Monday, 26 November 2012


Continuing on in the vein of my last post, I ended up writing a long and melodramatic tome on the providence of God. Watching the patterns emerge was hard; in some ways writing about it was almost as difficult. But also instructive in the way I've learned only hard lessons can be.

Anyone who has read a lot of Dickens knows he had an affinity for connecting everyone and everything in a nice loop at the end of his books. There were no coincidences and if you wondered what the hell was the point of discussing Jerry Cruncher’s grave robbing excursions, you just had to wait til the end of the story and you’d find out. Sometimes you have to wonder if God isn’t writing a Dickens novel and telling you the end would spoil it.

 As my motto says, God often works by contraries. Perhaps that's why James tells us to append "if the Lord wills" to any statement. We really don’t know what his secret plans are. And, as I've said, of all things we can be thankful to God for I think that’s one of the most valuable. We have no idea what he has in mind, only that it’s ultimately for some good. We pray earnestly to be conformed to the likeness of his son, to be used in some way, with no idea how he is going to answer those prayers. When he does, it’s usually in very surprising and sometimes unwanted ways. In my experience the times I see a definite answer have mostly been bone crushingly painful and I think “if I’d known this is what he was going to do I would have taken it all back”.

As I have often said, we go along brokering little deals with God, ignorant to the fact that he isn’t in the contract business and his silence isn’t acquiescence. Until we get to the point where he’s supposed to keep his end of the bargain, and he reneges. As we ride along one way, thinking "the Lord's SO in this" He turns. Hard. It's like how when you learn to ride a bike and take a turn too fast resulting in the bike going one way and you another. It ends with a thudding stop at the ground, a face full of dirt and many tears. The value is in what you learn from it.

It’s been a decade of learning from the fall. I think about the person I was then, and I know that without the falling down, I could never become the person I am. I know that God has been working providentially in all things to answer my immature prayers; they are too coincidental in the Dickensian sense to be anything else. And too painful and hard. It’s kind of amazing how he pushed and pulled me through it all to make the new me.  I would have never been able to do what I am doing now at 24. Would never have been able to be the person I am now. And part of me still laments that it took everything that it did to make me grow up. I know that it’s not all about me, but in the end these little things are how he brings us closer to him. And I want to thank him for all the hell he brought into my life that I could be outfitted for heaven. Working in contraries again.

**Then I wrote a bunch of what turns out to be insignificant details to advance the thesis. Let it be known that it was advanced. "Testimonies" often become hopelessly narcissistic and the forest becomes lost for the trees. But I have to give credit where credit is due, and as James said, know it was the Lord’s will that I would do this or that thing. He had and has bigger plans than me making it through the last ten years. Obviously I am to work for the good of my neighbours in my vocation, and in so doing become a mask of God and a means by which he acts providentially in their lives. He will make the differences through my small gestures of kindness. He will conform others to the likeness of his Son.

It’s pretty staggering when you realize that everything you’ve gone through isn’t just for your benefit but for the benefit of others. That he is going to keep that cycle going and continue to glorify his name in all the earth. And it’s like man. Despite how many times I showed up in the story, it’s nothing but a footnote in a serial. This wasn’t about me at all. I am Jerry Cruncher robbing graves.