Acts of God

“ACTS OF GOD”

222,570 deaths – Earthquake – Port au Prince, Haiti

56,000 deaths – Russian Heat Wave

172 deaths – Salang Avalanche (Afghanistan)

102 deaths – Kohistan Avalanche (Pakistan)

21,491 earthquakes

1,282 tornadoes

These numbers don’t span 10, 20 or 50 years. Just one. 2010.

“Acts of God.” This is how they are referred to by the news media, by insurance companies, by people, who use the words – knowingly and unknowingly. With an insatiable appetite for death, destruction, and worldwide calamity, it’s no wonder so many refuse to give allegiance or find faith in God.

It’s ironic, the same God who cannot be proven by science (or scientists) is the same God who most choose to attribute the cause of natural disasters, most of which can be proven and explained through science. These are the same people who – by the way – don’t find enough evidence for a Creator. Still, somehow these are acts of God. So, which is it? Is He God, or isn’t He? Does He exist, or doesn’t He?

“I just can’t understand serving a God who would allow such death and destruction…” That’s a statement that questions God’s nature…not God’s existence. Only, it’s not God’s nature. And the natural disasters are not God’s doing.

Imagine, you and your spouse become pregnant. Maybe you planned for it (maybe you didn’t), but regardless, a life initiated in the belly of your wife becomes quickly accepted, and the internal instinct of both of you immediately begins loving someone you cannot (yet) see, cannot touch, cannot hear – and at least for much of the first trimester – cannot feel. It doesn’t matter that you cannot see, hear or feel the life inside of you; the knowing that there is a life in you, which you are inherently responsible for, is enough to desire a bond for them.

From the moment you learn of the existence of the micro-sized life growing in you, many instinctual, natural, inherent, bio-behaviors kick into overdrive. The need toprotect and create a protective shield around yourself and your fetus happens in the inside of your womb just quickly as it takes over in the outside world.

For the next 9 months you will spend time planning, preparing and awaiting the welcome-home event for your baby boy…or baby girl. For those 9 months you will fantasize, pray, hope, and wish for nothing but the best of the best for the life of your child, but still, there’s a knowing on the inside of you, which is silently accepted: your baby will grow up.

From the moment he/she enters the outside world, the first reaction to life outside of the warmth and safety of a 9 month bubble-bath-womb will be met with the cool air of a hospital O.R., and more than likely the first emotional outburst will be that of crying coupled with the unrealized recognition of his/her “lungs.”

So imagine.

You joyfully endure the lengthy 9-month pregnancy. Now the baby is here. Do you suddenly switch gears, take on another persona, and become consumed with destroying your newborn’s life? Do you become demonized over time and fill up your days and nights with plots and plans of how you can torment your child, or, end the child’s existence altogether?

I know. I know what you’re thinking, because I’m a father too.

It’s ludicrous.

Sick.

Putrid.

If we can’t imagine being a father or a mother who would behave that way, why do we assign the blame to God for the bad that happens on earth?

Stop blaming God…

– When war happens

– When 241 tornadoes touch down in American over a 3-day period

– When a loved one passes away

– When a terrorist attack happens (here or abroad)

– When a fetus dies a premature birth because of the decision of one (or two)

– When someone you love loses his or her job

– When you’re suddenly plagued with illness

– When you run out of money

God is not to blame.

Before you were thougth of and planned by the two people who came together on your behalf, the map of your entire life was thought out and prepared for you, by Him. And before you exited your 9-month bubble bath and inhaled your first breath, every moment of the life you thought was yours was already written in a book about you.

Every detail about you: the number of hair follicles on your body, the number of cones and spheres in your eyes, the amount of smoothness or ridges on your fingernails, the pigment of your skin, the “blemishes” and the “flaws” (as you refer to them) were all allowed by God. You have about as much control over your life as you do your birth, and as sure as you may know so many things about you – you don’t know YOU like HE does.

You can’t imagine how much you are loved, and the deepest comparison you may find in the arms of a loving spouse or the acceptance by the unconditional love of an infant, who depends on you for everything won’t even scratch the surface by comparison of the love for YOU by a gracious God.

As far as the acts of God: the creation, the creation of YOU, the warmth you feel by the embrace of a loved one, the breath you’re taking in right now, the Cross… these are just a few.

Luke 11:13

Apostle Paul’s Words

For the last several weeks, I’ve meditated on the Apostle Paul’s words to the church at Corinth, “…though you have ten thousand guardians in Christ, you do not have many fathers.”
The Message translation says it like this: “…there are a lot of people around you who can’t wait to tell you what you’ve done wrong, but there aren’t many fathers willing to take the time and effort to help you grow up.” (1 Corinthians 4:15)

As I look around me today, nothing has ever been more true and more evident in our society: our homes, our schools, even in our churches. As it was at the time of Christ’s birth, there has been an all out war waged upon man-kind. The enemy’s utmost goal has always been to destroy man. People underestimate the enemy. The enemy knows that if he can reach man, he has the potential to destroy every relationship in that man’s life.

