Making the Best of Things

As usual my mind has been full of things all week- some personal, some sad, some encouraged and just some incredulous wondering if our country can survive the viral and destructive idiocy that has eaten away at what’s left of our nation.

Looking around the net the past few days, searching for inspiration or at least something interesting to post here has left me kind of empty even though there is so much going on. There are plenty of things to write about for sure, but people have heard it all already and there’s really nothing left to be said.  Or is there?

This may be one of my notorious rambling stories but as with a lot of things I write, dots connect somehow and I hope you’ll bear with me as I try and form a complete thought.

While we like to keep things more positive on the HB, we also like to post things that make people think, or see a different perspective on current events, no matter how negative they might be.  In my net search I came across an article, which kind of summarizes my thoughts on all the recent protest clashes between far right and far leftist groups, and a discussion I had with someone about a republican talking head’s suggestion on FOX news that antifa should be designated a terrorist group.

I disagreed for numerous reasons but I was basically called ignorant and a hater because I’m not exactly a fan of President Trump; this coming from someone on ‘our side’ which has been happening often in the past 2 years.  It didn’t seem to matter that I have valid reasons for disagreeing, that while all of us have something to say and we want to be heard, no one is listening. We are so focused on our own perceptions, our own feelings and so many people are frustrated and angry, that everyone on all sides only shouts louder.

I’m not trying to point fingers or make people assume things, because I’ve done much of the same sometimes. Even though I try and understand where others’ are coming from, it’s not always easy to agree to disagree when we all assume an offensive, then aggressive attitude.

Pettiness, arguing, perceived offenses are tearing us apart.  If anything is going to help us from destroying ourselves, besides a Holy Spirit led revival, it has to start with us. Even then, it can’t change things if people aren’t willing to remember we’re not the enemy, and that when it comes to basic human ideals, we all want the same thing- to live free, pursue our dreams and raise our families. That we have different political, social and religious ideas is important, but not what divides us if we remember that we’re all human made in the image of God.

I know that there will always be a worldly based drive from people with an agenda, yet looking at our own communities rather than through the eyes of what the media tries to show (and I’m talking about from the left and right)  our America and theirs are two completely different places.

I wrote an article a couple of weeks after Michael died in December 2014. I started it off with the following verse, To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven… A time to weep and a time to laugh; a time to mourn and a time to dance…   Ecclesiastes 3:1, 4

At that time our country was being torn by another set of community organized, political and media driven race protests while personally, a huge part of my life had been torn from me. Even then I didn’t know how much more would be taken from me over the next few months, but I feel the same now as I did then when it comes to seeing two Americas.  So much has changed since then politically, socially and personally, yet so many things remain the same.  Actually no, they aren’t quite the same- they are hyped up the same, involves the same players, the same driven narrative but everything is more intense now than it was then.

Where is it all leading us?  The more people shout at each other, elites behind the political/ideological curtain keep us preoccupied as they get their demonically inspired systems set for their version of utopia.

Until then, what is going to happen in our country if we don’t all calm down and look around us?

As you all know, my favorite books besides the Bible is the Lord of the Rings trilogy by Tolkien. One of my many favorite parts is when things look the worst for Frodo and Sam as all hope seems lost.  The conversation goes thus,

I can’t do this, Sam.

I know. It’s all wrong. By rights we shouldn’t even be here. But we are. It’s like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn’t want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it’s only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn’t. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.

What are we holding onto, Sam?

That there’s some good in this world, Mr. Frodo… and it’s worth fighting for.

Politicians, people in power, the media would all have us believe there is nothing good left, that we’re all horrible oppressive, bigoted, intolerant yahoos who need their version of government to fix and save us.  But we ought to know better. No political system of either party is going to save us – even if Cruz had won the election, the world would still be spiraling towards the end, division would still be a part of things and evil would still abound.

But- there is some good in the world, though it’s not noticed near enough by the masses who suck daily on the live feed from every conflict, riot, protest, disaster and crime the news feeds them.

As once again my own worries threaten to weigh me down while looking at the selfishness and petty arguments, and the glee the lamestream media has as they focus on all things bad, Daisy reminded me to read something lawngren said in a comment recently, which was actually a reply to something she had said:

I’ve seen so little negative in regard to the people and rescuers, and the articles that are negative/dramatized are all getting called out!! How cool is that-if we could only do that with regular news.

His reply,

Daisy, your words just started something fizzing in my brain. People have speculated on why “God let Harvey hit Texas”.

What if God did have a hand in this? What if He allowed this to show Americans one more time what real courage and real goodness and real patriotism look like? How love reacts in the face of disaster?

There are enough goodness and heroism tales coming out of Harvey destruction to fuel the hearts and minds of Americans, and stir their souls, for another decade.

Did God send Harvey or allow such a destructive hurricane to slam into the densely populated gulf coast for a reason?  Who knows but God. I’ve heard some say He sent the hurricane as a punishment for our country being a modern day Sodom and Gomorrah.  My instinct is to say that’s ridiculous- if He was going to punish our country for our godless ways, he’d do it to San Fran or some other blatantly godless city, but even then…  One considers the other side of the argument that one must think of the innocent who also lost so much in this storm.  Would people who see this as God’s judgement be willing to say that to the face of a mom holding her child while being loaded into one of the many boat rescues? Christians may understand, which is why many can remain  positive through disasters, but what about the unbelievers- the lost out there who find themselves with no hope and nothing left to hold on to?

I don’t know why disasters happen other than we live in a world where it’s not just humans that are fallen. The Bible tells us; For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be set free from its bondage to corruption and obtain the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now… Romans 8:20-22 (ESV)

I might not know the mind of God, but I know from His Word that he is Holy and Righteous, that whatever He does, He has a purpose.  I also know that He is ‘in the whirlwind’ and that He also “maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” Matthew 5:45

The Lord is slow to anger, and great in power, and will not at all acquit the wicked: the Lord hath his way in the whirlwind and in the storm, and the clouds are the dust of his feet. Nahum 1:3

His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are above ours.  This devastating storm, like many disasters which have befallen our country serve as a reminder that people have choices- to help or hurt, to love or hate, and to show compassion and charity or snipe and show selfishness.

The goodness, love and charity shown by and to so many in Texas this past week proves that once again our neighbors and friends in the one America are more predominant than politicians, social justice warriors and media would like us to believe.

As I said in that old article,

We all need to make a choice which determines which America we want to live in. I live in the Real America, and have been incredibly blessed in spite of painful events in my life past and present. I have some tough choices ahead of me. I hope I make the right ones, but if I don’t, it won’t be the fault of others. 

We all still have tough choices ahead; every day comes with choices. Some folks would like to continue on being contentious, combative and bearing false witness when they don’t agree. While I forgive folks, even longtime friends for accusing or derogatory towards me for having a different opinion, my choice is to simply not associate anymore because I don’t have time to waste constantly on the defensive, having to tip toe around my words or defending others over perceived slights or offenses. Sometimes it’s necessary just to move on, so I try and learn from things I may have said or done or not listened to, and use it to grow into the me that God is making me into.

Born again Christians are not of this world, but for now we are in it. It’s up to us to keep showing that there is still good in the world.   Seeing the choices of so many in Texas shows me that maybe our country can survive for a little while longer. We have to make the best of things while there’s still time.

Lawngren was right; if it takes disasters, loss and pain to get that witness out there, our choices in the face of them and in the aftermath will be a tremendous message for those unbelievers and seekers who are out there watching.