The Ultimate Complaint Department

Complaint, Statement, Clipboard, Letter
Pixabay

In the current climate of perceived self-privilege, “Karen-ism,” and taking personal affront to anything that we don’t like hearing or seeing, it’s easy to resort to complaining.  “I want to talk to your supervisor,” seems to be the general topic of hundreds of YouTube videos.  But be careful at complaining too readily. 

Sometime shorty before the siege and capture of Jerusalem in 586 BCE, the prophet Habakkuk had his go at the complaining game.  He calls on God to do something about the evil, injustice, and idolatry in Israel.   When he finished his litany of grievances, God replies.  God says that He knows of the corruption of the leaders, and of the problems that Habakkuk has laid out.  He continues to say that He will indeed act.  In fact, God will allow the Babylonians to come and conquer the land.

This response catches Habakkuk on the back foot.  “They are worse than we are!” is essential Habakkuk’s reply to this news.  God nonetheless tell the prophet that this is what will come to pass, but to remember that it is God’s hands, not in men.  He tells Habakkuk that the righteous will live by faith, and in His appointed time Babylon will be brought down and punished for their evil.

Sometimes the cure for ills is not in our comfort, or in our “rights and privileges.”   Personally, I think that the pandemic has proven that.  The greater good, such as masks or self-isolations, outweighed individualism.  This is not a polemic for blind acquiescence to governmental authority, but instead a call for us to keep perspective.  Like Habakkuk we can rest assured in the end God’s will shall be done.

For those who may still pondering governmental links (if so, sorry I brought them up), remember that the “woes” that Habakkuk cited: unfair economic practices, human exploitation, corrupt rule, and the worship of power, will all be remembered by God, and the perpetrators will be held accountable. 

Next time then, before you head to the Complaint Department, or demand a manager, remember to weigh the situation in perspective, and the possibility that you might not like the answer.


Padre

Rise From The Ashes

Sunrise, Beach, Ocean, Sea, Seascape

Rise with me from ashes

To build and start again

Putting reliance in the Saviour

And not in mortal men

Politicians they shall fail us

The rich seek but there own

But those of faith shall prosper

And achieve an eternal home

While this world seems bleak –

Full of darkness

And troubles seem immense

He will bear His children’s burdens

And true justice He will dispense


Padre

Better Times Ahead

Forest, Trees, Sunbeams, Snow, Ice, Wintry, Winter
Pixabay

In the bleakest of midwinters

On the coldest of cold days

The sun still keeps its promise

And light will have its way

No matter how drear the prospects

Or the forecasts doom and dread

Look for the light at the end of the tunnel

There are better times ahead


Padre

Reflections On A Star

Holy Three Kings, Holy, Kings
Pixabay

The conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn has just passed after an absence of hundreds of years. Some call this the Christmas Star or the Bethlehem Star. In this year of fires, floods, racial and social unrest, and a world-wide pandemic it is perhaps a time to take stock and to reflect on the story not of this planetary alignment, but of the star of the Gospel account. It was a harbinger of the coming of Emmanuel, God with us. It marked a transition in our relationship with the divine. The age of the Fall of Adam was coming to an end, and a promised saviour, the Messiah had come.

That did not mean that wars and rumours of wars, or fires, floods, and misfortune were coming to an end – 2020 surely shows us that. What it does say is there is a hope that is greater than those trials that is opened to us.

As I was reflecting on this I picked three YouTube videos to share which capture some of my thoughts. The first speaks of the coming of Emmanuel. The other two of the stresses and strains that Mary, the mother of Jesus may have faced in her obedience to God’s call. That obedience in the face of uncertainty and surely fears is a telling example for us all.

I wish all of you a happy Christmas, and pray that what ever the future holds for us, that we might cling to the Emmanuel – God with us.


