by Melissa Clouthier | March 23, 2008 11:08 am
Well, folks, I’m going to depart from politics for a moment. For my blog readers, that’s not a surprise. Lately, all I’ve been doing is departing from politics. For John’s readers, if you haven’t visited my blog, it will be a little different.
The church bells ring behind me as I sit on my friend’s porch. Beyond the bell tower, I see the gulf where the sun peeks through the clouds as I listen to Ode to Joy. It is a beautiful, meaningful day for Christians around the world. My friend’s children exulted in Easter baskets and delighted in found treasures. It has been magical watching another family revel in their tradition.
Holidays are a nice time to slow down, take stock and refocus on what is truly important. Some things in life are so transient and fleeting. The concept of eternity, living forever, puts the temporal in perspective. We aren’t here for long and what consumes us day to day often matters little in the big scheme of things.
Now, that concept is something that bothers unbelievers mightily. They feel that belief in God makes a person lazy both in thought and action. It excuses “sin” and forgives sloth. A Christian won’t reach his potential because he will wait for God’s will. A Christian loses his will when he surrenders to God.
A Christian knows this is not true. A Christian is freed from having to control everything. A Christian controls what is in his power to control and has faith that God is in charge taking care of the rest. Far from absolving a person of responsibility, the Christian feels moved to do more with what he has because he has been given so much.
Okay, so maybe I will talk politics for a minute. The Messianic obsession this election cycle, the live-or-die nature of the attachment to the candidates (on the Left, does anyone feel super passionate about McCain? I think blah feelings is what you get when you’re a moderate) reveals a true lack of faith generally. People look to people or people look to government which is just a bunch of people to do what people used to have faith that God would take care of.
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Most of us have been recipients of Christian charity at some point in our lives. I know I have. When my sons were in the hospital and every day was a financial struggle, a church I used to attend sent me $5,000. No strings attached. They gave it in faith. And I used it in faith. It paid for food, parking, rent, everything I couldn’t afford while I was at the hospital. It was humbling. It was a bit embarrassing. I had never relied on anyone for anything and it was almost more than I could bear needing it so badly. It pricked my pride.
In contrast, when my son came out of the hospital we had no insurance. We were poor by any measure. He was 4 pounds 6 ounces, we were heading into the winter season and one bout of a common cold (RSV) could kill him. I sucked up my pride once again and went to the Welfare office. After hours waiting, I talked to a very kind social worker who understood my plight but explained that we didn’t qualify because our car was too new (we needed a newer car, because our old one couldn’t make the trip to downtown reliably and we didn’t want the car to die with me in it with a tiny, sick baby). You do qualify for food stamps, the man told me. I hung my head. No. Way. There is no way I’d go to the store and buy my food with food stamps, baby or no. I’d starve first. I politely declined and marveled at the horror and humiliation of the whole experience.
Now, you might think that I cursed the government for their arcane rules where someone barely making it couldn’t qualify to have a sick child covered. That wasn’t my reaction. I decided then and there that we’d have to make more money and we’d find insurance one way or another and that I would never, ever, ever step foot in a government agency that way again. It was one of the most demeaning experiences of my life.
The contrast was real. The church people gave and had faith in me, but more so in God. It wasn’t about me. It was about laying up treasure. And they weren’t doing it to make brownie points for the afterlife (and if they were, they’ve had their reward), they were helping from a place of love. The government workers had tied hands. They had rules. They had limitations. They had to be wary of scammers. They were jaded, and understandably so. Had I been more wily, I suppose I could have gamed the system. I could have lied about the car. I could have put things in other people’s names. There were all sorts of things people did to comply, but at what cost to the dignity of the individual and to the fabric of society as a whole?
Believing in a man or a woman, like the Hillary and Obama zealots do, is bound to be disappointing. They are human, fallible, selfish, people. They aren’t God. Today is a good day to remember who God is and who God isn’t. Only one person in history rose from the dead giving hope of a perfect government to the world and that person isn’t running in this election.
Cross-posted at Dr. Melissa Clouthier.
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