Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Is God Fair?

Is God Fair? That is a question that has been asked for hundreds of years. People look around and witness events that seem to cast a bad light on God. Drought and famine kill millions, mostly children and innocents.  Bad, terrible things happen everyday, some to good people. Innocent people suffer, always have, always will. At times it seems that good people suffer and evil people prosper. In this life there might not be fairness.

Why did God strike Miriam with leprosy and not Aaron as well? He was guilty of the same sin as his sister. In the wilderness trek Aaron and Miriam began to complain about Moses. They didn't like his style and complained that why should God only speak through Moses. God was apparently unhappy with the complaining and the leprosy was Miriam's consequence. Some thoughts come to mind about fairness in regards to Moses, Miriam and Aaron.

Moses escaped death; Egyptian midwives were supposed to kill Hebrew boys at birth. The mother of Moses put him into a safe position. He was found along the Nile in a reed basket, by non other than the daughter of Pharaoh. The daughter of Pharaoh requested a Hebrew to nurse the baby and the mother of Moses raised him. At Moses' birth Aaron was three and Miriam was older than both brothers.

Miriam would have first hand knowledge of the care given to Moses and she would certainly know that their God was protecting Moses. Later in the narrative Miriam is referred to as a ,"Prophetess". I believe that her experience with Moses and the Providence that surrounded him raised her accountability to a high level. The narrative also names her before Aaron in regards to the complaining episode. Now comes a twist. When god calls them to account for their sin He names Aaron first. Was that due to ppatriarchal selection, or because of Aaron's position as spokesman and high priest?

The cloud of judgement moves on and Miriam is left judged, evidenced by the physical condition of her skin. We have no idea or indication of a physical judgement upon Aaron. It might be safe to surmise that God dealt with him in the same way He did Moses, over striking the rock twice for water. Moses was not allowed to enter the promise land.

Did Aaron get away with his sin and Miriam was the only one punished? I don't think so. Was God fair in His judgement of Miriam. I don't know, I'm not God. We see in part and know in part. I'm just glad that He is and I'm not.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

The Shadow Show

Avery and I were in our usual spot early in the morning; I'm sitting in my chair and he is on my lap. Most mornings we are engrossed in either Mickey Mouse or Chuggington. Believe it or not, it is good brain stimulation. With the sun coming up earlier every morning the windows on the east side of the house flood the rooms with morning light. This morning, as we were engrossed with Mickey giving Pluto a bubble bath, the sun  cast a perfect shadow of the small tree just outside the window.

The first sparrow landed on a small branch level where the top sash and bottom sash come together. I could tell he was out there, I am just assuming the he was a he. He jumped down to a lower branch and his shadow was distinct and very detailed. Detailed to the point that Avery and I could tell when he was scratching his head and wings. In a moment a second sparrow joined in and they jumped back and forth for a few moments. Now, the other sparrow might have been a she, spring-like weather is confusing everything.
For a few minutes we watched a combination program of Shadow Show and Mickey Mouse. I preferred the Shadow Show, though I wouldn't tell Avery.

At one point in the sun-lite window program three or four sparrows took turns jumping from branch to branch. The closer to the window they were the more distinct the sun made their features. Their heads were easy to distinguish as those of sparrows. Their size was not distorted by distance from the windows as well.  All in all it was a thought provoking time. Distinction of form and movement, yet behind the cloak and security of shadow.

Security of shadow; knowledge of what but not who. As I watched I saw only shadow-sparrows. Real identity unknown and unknowable. I thought of the shadow that I cast. My shadow, just a dark image of my size and form. The real me is unknown by shadow. The shadow displays no motivation, no intent, no emotion, no passion, only an image of present position brought into distinction be the sun.

We look at life and the human condition as a shadow or through a glass slightly out of focus. We understand and perceive through lenses clouded and out of focus by past experiences, prejudice, ignorance, self-will, well, just a maladjusted and broken character.

If I would be able to look into the heart of a person; like God does, all of the time, not just when I'm sensitive about it, the world would be a different place. The Shadow Show was a pretty good use of my time this morning. Of course having Avery on my lap helped.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

A Dead Land

I thought the trip to Chavuna-Chinjawa should take about three hours. I was told the road out of Mazabuka would take us very close to the village of Ana's birth. Either I was wrong in my understanding of the word, close, or I made a wrong turn. It is kind of hard to take a wrong turn when there are no other roads to take. Well anyway, the road eneded at a large outcropping of stone with bolders the size of large balls. There would be no more driving from this point. As Donna and I sat in the truck pondering our situation we saw a young man walking towards us from across a field.

He greeted us with the usual Tonga smile and friendly spirit. He asked us if we needed any help. I wonder what he thought as he saw the two of us sitting in my truck, not going anywhere. We told him we were on our way to Chavuna-Chinjawa, where Ana was born. He told us that he knew of the village and would be happy to show us the way. It didn't take long for us to get our things together; water for formula and some for us, a clean diaper, made from a towell, and Donna's chitangi. Soon Donna had Ana on her in the chitangi and we where on our way to the village of Ana's birth.

The walk looked like it would take us over gently rolling hills and dried out grassland. Actually the rolling hills were quite larger and the walk was going to be long. After walking for about an hour I asked our friend to take a short break, under the guise of Ana needing something. While we sat for a minute I asked our friend why he was always looking in the trees and scrub bushes. His answer was short and to the point; nasty snakes liked the trees and brush. I kinda wished I didn't ask.

