I have learned that some of the most beautiful things in life emerge from the worst and most difficult times. So in essence I am saying there is lesson and opportunity in tribulation. And, if we know this from our own experience, can we not assume the greater the tribulation, the greater the opportunity? Always remember; What God has made simple, Satan must turn to corn maze so he can hide himself!
I posted my favorite Thomas Paine quote in response to a wonderful piece by Professor Regis Martin, Augustine and the Fat Lady; “These are the times that try men’s souls.” Think of the times he lived in. There was peace and prosperity…and good fellowship among men. Neighbors looked out for one another, lived together, worked together and worshipped together…until their grievances against despotism grew unbearable and ignored. The resulting schism separated those who had grown comfortable in their chains, from those who would no longer wear them…family from family, friend from friend, and neighbor from neighbor. And here we are today…exactly where we started!
It has occurred to some of us, a remnant of sorts, that our present “hot mess” is unfixable. Our problems run so deep, our errors have so compounded, and we have become so untethered from our original covenant with one another…we are irreconcilable. We’ve been here in this exact spot so many times before, like Murray’s Ground Hog Day weatherman, we know that waitress over there will drop her tray before she does. We look out on the exact same multitudes, chasing the exact same distractions, clothed in the exact same threads of indifference, sleep-walking into the exact same cattle cars, time after time after precious time.
This is my childhood dream that never went away. The separation I grew up fearing has finally arrived, as I being the last one on line…the longest line of all humanity following the Piper, not knowing or caring where we were being led, only that I wanted to be part of them…with them, as the tallest darkest gates in the coldest most disturbing dream I’ve ever dreamt closed behind them, shutting me out forever. I know now, this haunting vision from my childhood has turned out to be prophesy; the blissful tale of my own salvation. I’ve only now to become the cheerful grape under God’s feet and wait (gleefully) on Augustine’s “Fat Lady”!
As the entire world is led by the widest most diabolical grin to ever sit a face, into the devastating maze of chaos and confusion, we fortunate few blessed in the knowing of who we are have only to embrace our tribulation, as the congregation of 1 Thessalonians hearing the voice of God from the lips of Paul in 5:16-18, to obey only three simple rules…as if all eternity rests upon our compliance:
- Be Joyful Always
- Pray Continually
- Be Thankful in All Circumstances
That those seeing our light may follow…