A Blank Look :: All Afflictions Apply

This picture impacts me profoundly.

Riiight… Why so profound? Good question. I sense a little back story is needed.

I was talking with one of the students in my dad‘s seminary class. I asked the question, “Does God create hard things, such as death, and sickness, and war, or does he simply use them? And what is the importance in the distinction?” He thought for a moment, then replied by showing me a passage from his Bible.

 And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28 ESV)

Also, this one.

This is the message we have heard from him and proclaim to you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all. (1 John 1:5 ESV)

Sickness, death, stubbed toes, worms in apples- are these things of the light? I think not. However, Romans 8:28 says that they are used. Used by he who never created or desired them for us. If you think about it, it’s brilliant. (And I say brilliant in the most British and intellectual sounding writing voice I can muster.)

Remember that post I did, way back when, about contrast? ( If you don’t, click “rutabaga stew“) I think the same concept applies here. Not only do sickness and death show the life that comes from Jesus, they point people to him. You’ve heard it a thousand times: What ingredient makes any food taste better? (No, not love.) Hunger! When you are hungry you can eat almost anything. When you are sick, you yearn to be healthy. And when you are dying, the thing you care most for in the world? Life.

Oh, and the cool thing? Check this out. This picture?

If you look past my weird, blank expression, my hat, which is falling off, and that glare in the picture frame in the top right corner, you’ll see my friend Josh Anderson. (The dude with the headphones.) Half-way through our meeting, Josh introduced himself to us as a Christian. He said he’d been listening to our conversation, and that it was an encouragement to him to see Christians openly talking about their faith in a public setting like the Bou.

And after we finished having this conversation about how God uses the hard things in life, and were getting ready to leave, Josh told us that he was in town because his mom was sick. She was having an eye exam, and there was a possibility that she had glaucoma. She might have to have surgery. She was sick. We stopped right there and prayed for Mrs. Anderson, someone we didn’t know and had never heard of before today. God uses the hard things.   

And He said, “My presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.” (Exodus 33:14 ESV)


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