Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Not The Puppies

Much to my distress, it seems the most popular of my blog entries are those on the topic of the furry rascals. In fact, a significant portion of my readership has requested another feature on "the puppies". Yes, I am a cyclist and think what we really need is more photos of my bike in some Denton County destination, but deep down inside, I am a ham. I hate to admit it, but I can be swayed by popular opinion. So there will be a feature on the stinkin' furry rascals. Not this time, mind you, but very soon.

I think there is probably something on puppies deep inside me, and it's trying to get out, but something else bubbled to the top first. You might say circumstances just weren't right for puppies today. Instead, today's topic is "not the puppies" but "circumstances". How ironic.

The circumstances to which I refer are those life events that we can't control. To be sure, we have direct control over some things. We even have an influence (perhaps indirect control) over other things in our lives. There are events, however, that happen and have an affect on us, that we can not control.

The affects of circumstances vary. Sometimes they are mildly annoying (like having to wait for the entry on the furry rascals) or circumstances of good fortune (like finding an empty parking space near the door of the mall). Other times they can be gravely serious, painfully frustrating, or intensely frightening. The point is that circumstances happen to us all. Knowing this, shouldn't we be as prepared to deal with the worst as we are the best?

Forgive my simple question. I certainly understand that bad circumstances are more difficult than good fortune. I also understand that bad circumstances can be monumental and life altering. If we survive them, they might even leave scars. Believe me, I know. So I don't want to minimize the magnitude of the challenge. Even so, I maintain it is how we deal with circumstances that is key.

Allow me to use an example from the sea. The Sea of Galilee, that is (Mark 4:35-41). Jesus, being tired, gave his disciples a task. "Let us go over to the other side," He said before laying down for a nap. Apparently, the disciples began their task well. But along came circumstances and they were of the frightening kind. The bible says "...there arose a fierce gale of wind, and the waves were breaking over the boat so much that the boat was already filling up." When bad circumstances come along and interfere with my life, I might be annoyed, frustrated, irritated, or (as in this example) I might be terrified. I might ask God the same question the disciples did on that day, "...do You not care that we are perishing?"

Of course He cared. He had a plan and a purpose for them and He met their needs. It just wasn't in the way they expected. After He calmed the sea He had a question for them, "...how is it that you have no faith?". Perhaps we should see that faith is important when dealing with those monumental circumstances.

I don't think that faith would have prevented the rough seas on that day. In fact, I doubt it...and I doubt that faith in Him is some kind of shield to insulate us from all horrible circumstances. Instead, I think He is asking us to work through our circumstances, no matter how life altering, clinging to our faith in Him. It might be excruciatingly difficult, but we can have confidence, companionship, and consolation. When we come out of the storm, experience tells me that we will find that we (like those disciples) will have greater insight about the nature of God.

"Who then is this, that even the wind and sea obey Him?" Excellent question.


  1. Someone said that faith is easy when life is good. It's a different story when life goes bad.

    Isn't it interesting that faith is easiest when we don't seem to need it and hardest when we need it the most.

  2. So true, Keith.

    Gary Henry, in his book DILIGENTLY SEEKING GOD, said it this way...

    "The value of faith doesn't really become obvious until there is some doubt to be dealt with."