Friday, April 19, 2013

Burnt Apples

This morning, as I sit with my Bible and journal, I smell burnt apples that were supposed to become delicious applesauce, see the bitter cold April morning through the window, with snow flurries coming down, having just put my cranky son to bed, and I think, "There's so much of life that's not 'as it should be.'"

We hope and plan every day for a good day that we can smile on in our memory as we live our good lives. We like things to be under control. We are comfortable with our steaming mugs of coffee and our laptops open. The routine of our daily lives brings a sense of peace and stability.

And then a tragedy like the one in Boston happens. Bombs explode, shattering the peaceful routine of so many lives. 3 people killed, and so many who have lost limbs. So many whose lives will never be the same.

What I heard this morning may have broken my heart more than the stories of the bombing victims, however. And that is the story of a 19-year-old boy on the run, being hunted down in Boston. His older brother died in the night after a gunfight with law enforcement officers. These brothers seemed like decent, normal guys to everyone who knew them, even their families. And yet what was going on in their hearts that moved them to want to hurt so many people? That darkness breaks my heart.

I was reading in Psalms this morning. Speaking of the God of history, and all he has done - when he has intervened and what he has allowed - the poet wrote,
"It is he who remembered us in our low estate,
for his steadfast love endures forever;

and rescued us from our foes,
for his steadfast love endures forever;

he who gives food to all flesh,
for his steadfast love endures forever."

It's just a simple thought in my head, but this God is so good. People will ask, "How can a good God allow such evil to happen?" But I ask, "How can a holy God intervene with such goodness in a world full of darkness?" Why does he even mess with us? He is so far above evil intentions of bombers or cold-hearted media reporting or grumbling about the weather or crabby babies and irritated mommas. We are all so weak. We try so hard to be good, to do the right thing, and to look nice. But he is goodness. He is holiness. He is purity and perfection and righteousness.

In his love, he reaches down to us in our "low estate." We are not what we think we are. But oh, how he loves us! He loves Dzhokhar Tsarnaev just as he loves my little Charles. He could stay so far above this world that he never needed to feel anything. But his heart breaks at our lostness. And his steadfast, enduring, faithful love endures forever. And so he not only felt something, but he himself came to rescue us. He got his hands dirty in the most intimate sense. When Jesus died on the cross, he was taking the blame for the Tsarnaev brothers' bombing, and for my grumbling heart and my baby's demanding and all of the other darkness in the world. As if he were to blame! As if he, whose heart radiates faithful goodness to even those who hate him, could ever be to blame for the sadness and weariness of loss and heartache. He did that because he loves us.

I'm praying this morning as I do my housework and play with my baby. My heart breaks. May my life be a beacon of hope, as one who has been redeemed, sharing the light and the hope of my God, my redeemer, with the world.

All the kings of the earth shall give you thanks, O Lord,
for they have heard the words of your mouth,
and they shall sing of the ways of the Lord,
for great is the glory of the Lord.
For though the Lord is high, he regards the lowly,
but the haughty he knows from afar.

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