This faith business is puzzling.
I often experience the reality of God's presence in my life in the midst of turmoil and trauma. I rarely experience the reality of God's presence in my life in the midst of plenty, peace, and prosperity. When really, really good things are happening in my life, I tend to take God for granted. When all hell breaks loose, I sense my need for God, and I eagerly seek His peace and comfort. And God delivers. It's happened to me many times. My external world may be falling apart, but I have known a peace that passes understanding. Don't try to make sense of that from a logical standpoint. It doesn't make sense. But I know what I know. But when I am living my comfortable, complacent, middle-class American suburban life, God can seem superfluous. Thanks for being there, God. I'll check back with you when the shit hits the fan.
I wonder why that is.
Right now life is good on all fronts. I'm surrounded by family I love, friends I love. My employer pays me a lot of money to do work that isn't all that difficult. Free CDs magically appear in my mailbox. I win the door prize at random drawings. Blessings are busting out all over on the writing front, and I'm being offered opportunities that ought to leave me shaking my head in wonder and amazement. I'm heading out on vacation next week. And it's summer, and the sun is shining. God? Sure, He can come along to the beach, too. Maybe He can make it sunny all next week.
I am not as thankful as I ought to be. And I am not as cognizant of God's role in this process as I ought to be. This is particularly true on the writing front. It's about time, damn it, I think. I've worked hard, and I've waited years for the rest of the world to recognize what I've always known. Is "genius" too strong a word? I think not. Well, okay, maybe. How about "literary stud?" Andy Whitman, Poet of the Prairie, Westerville's Wordsworth, the Shakespeare of Suburbia, Dostoyevsky with a Dental Plan and a well diversified stock portfolio.
The problem is, I really do think that way sometimes. There is an ever-present tendency to incorporate all of reality into the Kingdom of Me, to see all of these seemingly random events through a lens in which I am the star player in a tragicomedy whose subject matter is no less than Life, the Universe, and Everything, as told (in marvellously entertaining fashion) by Andrew J. Whitman.
It's bullshit. If I have gifts and talents, they come from God. If I have peace and prosperity, it's because God has allowed that to happen. If I have trials and traumas, it's because God has allowed that to happen. And if I have breath enough to conclude this sorry posting, it's because God has allowed that to happen.
Here's a prayer: Jesus Christ, Savior of the world, have mercy on me, a sinner. It's not a bad way for Dostoyevskys with Dental Plans to pray. Please forgive my foolish pride. Help me to recognize that if I am the author of stupid and ultimately meaningless Birdmonster album reviews, you are the author of life itself. Take my story, which I have written badly, and re-write me into something beautiful for your kingdom.