern good versus evil in the first place? If there is no God in control of all this, we have no need for the notion of right and wrong. If folks argue that natural selection has left us with human beings that are predisposed to knowing the difference, then perhaps we should lay blame on natural selection that depends on the survival of the fittest, the destruction of the weakest, like we see on the Serengeti Plains of Africa or in countless acts of genocide.

I’ve considered this before, and I still think that the free will we humans enjoy has something to do with this. If we are to have a relational existence with our creator, we must have the ability to choose or reject it. If we are to attempt a good life, we must have choices that demonstrate our desire to choose goodness. If we are to fully appreciate life, we must lose it. If perfection is to be recognized, we must experience imperfection first. For this to happen, we must exist in a broken environment. But we’ve been promised that we do not walk alone and Immanuel knows our pain. His Son took this suffering upon himself during his mortal life and death on a Roman cross. And any suffering endured in this brief mortal life will render the next eternal spiritual one infinitely sweeter. Since His light, presence and service are manifested in his followers, the world still turns on its axis. But I believe that a truly living hell could be defined by eternally existing in the absence of His presence and light among those who did not choose rightly.

The Daylily can be so informative if we take the time needed to observe their short life cycle. When their time has come, they open their buds out into the hazardous world around them that’s teeming with drought, fungus, insects, wind, hail, rabbits, deer and humans. They bravely give life their best shot and proudly display their colors to provide us human beings a glimpse of beauty personified. Then life begins to withdraw as they fade into the darkening nighttime with the hope of a bright resurrection sometime in the future. Christianity does not have definitive scientific proof for the existence of God or a promised spiritual life after death. Reasoned faith is a requisite. But it does provide the hope and courage to weather the storms and successfully emerge on the other side where all mankind and nature are restored in a new heaven and earth. Jesus’ miracles involving death, physical and mental disabilities, disease, chaotic nature, etc., didn’t simply suspend the natural order, but demonstrated his power to restore it. And I’ll bet there will be Daylilies present that will have to be renamed!

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