Time for Five Minute Friday, hosted by the illustrious and hardworking Kate Motaung. It's a five-minute writing exercise, based on a keyword, which this week happens to be...
People ask me, sometimes, <"Aren't you really upset that you're so sick, and that you're dying? Aren't you upset at the unfairness of it all?"
When I say No, they get puzzled...and sometimes they get mad.
Recently I was counting my blessings, and said, "Look, I've got a nice place to sit, a good book to read, a cold Monster Drink, and seven dogs within ten feet of me. What more could I ask?"
The reply I got was, "You could ask for good health, and the energy to do thie things you used to do, and..."
You get the drift. This individual was mad at me. I'm still trying to figure out the logic.
But the thing is, I'm not mad, or disappointed, or petulant at how unfair it is...or wondering if maybe I didn't do enough to placate God (there are some folks I might have offered as human sacrifices...hmmm...there's a thought...)
It's all about free will.
I am a Christian, and I believe that God created us for a purpose...He made us to share eternity with Him. Why? Maybe he got lonely. I don't know, but rest assured...I will ask.
Anyway, part and parcel of being able to become fit companions for the Almighty is that we choose is presence ourselves, and do do that...we have to have free will.
Not only that, we have to live in a world that operates on the basis of a kind of de facto freewill of its own...hence earthquakes and malaria and tsunamis and...cancer. I still feel superstitious about saying that out loud.
We're exposed to a World of Hurt, and how we react to it is a gauge of just how we exercise our free will.
Could God rescue me, cure me? Sure, but to do that would be to negate the whole point of the exercise. It would say that we're really puppets after all, and that God will save His favourite puppets from harm. So we'd better placate Him, and out comes the human-sacrifice list...
(As a quick aside...are there miraculous healings? yes, I believe there are, but I also believe...and I think this is pretty clear in the Gospels' context of healings...that they served a broader purpose...in other words, a healing was a means of communicating something, and the person healed was the medium at hand. And yes, that can be a purpose like showing the efficacy of petitionary prayer, so please, y'll, pray for me!)
So I'm not angry, because God has actually given me something better than a clean bill of physical health. He's given me the support I've needed to formulate an attitude of optimism and happiness, and to learn to see joy in every moment, even through this red haze of pain.
He didn't "do this for me", He didn't "give" me these things. I had to find them for myself, but at the back of each learning, lurking in the back of the classroom, so to speak, there He was, and occasionally He'd throw out a hint.
"You're getting warmer...no, colder...no, LOTS warmer..."
I had to use my free will to discover Joy, and the raod that leads to God, as the only way to overcome the free will of nature that's killing me.
And I choose, freely, to overcome it...every day.
Whew. That was a challenge.
We're also linked to The Weekend Brew.
Yaaay! Happy Dance! You've learned it! "By Jove, I think He's got it!" (except I cannot stand by that as it's taking Jehovah in vain...)
And? If we're paying attention, we'll get it too. It's not about us. Poor me or Blessed me, still the lens is on the wrong focus.
Your post brought such joy. And though I'm going to really miss you and your posts, I am delighted that some day, you will be free from the pain and endurance and you'll have the joy of saying it is finished.
And that petitionary prayer? Praying for you, dear brother.
P.S. I'm glad you made him mad. (or her) Death brings out the selfishness in us. We don't want to say goodbye. We are jealous of somebody going to heaven and being perfected sooner. We complain a lot about the work we do...even though His load is light and easy...we pile on a bunch of extras.
He came to set us free.
You delight the #fmf community, and I'm so glad you feel the support.
(#6 tonight. I really am your neighbor. *cue Mr. Rogers theme song*)
LOVE the "My Fair Lady" tie-in!Delete
I love this comment - you said these things so well, and it's a perfect addition. Thank you so much!
One day, yes, it'll be done...but I will fight to the last minute. Pain is, in the end, temporary. I want to stay, as long as I can. There is yet work to do.
And Mr. Rogers RULES!
"So I'm not angry, because God has actually given me something better than a clean bill of physical health. He's given me the support I've needed to formulate an attitude of optimism and happiness, and to learn to see joy in every moment, even through this red haze of pain."ReplyDelete
I've missed a whole week of work from the pounding in my head and the roiling in my stomach. I started to feel pretty low a few hours ago. Your words cheered me and reminded me to look to Christ. Thank you, brother!
You're welcome, Marie. I am so sorry to hear you haven't been feeling well...I was worried about you.Delete
And I am praying for you, every day.
"I had to use my free will to discover Joy." What a profound statement. And what a beautiful and inspiring post. May you continue to feel the goodness of God, even in the midst of pain. I will pray for you, brother.ReplyDelete
Karen, thank you so much for the prayers...and God is here. He's never abandoned me, not once.Delete
It may be a miserable experience in many ways...and it is...but He'll give me the tools to get through the next minute, and I trust Him for the minutes after that.
Thank you for being here, Karen.
I love it... JOY! Discovered.ReplyDelete
Kaitlyn, thank you! Truth be told, I get a lot of hope and joy from reading your words. You have that kind of rare and inspiring faith that I suspect moves mountains, when we're not looking.Delete
And thank you for being here.
dancing the happy dance of joy, with you, and for you. be blessed dear brother.ReplyDelete
Dancing with you, Denise, in my heart.Delete
Thank you for being here today.
I love this. We say going to live with Jesus is what we live for but few want to do it TODAY. What a joy it is to have that inner peace and strength that no matter what comes your way, like the Apostle Paul, you have learned to be content. I am still praying for you Brother, I know you will get your healing when you cross to the other side but I still believe in miracles here as well too, intended to bring Glory to the Lord and a witness to others.He is always in control. ♥ReplyDelete
Nannette, thank you so much! To be even remotely compared with Paul is such an honour!Delete
I do so appreciate the prayers. That I feel the love and support...it's part of my daily life.
