Thursday, February 27, 2014

Pop-Tart Puppet

(Above, an unrelated video in which our family guinea pig is cleverly disguised as a Pop-tart.)

So there we were eating our breakfast and my son's Nutella-covered Pop-tart fell in his lap and soiled his pajama shirt. He is not one to handle frustration very calmly so when I told him not to cry over spilt milk I was surprised that he considered what I was saying. I told him that a Pop-tart can't MAKE him mad. Is he a Pop-tart's puppet? Can a Pop-tart make him cry? Can a Pop-tart make him sing and dance? Who is the boss of his actions and emotions?

A few weeks ago a teenage student of mine, who I know has had a very traumatic childhood, hounded me to explain how a God who allowed so much suffering to happen to her could be "True". My answer at the time stank and so I have really thought about this a lot.

But now I would say it is all about the Pop-tart thing. In some cases, maybe in many cases, God does keep bad things from happening to us. Many times He does not and it isn't for us to completely understand why. 

"For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the Lord."
--Isaiah 55:8

So while Christianity doesn't give us the ability to bend life's circumstances completely to our liking, it does allow us to bend our liking to our circumstances. It gives us a way to respond constructively to everything that happens in life. It gives us words of praise and thanksgiving. It gives us a guide for our own behavior in response to whatever the behavior of others toward us may be. It gives us a purpose and good use for our suffering as well as good company with which to share it (Jesus and the saints).

Without this, we are powerless puppets of an outside world that tries to shape and break us. With it, we are victors over life's blows and can tap into an endless source of peace, hope and mercy.

Pop-tart, Schmop-tart.

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