Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Narrow Paths

We discussed the story of Hosea and Gomer in small group tonight.  One of the questions was something about if following God is easy or hard.  I felt a little off tonight and was barely listening so I'm not sure how it was phrased, but they were asking if anyone had done what they thought God was asking them to do only to find that life got more difficult.  I was pretty determined not to speak tonight, but our group leader (who knows my story pretty well) asked me directly.  I really don't remember what I said, I'm sure it didn't make sense, but I do know I said something about making sure my son knows that following God isn't always going to be roses.  I stand by that, but I also want to make sure that he knows that submitting to God's will for his life is exactly what he should do and is in his best interest.  

I think its important to let your kids know that following God is sometimes going to be very difficult.  God is very big and very smart and we are very small and very dumb.  We don't get it, ever.  Stuff doesn't make sense and that's difficult sometimes.  If you tell your kids that Christianity is all slingshots and giant boats and jackets made with many colors the world is going to show them that you get hit with rocks, eaten by whales, and throw into pits.  Its hard to make sense of a God that's all love and cake and rainbows from in the belly of a big nasty fish.  You need to show them as much of God as possible, even the parts that make us uncomfortable.  You don't need to make excuses for or downplay anything about who God is.  Life will show them eventually and it'll be easier if you have already painted an accurate picture.

I feel like I've learned a lot about God in the past few years.  They have been difficult years.  There is very little I would change about them.  When God gave me aviation, called me to it, I thought it was a way out of the depression I had been sliding in and out of since dad died.  I thought it would be easy, I should have known better.  I grew up watching my dad fight through one professional setback after the other, plus I knew by then that the really important lessons are never easy to learn and you have to work at anything worth doing and fight to keep anything worth having.

When God called me to fly (I have no doubt its a calling, apparently not everyone who is called has to be a preacher or missionary) I was in a bad place.  I had fallen a long way into the bottom of a very big hole.  It was dark and I was injured - injured bad.  Broken and bloody I thought I might die there - I couldn't see a way out.  I would love to say that God put a Cessna 172 down there and I was able to fly myself out, but it hasn't gone like that so far.  He showed me a path.  Its a small, steep path littered with obstacles and slippery places and I am still nursing some pretty nasty wounds, but I'm on the path and that gives me hope.  In the bottom of that hole there is no hope and there can be no joy.  The path out is difficult but it provides hope and joy becomes a possibility.  I guess what I'm trying to say is that I bitch a lot, but I'm pretty happy with where I am.  I don't want to stay here, I want to go farther but I'm happy to be on the path God has set in front of me.

One other small thing:  Something was said tonight about the bad things being the way we know what is good.  Like if we never had anything bad happen we would be able to be thankful.  There was a follow up statement about bad being the norm or seeming like it making the small glimpses we get of good being real pictures of who God is.  Again, I'm off tonight and wasn't really paying attention, but I think this is a little backwards.  We are created in the image of a perfect God with eternity breathed into every beat of our hearts.  We respond so strongly to death and injustice and poverty and pain because we were never meant to experience them.  We should be naked in paradise, in perfect communion with our creator.  I'm sure this is all just semantics, but I still think its important.  Creation is good, life is good, God is good.  Darkness needs to light to define it, light and love and good stand alone.