Friday, October 27, 2006
Still Not in Costa Rica
The morning of my departure dawned gloriously sunny, and it occurred to me that although I was taking a trip to a tropical country, I might regret the timing. The leaves around here were shaping up to be pretty spectacular; I had spent the last few days before taking walks surrounded by blue sky and fiery leaves, and dodging acorns, which, by the way, can be rather threatening little objects. I wanted to write a blog incorporating the phrase “the land of falling acorns,” because it sounds so romantic but really just means if you park your car outside, you can expect a lot more dings in the roof the next morning. Only at the time I was embroiled in the women/church/leadership issue and didn’t feel up to it.
In the meantime, I was heading to a warmer country that was having its rainy season. This entire year has been a rainy season here, really, and I wasn’t too sure how happy I was to be giving up some actually-sunny days. Nevertheless, I thoroughly enjoyed the ride to the airport. The cab driver was a Tanzanian with dreds (is it “dreds” or “dreads,” by the way?) and that accent that makes every utterance sound wise, whether it is or not. He was both voluble and aphoristic, and we talked about missionaries and faith and materialism. At one point when I said I had been a missionary in London, he said, with the sound of one raised eyebrow in his tone of voice, “But aren’t we all children of God?”
I said I thought we were. But I also said that not all children relate to their parents. If God’s everybody’s Father, well and good, but He gives us the choice to actually relate to Him or not. There’s been a rift between us, and He sent us Jesus to reopen communication. Still, we don’t have to accept the offer of peace. (In thinking about this later it occurred to me that if we reject the offer of peace and God forced us to come to live with Him in Heaven anyway, it would be like being forced to live at home with parents we hated, I think.)
Tanzanian-Cab-Driver tentatively agreed with that, and then pointed out that most people just go to God when they’re in trouble. I agreed, too, and observed that, if they do that and things don’t go well, they blame God.
“Yeah,” he said. “But really, for God there is no ‘bad time.’ It’s all just equal to Him. It might seem like a bad time to us, but to Him, we’re still learning something and we weren’t learning it under normal circumstances.” (Brian H will be relieved to know that he did not follow this up by saying, “It all good.” I kept waiting for him to, but he didn’t.)
It did sort of hit me, though. I mean, I don’t think that’s completely right, because I think the Bible is sort of a diary of God’s pain, and I think it’s pretty clear that a lot of His pain is closely tied into and a result of ours. (A thought which is pretty intense and crazy in its own right.) but on the other hand, it does seem like that would explain a little of why He allows the stuff He does. On some level, maybe He really doesn’t see things as “a bad time” or “a good time” the way we do. Maybe to Him “a bad time” is when we’re so comfortable we take our lives for granted, and a “good” one is when we’re grabbing onto His lapels, screaming “WHY?” into His face at the tops of our lungs.
Still mulling this over. Still being hit by how unlike “my ways” God’s ways are . . .