We started out again and our friend told us we should be to the village in about an hour. The walk from that point was a little more anxious for me. What would the village be like? What would the family be like? We knew there were other children. Dominick, Ana's birth father, told us he had several children. His remarks about wanting Ana back after she was healthy and a year old, still haunted me. We had a lot of people praying for us and Ana. Donna had asked her mom and friends to have prayer for Ana and her future. I was sure many people across Michigan were praying for her young life.

We approached the village and the children started running towards us. Their pointing at us and running around was a bit of a surprise. As we walked into the village the adults gathered arounf and we began the greetings and introductions. The extended family, from the eldest gramma to the youngest child stood in a line. I began greeting, in pretty lousy tonga, the mothers and then the children, Donna followed me, in much better tonga. It probably took more than a minute to greet everybody.

After the greetings we sat down and began to talk with the adults. Thay all remarked at how beautiful the baby was and how much care she was getting from Donna and Hilary. As I sat and listened I was shocked by the surroundings. The land around the village was barren, grassless and dry. The small bit of corn that was planted was dead, evidence of the drought that burnt the land and cast hundreds into their village graves. Two little children, I would learn they were Ana's half brother and sister, were ill. Her half brother was almost totally blind, due to meseals. Her half sister was malnoourished and had lost her hair.

How could Donna and I live with ourselves knowing the conditions these people lived in? How could we survive the pain if she had to come back to the village and face the peril?

This was the first of our visits to the land of Ana's birth.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Unwanted Visitor

Paraphrased Excerpt from my book, A Mother's Heart Moved the Hand of God.

We finally arrived at our new home and four exhausted bodies walked through the front door. Needing sleep but feeling excited about being in our new home, we looked around. The two girls looked around the living room and went down the hall to the bedrooms. Hilary made some comments about the red cement floor, and why did the windows have bars over them. Donna and I went through the dining room and into the kitchen. The rooms seemed large and the house smelled of fresh paint.

We stepped into the kitchen and I thought Donna was going to blast off into space. On the door of one of the kitchen cabinets was a spider about as big as a baseball. You know the kind I'm talking about; the big hairy kind, like on the sci-fi or National Geographic channels. Well, I went for the first thing that looked like a weapon, a fly swatter, he, I think it was a he, I don't really know, was almost as big as my weapon. Not only was he big, he was really fast. In a micro-second he was down the door front and through a small gap in the kick board. Man, I'm glad he didn't run at us. I don't know who would have gotten out of the kitchen first. I hate big hairy spiders.

Unexpected and unwanted visitors come our way all too often. Our expectations spell out to our mind how things should happen. We should have walked into our kitchen, looked around at the cabinets and big windows, peered outside from the back door and moved to the other rooms in our house. Expectations are always subject to the unknown or unexpected. You go to the doctor expecting bad news and he tells you things are fine and you will live. Or, you go to the doctor and he/she uses the dreaded C word. Your mind reels and a knot forms in your stomach so fast it takes your breath away.

How do we prepare for the unknown and the unexpected? Should we try and think of every little thing that could happen and build our life around that. Should we hide in our homes or venture out only when we have too? How about this, throw all caution to the wind and live a carefree and reckless life. Neither seems very smart. The Psalmist dealt with this when he said, "Don't lean on your own understanding, but, in every thing you do acknowledge God and He will guide your days." I kind of like that advice. I do not know what is going to happen today or tomorrow. But, I do know the One who knows.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Moving to a Different World

When we were told we would be moving to Zambia the excitement was enormous. The girls had visions of Zebras and Elephants, Palm trees and Banana's by the bunch. Donna and I had other visions, after the initial shock. How do you move a family to a land that has limited electricity and water. One of my biggest responsibilities would be the supply of water and electricity to a mission station that had about 1000 people depending on those utilities. I knew that during the rains the electricity would be very limited and the water would be nasty.

We were told to bring everything we would need for four years of life. Now if Hilary grew like Marily she would sprout, without fertilizer, about six to eight inches. How in the world could we plan for that. I left that in Donna's capable hands. For over six weeks we spent hours shopping and planning. The few appliances and electronic items had to be capable of running on a different electrical voltage. So, in order to bring anything electric from the states we had to plug them into small transformers that changed the voltage.

Donna and I are coffee drinkers, so we brought a couple of cases of our favorite coffee. Boxes of instant noodles, soups, mac&cheese, drinks, all would be going with us. By the end of six weeks our supply of items was a small hill in a garage. The shipping company sent me the specifications for shipping containers that i needed to build. Each container was a five foot cube and I needed five containers. I built the containers and we began to pack them, taking precautions to pack fragile items in between bags of clothes or sleeping bags.

I think we planned pretty well and the day came for the international shippers to gather our precious belongings and send them to us. As well prepared as we thought we were there were situations we did not imagine and beyond our control. Our meager Christmas decorations were stolen as the containers sat at the airport in London. A few minor things also came up missing. Also, once the containers arrived in Zambia and I loaded them on a big truck I had no way to off load them. So, five containers on a flatbed had to be unloaded, still on the truck.

As well as we plan the unplanned for will jump at us. It is true in all of life. We try to be healthy, eat right and take care of ourselves and the doctor uses the cancer word. We plan and save and the medical bills pile up and we are lost and swallowed up in debt. In my case, Donna and I were in the midst of buying a business that would provide a good income and security and then, emergency surgery on my spinal cord that left me disabled. Our plans must be mold-able by the hand of God. He knows tomorrow as clearly as He knows yesterday.

I'm glad my life is in His hands. If it had been up to me I wouldn't be writing this blog or about to have my book published. You see, God had to show me what He really wanted from my life. Not to be in any business but His.