I have learned, after 52 years of painful experience, not to shake my upright middle finger in the face of God. He does not appear to appreciate that very much, but then, that is completely understandable, because I don’t much like it either when it happens to me.
The last time I did it, that I can clearly remember, I said something along the lines of “I will go anywhere in the world God wants me to go EXCEPT for AFRICA or NEW YORK CITY.” Well. Here I sit, in AFRICA, writing this blog entry, and wondering (faintly, but with sure certainty) when I am going to be sent to New York City, because I am pretty darn convinced that’s coming up pretty soon, too.
Don’t get me wrong; I am not a missionary. Unless, of course, you consider teaching school a mission field, which many teachers the world over actually DO, even if they don’t admit it. The underlying reasons are much the same: make a difference in the world, help make the world a better place, make my contribution to the betterment of the world, etc., etc., etc. Sounds like missionary rhetoric to me, even if you are not allowed to actually mention God while teaching.
However, be that as it may, I am a reflective personality in that I ponder things that happen, searching for an underlying pattern, logic or plan. Increasingly with the advancement of age, I can see the hand of a higher being (one that I sincerely HOPE has my best interests at heart) at work in the seemingly random occurrence of events in my little, old, rinky-dinky life.
There have just been too (FAR, far too) many fortuitous happenings for this good fortune just to be the vicissitudes of karma, or random chance. I am not sure if trying hard to do your best each day counts in the grand scheme of things, and trying to live an ethical life that does not ‘do dirty’ or take advantage of other living beings carries any weight in the great cosmic scale of justice. I prefer to believe in a gracious God who takes into consideration the underlying motivation of His creatures to do no harm (at least those who espouse the hold-harmless view).
Even when there have been people who have been determined to do me wrong (husband’s ex, for prime example), somehow, their evil machinations have (so far) been countermanded to my (eventual) credit and gain. I have no explanation for these happenings other than divine mercy, because even though I try mightily to be a decent person, I don’t make the cut more days than not. Especially when considered in the light of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, when he explains that just THINKING evil is the same sin as actually COMMITTING it. Sheesh
Well, nobody said being a Christian was going to be easy, and I do NOT have sufficient control over my thought processes to prevent glorious, rapturous fantasies of various nefarious forms of revenge against this ……person…..and I use the term loosely. The Lord has not matured me to that point of thought control…yet…and I suspect the maturation might take longer than Johnnie Walker Blue’s years of ripe aging in the oak cask.
At any rate, trying to be good, with the help of God and prayer, not to mention Scripture, has worked out to be in my decided favor for the vast majority of experiences in my life, whether you believe in a God or in Karma, or in the Force, for that matter. I don’t think I EVER got a spanking that I did not richly deserve, and I know for a fact that I never got a traffic ticket that I did not richly deserve, either. So, based on personal anecdotal experience, God works for me, in both senses of the words. I do my best to work for him in grateful and humble gratitude for favors received, unearned and undeserved.