Friday, July 29, 2005

A Response to Mr. Wright

I found this touching post at Wright off the Bat with a tip of the hat to Monday Morning Insight.

A letter to God:

God. I love you. You know that. But sometimes I have questions that seem to almost border on disrespect. May I ask one of them now? Why do you give some people harder assignments than others? Why do some people who serve you seem to get a "harder lot" in life? Why are there some ministers who live in shacks for houses and labor tirelessly for rewards that are eternal while their stomachs are starved for food? Why are some called to labor among the poor, the wretched, drug dealers and prostitutes while others serve in the comforts of suburbia, far from crime and gangs? Why do some suffer heart break, loss, anxiety attacks and bodily harm while others have luxury cars, million dollar houses and hefty bank accounts? Why do some endure ghastly pain, perilous nights and sullen days while others see victory after victory? I know that all people who truly serve you suffer in some way. There is joy in suffering when it is done in Your name. But some people seem to suffer a lot more than others. There is a disconnect going on here God that I am not quite understanding. Why do some preach in tailored suits behind oak pulpits while others cover themselves in rags before mounting a wooden crate beneath an oak tree? Who decides who gets to pastor the mega churches and who plants the church in the inner city surrounded by gang warfare? This is not a matter of jealousy God; this is a matter of life and death. I just want to know why some of your servants will toil for the rest of their lives in what seems like mundane futility while others will see substantial fruit yielded day after day. I know that all true rewards are eternal and perhaps this is the part of me talking that is all too human. I'll take whatever mission you give me not because I am a cold foot soldier merely taking orders but rather because I love you deeply. But please answer me this; why do some people get harder assignments than others? Amen.

My response:

God gifts us for what we are called to do. The small church pastor may not be able to handle a mega-church. The mega-church pastor may not be able to truly love a small congregation. Some are called to plant, others to water, still others to kill weeds, but God provides the increase and He decides if we are there to see it happen.

This isn't a new question. I ask the "why" question when I look at my three beautiful kids and compare them to the families who struggle with rebellious and prodigal children, and to the couples desperately wanting to have children like mine only to have biology get in the way. "Why am I so blessed, Lord?"

I ask the "why" question when I look around at all the material blessings of my life -- a couple of vehicles, a nice house, a computer with DSL -- and compare that to the family down the street who struggle to come up with money for electricity, or the majority of the African continent who would see my lower-middle class income as incredible wealth. "Why am I so blessed, Lord?"

I ask the "why" question when I realize that all the health issues in my family are but minor inconveniences, but the woman at church has gone through three cancer operations, two rounds of chemo and is currently in the middle of radiation treatments and the doctor is hoping just for 5 more years cancer-free. "Why am I so blessed, Lord?"

I ask the "why" question when I read about the problems that so many pastors have within their congregations while I don't have to deal with the degree of trechery and stubbornness they do. "Why am I so blessed, Lord?"

I ask the "why" question every stinking day. And while sometimes I ask it like Job, floored by his sufferings, most of the time I ask it like the mother who watched Jesus raise her daughter from the dead -- overcome by the incredible grace of Almighty God.

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