And you might be interested in knowing that my favourite book is your namesake! "Nanette" is the title of Edwards park's WW2 memoir, and its a delight - engaging funny, and moving.
Here's the Amazon link - please have a look -
Okay Andrew, here goes. Send me your posts by email and I will edit each as I go. The format you are using may well suit some kind of daily devotion targeted at the audience to which you write. If that is so, as opposed to writing a non-fiction book, please confirm. I am not sure which is best and may engage you on that subject as we go, but you are the author and I must defer to your chosen delivery style. I will then edit on that basis and feedback using MSWord editing tools so you can view my proposed changes and accept or reject accordingly. I want you to get this powerful content out there as there are so many hurting souls that only you could reach. Lets trust God in that and trust Him to let you finish. Blessings, Pete -ReplyDelete
Pete, thank you. I will take you up on that. You're awesome.Delete
I think I can get your email by clicking your name - it should come up. I hope.
"I had to use my free will to discover Joy, and the raod that leads to God, as the only way to overcome the free will of nature that's killing me.ReplyDelete
And I choose, freely, to overcome it...every day."
Powerful words to live by. Thank you for sharing this beautiful post.
Debbie, thank you so much for being here. You're an inspirer.Delete
Inspirer...is that a word?
You're choosing to freely overcome it every day. Amen to that, Andrew! I pray for you as you do so. Great post, my friend.ReplyDelete
Julie, I really, really appreciate your prayers...and your blog is a consistent source of strength and hope for me.Delete
You are one of the most optimistic, bravest people I've ever met on-line. Privileged to know you. This is priceless gratitude: "Recently I was counting my blessings, and said, "Look, I've got a nice place to sit, a good book to read, a cold Monster Drink, and seven dogs within ten feet of me. What more could I ask?"ReplyDelete
Betsy, the privilege is mine, as well. In many ways I'm a mirror, honoured to absorb and reflect the light from my friends.Delete
Friends like you.
You're my hero.ReplyDelete
Susan...I'm overwhelmed. No one has ever said that to me before. Ever. You just made my day...no, wait. You just made 2015 for me.Delete
This is why I love to keep reading your words. This is classic-Andrew. Brilliant, realistic, faithful. You make us all a little bit braver.ReplyDelete
Oh, Lisa, thank you so very, very much. It's the life that I dearly love, because God gave it to me...and I can love it even when it's kinda broken.Delete
Like He loves us, when we're kinda broken?
This is my first time visiting your blog. I appreciate the optimism you show through your words. As Susan mentioned, you are a hero!ReplyDelete
Samantha, thank you so much for being here. I truly appreciate your visit, and your comment...thank you.Delete
I am humbled as I read your words here. Thank you for honesty, for letting your words spill so that in midst of the journey you are building foundations of grace. My uncle has decided to quit receiving Chemo treatments recently, my heart hurts in the reality yet every moment I spend with him, I see the glimpse of this joy that you write about, a peace-filled hope. It inspires me to live better. Praying for you today.ReplyDelete
Dawn, I'm honoured that something in my words helped you in coming to terms with your uncle's situation. I can feel the pain through your words, and I'll be praying for you.Delete
I sometimes think we can only fully appreciate joy when we understand the deep nature of pain and sorrow, and that there is a foundational link...one that I suppose God will show us, on that bright day when we see Him face to face.
What do you think?
And thank you for your prayers. They mean a lot, and the prayer support from this community has carried me through some pretty rough days.
Praying for you, Andrew. This was beautiful. God always knew you were up for a good challenge. :) I think He's using your challenge to "serve a broader purpose." And He's making headway. You bless me.ReplyDelete
Oh, Shelli, thank you! I'm deeply touched, and deeply honoured by your words, and by your prayers.Delete
What beautiful words. I know God must be looking on you with joy. God used this to remind me of the blessings I have right where I am sitting. I prayed for you,right now.ReplyDelete
Pamela, thank you so much for the prayer! I do feel the support that comes in from "out there"; Tennyson said it well when he said that by prayer the whole world is bound 'round the feet of God with golden chains. I lie that image.Delete
I hope you're right, that God's looking at me with joy...I am pretty sure that at least part of the time, when He looks at me, He rolls His eyes. Like last week when I accidently set my hair on fire. (Don't ask.)
Hmm...interesting use of 'accidently'...I mean, does anyone ever set their hair on fire intentionally? (Today's been a bit rough, and I find that humour helps!)
And thank you for being here. I appreciate your visit, and the comment.
To come to a place of having found joy in the midst of pain, you have arrived. Thank you for your openness and transparency. It's refreshing to read your words.ReplyDelete
Barbie, thank you so much. Part of the process is the ambience of prayer that has built up around me, that when others have been praying for me, joy becomes more accessible, easier to find and teasure. Does that make sense?Delete
I have a friend in my church that is, for intents and purposes, dying as well. He's a young dad of three--the oldest is about 5 or 6. I am praying that God removes the tumors in his brain, but I also know that this man and his wife have come to this place of acceptance as you have. I'm inspired by them and by you, Andrew. You are making the most of every day and every moment, my friend. What more could you or we ask for? Hugs to you!ReplyDelete
He'll go on my prayer list, Beth. I cannot imagine that level of pain and heartache and anxiety, to be facing that monster so young, and at that point in his family's life!Delete
And thank you for the hugs. Last few days have been a bit of a bother, and they're both needed and appreciated.