Monday, August 26, 2013

Seals Under The Log

Well, no, they weren't Seals, exactly.

This story starts over 20 years ago. I might have seen something and sent an email asking for a sample issue, but I am unsure. All I know is that I was surprised when I went to the mailbox and found a large manilla envelope addressed to me. Curious. It was postmarked from London, England. Very curious. I carried it inside and opened the envelope.

It contained a single issue of a magazine published by a church in London. The one that C. H. Spurgeon preached at over a century ago. I didn't have time to read it so I put it on the hearth beside my fireplace. And there it sat. For years.

Then it got moved to the basement where all the magazines that pile up get put into bigger piles. To maybe get read someday. But we all know someday never comes and the magazines get tossed out unread. And there it sat. For more years.

Is it a miracle that the magazine did not get discarded unread? No. Miracles don't work that way.

The timing of the next part is fuzzy, because I don't quite remember the sequence of events. But these things happened. I got cancer and I taught Sunday School.

I think teaching came first. And the topic of one of the Sunday School lessons was, "Why do bad things happen to good people?" I'm also fuzzy about how it came to be that I flipped through the pages of the magazine. Was it just random browsing? I think maybe it was.

This magazine had a picture that caught my attention. I don't think I would have read the article had I not seen the photo. A bunch of strapping lads were carrying a honking huge log. They seemed to be having a very bad time of it.

I looked into the article to find out what was up with the picture. Turned out the lads were volunteers undergoing the rigorous training for the British SAS. Those dudes are ninjas. Think of them as tea-swilling Navy Seals with a posh accent.

Most of the bad things that happen in my life are the results of me doing something evil, stupid, or both. It's not rocket surgery to figure out that someone who is in prison for Armed Robbery got there because he did something bad. Other bad circumstances, like divorce, follow prior bad acts like sleeping with your spouse's best friend. We're lucky when we can identify a causal link between a bad action and a bad outcome.

I'm too stupid most of the time to see I'm suffering now because of something bad that I did that led up to it. When a train goes off the rails, there's a lot of twisted wreckage strewn about. My moral derailments cause a lot of grief in my life.

Was God punishing me with Cancer for some prior bad act?

Reading the magazine I learned the log carrying was part of SAS training. All the punishment these lads were experiencing was not because they were bad. It was because they were good. These are the cream of the British military and they suffered because they were the best of the best.

I'm not the best of the best. I'm just a guy who does what he can and trusts in the imputed righteousness of Christ. I hope you'll see it inhere within my life. My Cancer wasn't a judgment, but a kind of preparation. I did not volunteer for it, but I got through it. People said I was brave. I shrug. I got through it.

If someone you know has cancer and you think it is not fair that such a good person should be so afflicted, it might just be God is training some kind of ninja.

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