Interestingly, the most bless-ed or most destructive relationship experience that any man can have – and the most lethal to his emotional and spiritual growth – is the relationship between a father and a son. The same way we as believers are supposed to obtain our spiritual identity from a relationship with our heavenly Father, is the same way a son is to obtain a sense of identity from his earthly father. Sadly, if enough damage is inflicted upon the psyche and emotional well-being of a young man, his ability to trust father-figures, including the heavenly Father is greatly diminished. Unfortunately, every traumatic experience a child endures from an early age carries with it the potential for stunted emotional growth, and the likelihood of onset of a dysfunctional existence.

We learn to trust and not trust and accept or fear others as children, based mostly on the “filters” ingrained in us subconsciously, by our parents. If an unnatural fear, penetrated the mind by an overbearing or abusive father, that young man will shun and cower in the presence of most adult men, at least until a trust is established.

Years and years of abuse, neglect, and disapproval will ultimately drive a man to self destruction. Any attempt to intervene by an older, wiser gentleman (or father-figure) will initially always result in rejection by that younger man. He has no reason to believe that the older gentleman is acting out of a pure motive, and thus will reject the man’s attempts to mentor and even befriend him.

Conversely, a man who grows up with trust issues – consequential of the parent/child experience – will carry those trust issues into his spiritual life, ultimately being unable and unwilling to trust a Spiritual Father.

Foolishly – and often times through an innocent form of ignorance – a man will cycle through bad relationship after bad relationship, attempting to gain approval from one-night-stands, girlfriends and short-term relationships, and even attempts at marriage in pursuit of a level of acceptance and approval, which should have come many years prior…from his father.

It took me so many years to come to grips with my Dad’s rejection. The approval I sought just never came. I finally gave up – and in some ways I grew up, realizing he just wasn’t willing (and therefore incapable) step into those shoes and be a father. I grew up, watching so many young men – my contemporaries – with their father’s hand and voiceof blessing being active in their lives. And the results and the contrasts were astonishing. Night and day.

Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving!

It has a different meaning to all of us.  In the United States we are fortunate to have a national holiday set aside, specifically for the occasion.   Originally an idea derived from Native and European tradition, the United States and Canada are the only countries where Thanksgiving is actually a holiday.

Despite the common belief that Thanksgiving was a celebratory event that followed “harvest” season, the origin is more accurately associated with survival – that is, having survived a long journey of storms, icebergs, and the tumultuous seas, which the seagoing explorers experienced attempting to find a northern passage through the Pacific Ocean.

Whatever brought upon the reason for the celebration from a historical standpoint should matter little to us today.  What should matter most is that all of us – anyone living and breathing at this moment – has more than a few things to be thankful for today.  Today and every day.

– According to the CDC (Center for Disease Control), there are more than 12,000 disease categories known to science.

– On average, there are more than 6,000,000 auto accidents in the United States alone every year.

– The data is not in for 2011 yet, but there were more than 1,000,000 foreclosures in 2010.  More than 1,000,000 families in just one year experience the loss of what is traditionally associated with as the symbol of the “American Dream.”

– There are 25,000,000+ unemployed in the U.S. as of this month.

– Almost 50,000,000 U.S. Citizens are recipients of Food Stamps.

– Nearly 500,000 people – men, women, and children living in the U.S. are living with HIV flowing in their blood stream.

You get the picture.

I walked out onto my balcony last night, when it was around 40 degrees, just outside of Dallas.  I couldn’t help but wonder, “…this is what more than 5,000 people in the Dallas area will deal with tonight, until the sun comes up tomorrow morning and the temperature (hopefully) begins to rise.”  It’s cold outside this time of year.  I am privileged to be in inside.

Be thankful!

More than likely, someone that you know – or maybe even you – is just one “notice” away from having their heat cut off.  One or two weeks away from getting their “pink slip” at their job.  Maybe your best friend won’t finish out the year, spending the holidays with their family because their on the brink of divorce.   A cancer diagnosis can change the moral of a family in a split-second.

6 people boarded a plane this morning, not knowing that their last Thanksgiving with their family was a year ago today.  They all perished when their plane hit the side of a mountain in Arizona.

Be thankful!

Life is a vapor.  Here today, and gone at any moment.

If you have use of your hands and feet; if you are able to get a full night’s sleep; if you receive income, whether weekly, bi monthly or monthly; if you enjoyed a Thanksgiving meal with your family and friends today, or just one person; if you wake up every morning without having experienced a terrorist attack on your native soil; if you have a loved one who returned unharmed from War; if you had the privilege of turning on the water faucet today; if you’ve lived another day to love another person… be thankful.

Every second you feel the oxygen fill up your lung cavity is God’s way of nudging you…”You’re alive!”

With so much to be thankful for, there is so little to complain about.

Be thankful!