Padre

Provision

For many months Elijah survived on water from the brook. – Slide 9
Free Bible Images

Sometimes it’s hard to see what to expect

When we look at our life ahead

Elijah from a brook did drink

And by ravens he was fed

This is no gospel of prosperity

That great wealth will your way slide

But rather that your needs are known

And God is on your side

As long as we have life and breath

Opportunities He will bring

For those who diligently trust in Him

And praises to Him sing


Padre

1 Kings 17

Like An Owl In The Night

Girl, Starry Sky, Evening Sky, Fairy Tales, Fantasy
Pixabay

When life around you presses in

Like the falling of the night

When stresses grow along with fear

Feel free to shed a tear

But do not linger on the despair

Do not be overcome by the gloom

For you are not ever alone

Even when by yourself in your room

There are those who pray for you

More than you can ever know

And angels – that your needs provide

Wherever your life may go

Above all – there is one

Who cares for each sparrow’s fall

And He watches over you 

Even in your despair and fright

Seeing all that goes on – like an owl in the night 

 

Padre

 

Matthew 10: 29-30

 

For Sally

Setbacks

Detour, Sign, Warning, Right, Arrow, Roadsign
Pixabay

We are facing a second spike of the Corona virus.   Just as life was beginning to look normal again, whatever that means, we have new lockdown restrictions, which impact our social activities, face to face worship, and our lives more generally. 

It is easy to get discouraged by such things.  Questions like “what now?” rise, and it seems that there is no relief in sight.

But I would like to look at a few individuals in the scripture, that their “improved” lives took backwards turns they might not have expected. 

Joseph in Genesis 37-50 is one of these.  I am not going to look at too many particular verses, but at an overview to make my point.  Joseph, while a younger son, had dreams in which there seemed to be clear prophecy that he was chosen for greatness.  These dreams suggested that he would have authority of his brothers, and in fact over his parents as well.  Things seemed rosy for Joseph.  Later he finds the favour of his father, and he is given a special garment, marking him out as the favourite.  Life was good to be Joseph, then the setback came.  His brothers in a fit of jealousy beat him and sell him into slavery. 

Does he fall into despair at this unexpected turn?  No.  He works hard and wins favour with his master.  He becomes the lead and most trusted servant.  All is good in being Joe again.

But then he comes to the attention of his master’s lustful wife, and being a man of integrity he resists.  False accusations follow and he is thrown into prison.  This time it looks like there is no way out.  Whatever happened to those dreams?  But even there he became favoured.  God remained with him, because he remained with God.  He eventually through more God-centeredness becomes all his dreams predicted, becoming second only to Pharaoh.

There is a lesson in this.  Exodus shows us the same in reverse as well.  God had rescued the Jews with a mighty hand through a series of plagues, and the parting of a sea.  But as soon as the people come up against adversity, they see only the problem, not the solution.  The spies had seen that the Promised Land was good, but all they reported back was the setbacks of walled cities and giants before them.  All except Caleb and Joshua.  They for their part experienced the promise. 

Do we look at situations, and only see what is wrong with them?  Job’s friends and wife were the same.  His blessed life took a detour as well.  But he trusted God, not curse him.  He received all he lost back and more.

The disciples were no different than the people of Exodus , or Job’s friends.   At what we call Palm Sunday, Jesus rode in triumph into Jerusalem.   All was looking up. But then came betrayal, trial, crucifixion, and death.  The disciples despaired.  The put themselves in a self-imposed lock-down (there’s that word again).  But it wasn’t the end of the story.

Romans 8:28 says it all – “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

We face the re-emergence new measures.  We see our forward progress, being set back. 

My pastor, back when I was a teenager, told a story about him in college.  He played football.  And in one game, with them trailing by only three points, he received a pass and dodged and weaved his way through the opposition.  Things were looking up, glory was on its way.  Well until he was tackled on the 3 yard line as time ran out.  He was at a Christian university, and as he returned despondent to the bench, his coach asked him a question that changed the course of his life.  He asked, “What does it mean in eternity?”

Our lives may be having setbacks right now, but remember ALL things work together for good!

Padre

Darkest (ABP 15)

Jesus, Altar, Light, Faith, Holy, Christ
Pixabay

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Things seemed hopeless

Things seemed bleak

Years of effort now crowned by defeat

Why had he left his childhood home

To as an itinerant the land to roam?

Just as all seemed filled with success

Betrayal and death left all plans a mess

But now a claim of a thing beyond belief

Made by comrades – while he suffered grief

How can their statements possibly be true?

For he saw the corpse and the burial too?

And as he said he will never believe

Jesus appeared – all his doubts to relieve

Padre

John 20

August Bible Poems #15