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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

There is Enough Evil in the Crying of the Wind

How would you rate yourself as an optimist on a scale of 1 ("everything that can go wrong will go wrong") to 10 ("every cloud has a silver lining")? 2. When you go on trips, are you a plan-it-for-months type, or a pick-up-and-go type? Is the rest of your family like you? Does this make travel easy or hard? (Serendipity Bible 10th Anniversary Edition, page 1067). 

And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." (Matthew 6:28-34 NIV).

Jesus speaks of the raiment of flowers and compares them to the splendor of the clothes of a king. We can also speak of the courage of Solomon. Look at migrating birds and their courage to venture forth in flight, if God so encourages the birds, cannot he also encourage both kings as well as us? 

A resilient question is when does faith transmute from penetrating and wise faith into blind and irresponsible faith? Do we wish God simply to save us from work and the exertion of effort—or to save us despite all the work we do? I much prefer the latter faith. The migrating bird is not given faith that if he sits on the ground and does nothing he will somehow end up in warmer lands, the bird is given faith that if he earnestly spreads his wings in flight, the Lord will help direct him to better climes.

So also, some brands of optimism are more worthy than others. The question always is, does the optimism have wings or is it just slothful thinking? Sometimes we are required to launch forth when no clear and detailed maps of where we must go are available. Even so, especially so, we must make our best effort to provide for possible contingencies, and trust--even have faith--that our best efforts will be honored by God. Obviously, if where we are going has already been mapped out and thoroughly reconnaissanced, the task is more easily defined.

This is why it is seldom helpful to indulge in the blame game when uncharted territory is being explored. "Gotcha" indulgences are not attractive when it was not possible to provide in advance for all, often initially inconceivable, consequences. The question preferably becomes how now to be helpful rather than hurtful given the realities that have developed? Of course the story of Moses comes to mind in which he had to deal with the gripes of his people following their exodus from Egypt.

"The heavenly kingdom, righteousness, and God's will" almost by definition often leads us into uncharted seas. That is why the tone and spirit of love is so important during these times. What we know by God's grace is helpful in spirit serves to counterbalance our ignorance of place. Uncharted seas make it incredibly easy to be mean-spirited and to take cheap shots. It is God's mission for us to do and to be otherwise.

He Reproves The Curlew

O CURLEW, cry no more in the air,
Or only to the water in the West;
Because your crying brings to my mind
passion-dimmed eyes and long heavy hair
That was shaken out over my breast:
There is enough evil in the crying of wind. 

~~William Butler Yeats

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