I’ve been reading The Fire of Delayed Answers by Bob Sorge, as part of an online discussion group. It’s not a difficult book to read, but it can be a difficult book to digest. As in, is the purpose of affliction to make us grow spiritually? Does God allow (or bring) affliction to make us grow? If you look at the comments on these posts here and the blogs of others ion the discussion group, you’ll find a wide array of responses, including some people who’ve been offended.
I don’t have a good answer to those questions. If I give an emphatic “Yes!” it sounds like an almost mechanical existence we lead. If I give an emphatic “No way!” then I’m going to have to accept the fact that a lot of things simply don’t have explanations. Bad stuff happens.
Sorge uses the example of Hezekiah, one of the good kings of the southern kingdom of Judah. With the Assyrians besieging Jerusalem, Hezekiah begs for, and is granted, God’s mercy. When God tells him later that his sons would be taken away and made eunuchs by the king of Babylon, Hezekiah’s response is the equivalent of “I’m good with that. At least I’ll have peace in my last days.”
Apres moi, le deluge. Indeed.
This isn’t a question or issue confined to a Biblical text of 2,500 years ago. What’s been on my mind lately is my grandchildren, and their children, and how we are borrowing money to spend today that they will have to pay back long after we’re gone.
There’s something wrong about this. Profoundly wrong.
Congress is preparing to approve a trillion-dollar spending bill. The mind boggles. One trillion dollars. We don’t have one trillion dollars waiting to be spent. We have some fraction of that. We will have to borrow a large part of that trillion dollars.
It doesn’t really matter what it’s being spent on. Our great-grandchildren won’t care whether it was fighter jets or food stamps. All they and their parents will know is that we impoverished them, that we recklessly spent far beyond our means, and we didn’t care.
No matter how noble the cause, the ends don’t justify the means. They never have. But we act worse than drunken sailors because drunken sailors, at least, will eventually sober up.
Apres moi, le deluge.
Led by Jason Stasyszen and Sarah Salter, we’ve been reading The Fire of Delayed Answers. We’re finishing up chapter 9, “Desperate Dependence & Heart Enlargement.” To see more posts, please visit Sarah at Living Between the Lines.
Photograph by James Hawkins via Public Domain Pictures. Used with permission.