As most of you know, my youngest is on the work-my-butt-off track to rock stardom. He is passionate - driven - and talented. He'll get there, I believe that.
One of the things that entails is that he sings in lots of little out-of-the-way, dark, dive-y places around Oklahoma City, for little to no money. So, that, along with trying to graduate from high school, all of us working regular jobs and trying to help him reach his goal of spending a good portion of time in India later this year, figuring out how Brian can go for the first part of that trip, (and then, just for good measure, some emotional/relational/painful stuff thrown in) means it's a little nuts around here right now for all of us.
A couple of weeks ago, he had a show in OKC and I was meeting him there (already up there for work). He calls because he's missed an exit in unfamiliar territory, his engine light has come on, the car is acting really wonky (side note: we just paid nearly $2000.00 to fix this old car) and he's in the middle of rush hour traffic. We shortly got all that settled and him to a safe place, but in the conversation that followed he said something along the lines of, "I'm trying to do what's right, I've prayed about this, but it doesn't seem to matter and things always seem to go wrong because, apparently, God doesn't care about my car."
I didn't have an answer because, honestly? Honestly, I feel the same way.
Michael Wells used to say (to God), after a series of really unpleasant experiences that God was clearly strong enough and capable enough to intervene in, but did not - "THIS is why people don't like You!" I've been saying that a lot too.
Life is hard.
Life isn't fair.
He could intervene in our inconveniences, our problems, our sickness, our relational battles, our pain - yet, often, He does not.
So - after being struck by what Dylan said, realizing how strongly I also believed it, and meditating on that for a couple of days - I came to this conclusion --
God doesn't care about my car.
I think we've fooled ourselves into believing that if we're obedient, if we're faithful, if we follow the rules, God owes us a blessed life. (And by "blessed", I mean our definition - free of problems, sickness and trials, lots of money and beautiful, intelligent people surrounding us that always do things our way and make sure we feel good about ourselves at all times.)
"He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, rain to fall on the righteous and the unrighteous."
"In this world you will have trouble."
He doesn't care about my car - but He does care about me.
He's concerned with me becoming who He made me to be, becoming like His Son; with us living in relationship with Him and the community of faith, the Church; with us being light in a dark world, salt in a decaying world; beacons that point broken people to Jesus; the hands and feet of Jesus to the marginalized and vulnerable. And we don't learn that through a life that's always wine and roses.
How I react - what I learn - when the car breaks down in the midst of a life that doesn't have the time or the money to handle it - He's concerned about that.
Life is going to throw us crap. Everybody gets it. It varies from person to person, family to family, but we all get it. Righteous and unrighteous. Christ followers and not. Evil and good. We all get it. It's the result of living in a fallen, broken world. People hurt us, our bodies fail us, stupid people will never go away, our stuff breaks. None of it was meant to last - and none of it will.
But do we "mourn as those who have no hope?"
That's what God cares about. Who am I becoming in the midst of this crap-fest?
- Do I trust Him to show me how to have hope when there seems to be none
- Will I trust in the One who is enough when I am not
- Will I have the courage to be vulnerable again when I've been hurt for the thousandth time
- Will I continue to consider others when life's difficulties have made me want to just turn inward and live in perpetual self-pity
- Will I get up again when I've failed horribly, because I follow a God of redemption and second-chances
- Will I rest in the eternal when all things temporal fail me
I do believe He is determined to see us through to the end on THAT.
He cares about THAT.