I am not a big “give up for lent” person. I have done it in the past. Gave up chocolate, but continued to eat other junk. Gave up t.v., just spent more time on line. That is all I can even remember of my lent experiences…
I get Lent, I understand the point of it, but I think many of us easily fall prey to the mentality of “give something up, complain, live life like usual”. I hear a LOT about what we give up, but not a lot about what we are accomplishing by giving up. Just like Church… how may people go out of routine, or because they have too? How many people are Sunday Christians? But I digress…
Enough about my opinions (judgement?) of others… here is what I have been thinking about these first few days of Lent…
A friend of mine was considering giving up facebook. I told her to forget it because when she is on FB she helps the rest of us be better people. We then starting talking about “adding” something for lent. Like devotions, or reading the Bible. Another friend jumped in and said “How about stories of how God is working in your life? We are all passionate about children so can we write about how we see God through vulnerable children?” Well I was caught up in the excitement (as were a few of us) and we committed. I figured it would be easy. And day one, on my way home from work at about 8:30 pm, I figured out my story. It was a good one and I posted it on facebook and about 75 people “liked” it! It felt pretty genuine.
Here it is in case you are not my facebook “friend”
4-5 years ago I met with a couple who wanted to adopt a very very sick boy with Down Syndrome, from overseas. We were told by specialist here and there that this boy would likely not survive a plane ride home and if he did would need a heart and lung transplant. Tonight I spent time with this family and their 4 year old son, who not only survived the ride home, but is super healthy. I watched him grab a microphone on stage at Church to sing and dance because, in his words, “when I grow up, I want to be a rock star!” This couple believed that God created their son for a reason, and now, because of their faith, we all get to see, first hand, that reason.
Then came day 2. It was a rough day. A day where I saw kids hurting. Where I saw parents hurting. Where I was caught up in details and always adding to my checklist and never crossing off. I also am reading a book about slavery, which brought me to a bunch of questions I had about slavery, which just made me feel sick to my stomach about the human race. Particularly the races in which I descended from. So 9pm rolled around and I figured I better put up my story. And I could not come up with one. Then I thought I could just post something, anything really, and say God was a part of it. But then I realized I would be lying… or at least faking it. And that seemed even worse than not posting anything.
See here is the deal. I am not a big believer in “God Things”. I do not in anyway say that to offend ANYONE, and really appreciate people who have that much faith. But for me, I just get a bit cynical. Cause why would God orchestrate something so important to one person, yet leave another person hungry, beaten, cold, sick. I just don’t think He could choose like that. And I don’t think that those hungry, beaten, cold and sick people are any less faithful than a “blessed” person. Simply put, if I see God working in somethings, blessing people, than I also see Him not working in other things. And I don’t think God chooses. I don’t think people suffer so we can learn a lesson or so we have an opportunity to help.
So here is what I believe. I believe God created us in His image. I believe God created this world. I believe He gives all of us the capacity to do good, to be Christlike and to appreciate what we have. I think God created this world so that we have the ability to make things right and fair and loving for all people. And I know we are fallen, and this we are working against worldly things. I believe that Satan just sits back in his recliner watching football because we have created a world in which it is so easy to sin, to be selfish, to covet, to hurt, to worship other gods. He does not even need to try.
And I believe in miracles. And I believe there is evil, something far beyond sinful nature.
I am certainly not asking anyone to agree with me, I am just explaining me.
So where does that leave me with my Lent challenge? I know I can not “fake it” and I know I need to try extra hard to see God at work. So I guess that brings me to the conclusion that every day I will look. Not for “God Things” but for Christ-like qualities in people. For Christ-like actions. For the Fruits of the Spirit. And I have to be o.k. with missing a day. Not because I did not think of something, but because I would rather be honest about my observations that make something up to impress you all.
If you would like to follow a few of my friends doing the same thing here are the links: