Sunday, July 29, 2012

This Harsh World, The Butterfly Effect and The End of the Story

These last few weeks have been hard to process. I feel overwhelmed with the realities of this world. The reality that this is a hard and sad, broken place. The shootings in Aurora, the continued genocide in Zimbabwe, the attacks on men standing firm in what they believe, the selling of people and the list can go on and on. I strongly believe with all that I am that we serve a Good and Merciful God. And yet in times like this I can doubt and question where is His goodness when we need it most.

I'll never cease to be amazed at how my God answers me. It was all over everywhere. As I questioned and shook my fists and asked "why?" and "how could you let this be?", He gently answered me over and over again

As I asked these questions with tears in my eyes, He reminded me of the book I had finished on the beach a few weeks ago. This man full of God given wisdom wrote:

There is but one good; that is God. Everything else is good when it looks to Him and bad when it turns from Him.” The Great Divorce by C.S. Lewis.

Yes. I remember. But I was still having trouble with what that bad is allowed to get away with sometimes. But we have been given the gift of choice. Human kind can choose if we want to turn towards Him or away. He wants us to choose what is best for us but He'll allow us to make our own choice even if it is against His will for our lives. Our choices effect others. 

That same day I came across this mother's blog. She was in that theater that night with her teenage daughters. She said she had the chance to back out of going that night, to just let her 14 and 16 year old go on their own, but she felt she should go. She knows now why. She also said maybe she was spared for a reason. That maybe that reason was just to answer the questions that kept being asked of her "So you STILL think that God is a merciful God?!".  Her words were what I needed to hear. Not just this blog post but her response to all those who questioned her. She wrote this post, telling her readers (and there were over a million because her words were passed around the cyber world pretty quickly) that her believing God is merciful  by no means is meant to diminish other's losses or negate the tragedy of that horrible night or makes herself more important than those who didn't survive. She, on no sleep, is telling us that God doesn't cause the evil but He can bring peace in the midst of evil. She said:

God is always good. Man is not. Don’t get the two confused. We will continue to praise and worship our mighty God, anticipating that He will bring beauty from ashes, as only He can do.

Sometime during that same week I got back into my audio book. Ann's book that I've read twice and now wanted to listen to. Sunday morning after the shooting I listened to Ann tell the story of the conversation with her brother-in-law, a man who buried two baby sons. She asked how he can call God good after all he's been through. His response, even though I've heard it twice before, startled me. I had to rewind and listen again. He said that question makes him think of that story in the bible, he can't remember from what book (it's 2 Kings, somewhere around chapters 18-24), where King Hezekiah prayed for longer life. God gave him 15 more years. In those years Manasseh was born. And it says Manassah's sins led the Israelites to receive grave  consequences. They wound up being conquered by Babylon and being made into slaves. A nation was scattered. This wise brother-in-law said he doesn't know how his story ends, and he's not saying anything either way, but...

...But...only God knows how the story will end.

I think on these words hard and then that night I sit next to my husband as he flips through channels and leaves the tv on a movie. I've seen this movie years ago but I don't remember it. We decide to watch it and stay up way too late. It was The Butterfly Effect. If you haven't seen it {spoiler?}, it's about a man, Evan, who has black-outs and a tough life. When he's grown he realizes through his journals he can remember what he's blacked out. During these memories he can change the past and therefore change the outcomes and the impact on his life and the people around him. Guess what....every time he changed something, every time he "fixed" a horrible situation, the out comes were worse. It always came out worse...

See Evan didn't know how the story was going to end. He could only see the present and the past, not the future.

And here is yet another story God put in front of me: A pastor shares Petra's story. Petra was in theater 9, at that midnight showing. It was another post that went viral. Millions read these words. Petra was shot in the head. She survived. And she awoke after surgery to remove  bone fragments, reletively unharmed. See, Petra had a birth defect that she never knew about. She had a small fluid filled channel in her brain. The bullet hit that channel and spared her life. The canal, the "defect" directed the bullet right through her brain. This still bring me shivers. He knew. Her Maker knew, as Petra (whose name means rock) was being  fearfully and wonderfully made, that she would be in that theater that awful night and that this would save her life.

One of the commenters on that blog shared the truth that the ones who died weren't not saved. Bringing His children home to Heaven IS saving. And we don't know the end of the story. 

Just last night I listened to another chapter in Ann's book. She, too, talked of how there is so much pain and hurt in the world. She wondered if this keeping a log of gratitude, thanks in the simple things, somehow negated the real hurt in this world, trivialized the heartache others felt. 

Then she said it was BECAUSE of that pain that we need to give thanks for all these gifts that are given. She said this world doesn't need more anger or shaking fists, that the way to honor others' pain is to thank God for all His grace.

This world doesn't need anymore anger.

Those words sit long with me. raising my fists to God only adds anger to a hurting world. I know this. I remember this. I lean hard and long into my God and thank Him for how He speaks to me. And I remember....

We aren't the authors of this life. We don't know how this story ends.

He does.

He knows.

And He is always Good

And He always loves us.

We can rest in that.


  1. I just purchased a copy of "The Great Divorce" myself. I'm really looking forward to reading it.

    1. @ Anonymous, Tell me what you think of the book.

  2. I didn't like the book as much as I anticipated. I found it, at times, unnecessarily confusing and difficult to follow. It did shed some light on a concept described to me as God's economy. I still struggle with this concept, as Moses did when he issued a decree of divorce ( assumingly with His guidance and/or approval) to combat people choosing murder over adultery. This is all, well mostly, new to me. I'm just reading, trying to gain better understanding.

  3. Do you think the wording or subject matter was confusing? I just found so many lines of truth in that book, worded so well:

    “If we insist on keeping Hell (or even earth) we shall not see Heaven: if we accept Heaven we shall not be able to retain even the smallest and most intimate souvenirs of Hell.”

    “No natural feelings are high or low, holy or unholy, in themselves. They are all holy when God's hand is on the rein. They all go bad when they set up on their own and make themselves into false gods.”

    “There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, "Thy will be done," and those to whom God says, in the end, "Thy will be done." All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. Those who knock it is opened. ”

    “A sum can be put right: but only by going back till you find the error and working it afresh from that point, never by simply going on.”


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