Monday, January 03, 2005

Balancing Act

A number of years ago, there was a man in our church who would sit in Sunday school and whenever anyone mentioned their trials, pains or pitfalls he would reply, "Just offer it all up to God."

I mean every time someone opened their heart and let their sorrows spill forth he would reply, "Turn it over to God."

I thought he was going to be the first person to be strangled in Sunday school.

I was wrong. He eventually joined another church.

God will find a way.

All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Yes, I know that's how I ended yesterday's posting...but that hymn has been on my mind quite a bit lately in part because I've been thinking about balance.

Only a few weeks ago, Amy sang that hymn impromptu at the gravesite of our friend Barbara, who would be celebrating her birthday today...and yesterday we sang the same song in church. Barbara's husband stood across the aisle from me singing too.

Following services yesterday my stepson Joey mentioned how he realized as we were singing that sometimes what we need is not necessarily want we want, but God still has been faithful in providing those things for us too...even if those things are painful.

An astute observation for a 21 year old and I am aware that it presents further proof that he and I have no genetic link.

The idea that God not only allows pain but sometimes might even provide it is certainly not the popular image of God. God is love...not pain.


Please don't mistake what I'm saying. I am a believer that we must submit our burdens to God, but I'm given to believe also that God expects us to learn. I think there can indeed be a divine purpose to pain and suffering. I'm suggesting that oftentimes that purpose is to help us understand our own humanity and then God expects us to act upon it.

As I was walking earlier this evening I saw a couple of children and their parents outside - welcome to January in San Antonio our low tonight will be in the 60's - as the kids tried out the Razor scooters or bicycles they had received for Christmas. In each instance the children were wobbly and at times quite a bit out of control, but the parents stood steadfast giving them room to succeed...or fail.

I don't know anyone who ever learned to ride a bike without falling.

I believe God is like those parents on many occasions; foreseeing what's ahead for me, knowing it may indeed be painful, but also knowing it's the only and perhaps the most expedient way I will learn how to find balance in my life.

And when I find that balance I will be able to walk, run, or maybe I'll ride a bike or scooter at full speed into His waiting arms.