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I was born, I'm currently living, and will eventually die. After that I face my judgment, and we'll talk then.


Sunday, March 13, 2011


So much sadness in the world, in friends and strangers. All must have heard by now of the earthquakes and tsunamis affecting the Far East, a land so alien to myself and most of the people I know that it sounds almost like a fairy tale.

Tell us, Grandad, about the magical land of Japan. Tell us about the mythical monster they call Tsunami, and how it attacked the world, and how Japan fell in battle against the monster, and had to turn to aid from strangers. It is a pleasant fantasy.

And then Grandad sighs a tear, and knows it isn't all false.

Likewise, on a more local level, stories come of personal losses. Not from my family, thank God (say a prayer for your family NOW. Stop reading and pray. . .), but for some friends. I could not begin to articulate their sorrow, and neither can they. Fortunately for us, they made an effort. I will not. I will simply show what has been said before. Pray for Dave and Stephanie, even if they too are strangers. There is tangible sorrow in their story, muted by the impossibility of describing death.

And thus begins Lent. How strange! Lent is a time not of sadness but of joy. And yet here, on the brink, the world wastes in sorrow. What horrors await us as Satan tests us, as he tested Him who cannot loose. Satan should have known who it was that prayed for 40 days in the desert. Did he think the God-Man would be so easy? Putting God to the test is a risky matter, for you will always loose. Satan did not learn his lesson.

"Satan Tried to Tempt Christ" by James Tissot

Thank God He didn't jump, he didn't eat the doughy rocks, or burn a pinch of incense to the Evil One.

But we do. How often we jump! How easily we succumb to the test, hiding our faith, yelling at God for the badness around us. We either blame God for evil, or simply say he doesn't exist.

Yet another man suffered much worse than anyone I know. Find a Bible. Any one will do. Flip to the first book in the Wisdom section, and read that wonderful work of Job. Read it in prayer, and see for yourselves what the good man should do. Job did not curse God, but rather saw a deeper meaning. In sadness and sorrow he sought reality.

His prayer is beautiful, one which we should utter whenever good times turn bad, whenever sadness slithers into our garden.

Then Job arose, and rent his robe, and shaved his head, and fell upon the ground, and worshiped. And he said,
"Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked shall I return; the LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of
the LORD." (Job 1:20 - 22)
Job does not merely say this prayer once, but he treats it as a refrain through is sufferings. The sacred writer makes a point of noting that "In all this Job did not sin or charge God with wrong" (Job 1:23). What Faith! What Love!

If we were half the men that Job was, what a world we would see.

What a world, what a world.

Sadness wins when we let it drown us. Only by seeing it for what it really is can we pray with Job. Only then can we say with Christ "Begone, Satan!" to the devils of sin and sadness.

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