Sunday, November 27, 2005

what God gives us


Yes, I notice that I left out a line of the Johnny Appleseed grace. It actually says:
And so I thank the Lord
For giving me the things I need:
The sun, the rain and the appleseed;
But then I don't believe that God does give us everything we need, or in Julian of Norwich's words: "All will be well."

I try very hard to believe in God's abundance, particularly in the sense of not seeing life as a zero-sum game. But I also have seen friends who tried so hard to heal and make a life and just kept getting beaten down by more bad things happening. One friend in particular is at peace now, but I don't believe God gave her in her lifetime enough for her to find any way out of terrible suffering, even though she tried so hard for so long.

I don't like the theory that God doesn't intervene because that would take away our free will--follow that to its logical conclusion and you end up believing God never intervenes, and what use is that? I certainly don't believe that God sends us bad experiences for our own good (though we may in the end be able to extract good from them). So I end up believing that God does help us, but not enough. For some reason (something like it causes too much confusion if God goes around violating the laws of nature), God can't help us very much, but God tries and we can look for that.

I don't believe we are necessarily going to get what we need, only that we can focus on what God does give us. Barbara Crafton says today:
Live in the present, but live also in hopeful preparation for good things. That way, your happiness is increased: you get to anticipate delight and then you get to enjoy it.

Now, the reverse isn't true: we're never well served by dreading the future. It just ensures that we will experience every bad thing twice, once before it happens and then again when it does.
It isn't good logic, but looking on the good side I find helpful as a way to live.

1 comment:

Dave Trowbridge said...

Today in Meeting someone spoke these words in ministry, attributing them to Rumi:

"To ask for what we want is human, to accept what we are given is grace."