When life makes us raw…

It’s so easy to ask the questions of why good things come to those who do evil or why bad things happen when I work so hard to do what is right. We want answers, don’t we? “God, can’t I get a break once in while? Why is this so hard? Dammit… I thought we were past this…”

It is so important for me, personally, to remember that God does not play the tit-for-tat game of allowing evil when we do wrong and rewarding us when we do right. It is so comforting to see the times when Jesus affirms this. “Teacher, what has this man or his parents done that he should be blind all his life?” He refuses to play this game, which is very much a lower-consciousness human tendency. “He was born blind so that God’s work might be done in him…” Isn’t this the case for all of us?

The beauty of the God I serve is that he has shown me that his love is constant… even when I am bound to ask, in the wake of tragedy and hardship (and especially ANYTHING that causes stress), “Why, why… WHY?!?” Life keeps us so raw in the storms and deserts and challenges. I am living it so deeply, these days. Changing, changing, everything is changing… some things slip away, some new stresses added… all of it coming with drama. And in the midst of it, I want a damn reason. We humans have always wanted a reason.

And here we have a God who doesn’t always give us a reason. This is the wonder of the divine mystery. This is what makes truth… a being in the midst of paradox and tension. To relax into this is to embrace our divine sonship and daughtership. It is to live awake to our own union with God and the love he/she always has for us. The rain and the sun fall on the good and the bad, making thorns and flowers grow. It’s not an easy truth.

3 thoughts on “When life makes us raw…

  1. i’m right with you nate. i daily remind myself that God alone can and will bring beauty from the pain and ashes. if i didn’t have that fact to cling to and live by, i would honestly feel like the utter crap i’ve been dragged through the past 18 months would weigh me down with no hope of getting up. there is hope. and it’s nice to know you’re never alone.


  2. Becca, it’s these times that form us most. And, oh God, is it a painful journey. Sometimes, it would be so nice to take the numb path… the path of doing life like ”everyone else.”

    My heart is with you in the pain you are going through… pain that I cannot know as you know…


  3. Nate, I just wanted to say hello & introduce myself. I found your blog a couple days ago when I googled “Bend OR emerging church”. To make a short story long, as they say, my husband Patrick & I have been toying with the idea of moving to Bend lately and I was curious about the reaches of the emerging church to that part of the country. I am from the Portland area, Patrick from SoCal, and we are currently in Pasadena, where he is working on a PhD in Systematic Theology – his dissertation will be on the emerging church in conversation with Jurgen Moltmann. But he has recently fulfilled his residency requirements and we are now free to move about the country, and after paying rent in Pasadena for two years, Bend’s options are very very attractive :-).

    So, all that said, I was cheered to find your blog. If we do make the move, we certainly would be interested in what’s going on in Bend in emerging circles and would love to (at least) make your acquaintance.

    What I enjoyed also about finding your blog is that my husband wrote & published a book in 2007 on the Holy Spirit, in which a formerly traditional-community-church pastor named NATE launches an emerging church in a pub, which provides the setting for a discussion on the work of the Holy Spirit. (The book is called It’s a Dance: Moving with the Holy Spirit.)

    He also wrote a second book on the subject of this blog post – where is God in the dry or painful or dark times? – which is still at the publisher.

    So there were a lot of happy ‘coincedences’, as it were. Glad to have found you & wish you well in your efforts.



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