Friday, March 6, 2009


“Dang!” “Freakin’ heck!” “What the stink?!” “Stupid Laurie!” “Man alive!” “Can you believe it?” “Good thing I don’t have a gun, or…!”

No, I haven’t gone completely mad…well, I guess the jury’s still out on that…but, I have just let you into my thoughts for a glimpse of what has been going on inside them since yesterday (and unfortunately on a somewhat regular basis).

As we’ve been here now close to two weeks, we’ve had the incredible privilege of being invited in to many of these dear Bajans’ stories. I don’t take that lightly. It really is a privilege. And, in hearing stories, you always get a glimpse of GRACE (being Jesus) in its grandest demonstration. But, unfortunately, you also sometimes get to hear about some incredibly painful journeys, and in entering into their story, you often will feel their struggle. Still, it’s miraculous; but sometimes, it just plain ticks me off. Yesterday was one of those times when the glorious met the ridiculous, and my thoughts have been tulmultuous ever since. The details of the story are unnecessary, but suffice to say, humans were involved and it wasn’t pretty.

Then, this morning, having slept only about 4 ½ hours, I awoke feeling that same “ticked offedness” I’d gone to bed with…not the way I usually enter a new day. So, I got my coffee (the nectar of God Himself) and headed out to what’s become my favorite place in Barbados – our balcony. As I sat, watched, listened, and breathed in the fresh (and thankfully cool – we had some rain early) morning air, I felt a sense of calm come over me. And a little later, a beautiful rainbow appeared in the sky, and I knew Father was speaking directly to me.

I know that I cannot change the world; I figured that out sometime ago. However, I sometimes still believe that if people would only listen to me, I could make it a better place for us all. So in my mind I pen letters to those who I think should be told that they are wrong, off the track, or just plain stupid. In my fantasies they receive the letter with open hearts, teachable spirits, and an immediate desire to heed my counsel. It’s glorious! And then I wake up to reality…and I realize that I’ve just become part of the problem.

That’s gotten me thinking…pondering…and even processing a bit about three words: Arrogance (offensive display of superiority or self-importance), ignorance (being uneducated, unaware, or uninformed), and providence (the foreseeing care and guidance of God). Each of these words holds within them an incredible description of the human journey.

We experience personally in our own actions, and those of others, the results of man’s attempt to live life separate of God. Sometimes, that’s just pure arrogance – we really believe we know how to manage our lives and in doing so, often neglect to care for others. Pretty darn arrogant! Sometimes, we really don’t know any better (we’re ignorant), but still, it affects others, and sometimes painfully so. We don’t mean to hurt people, but, we do. Ah, the paradoxes of life.

I’m much more gracious towards those who hurt me, or the people I love, out of ignorance. I can relate to “not having a clue” and how that can sometimes mean I say or do rather stupid things. But, it wasn’t intentional, so I more quickly move on. However, when I judge that someone (or myself) has acted out of an arrogant notion that we know better and you are “less than,” it’s a lot harder to let it go. And soon, I’m seated on God’s throne, pronouncing an eternal sentence of condemnation. I know, it’s really quite yucky, isn’t it?!!!

In the midst of all this mess, I sense inside me a movement of the Spirit towards another word to think about. Providence…not a commonly used word, really. I mean in some circles it comes out now and then, but it’s not really an “everyday’er” – if you know what I mean. But, over the years, I’ve really come to love this word (even though I often forget I’ve even heard before). It gives me rest to know that it’s a reality – the foreseeing care and guidance of God. But, what about when…?

There’s the quandry, the “buts” of life. How can God be being “providential” when people and circumstances are so ridiculously painful? That’s not caring! That’s not having foresight and offering guidance! Really? I wonder if we’ve missed it. I know I have. I want to do define providence as “God makes my life nice and pain free!” Now that’s a good definition. But what if God’s definition is entirely different and requires a heart of trust to see it for what it truly is? I’m not so sure I like where this is going…

The old children’s song, Jesus Loves Me, just came to mind.

“Jesus loves me, this I know
For the Bible (and the spirit within me) tells me so
Little ones (and big ones) to Him belong
They are weak (uh, oh!), BUT He is strong.

I’m thinking that providence might take me out of the picture in terms of my ability to affect anything (or really, anyone) that Jesus loves. Yes, my arrogance and ignorance can cause great pain in my relationships, but God has not turned away from me, or the person I’ve hurt, and said: “Well, that’s life, my dear, get over it, or fix it!” No, He’s right there in the middle of my pain, strong in my weakness (whether as the hurter or the hurtee) and He tells me He loves me, even as He walked me into (His divine guidance) this painful place. Ouch!

So, for me, that’s where my thoughts have left me…I think I like providence a lot more than the other two. I think I’ll bank my trust in Father’s ability to care for me, and those I love deeply, with much greater concern and understanding that even my best idea can conjure up. Hmmmmm…

1 comment:

  1. Profound! I too struggle with this arrogance, albeit with good intentions... it's nice to be reminded that God is the only one who can truly change the world, and yet he lets us decide for ourselves! Still, as we are made in His image, can the strongest of us really keep ourselves from trying to do His work?