by Eric Santillan
In the Genesis story of creation, God sees everything to be good:
“And God saw that it was good.”
I had a difficult time understanding this in the light of everything that happens in the world. There is evil, bad things happen to good people, life is suffering, there is a lot of dysfunction and disease, and people harm other people. I thought the writers of Genesis only meant that when God created everything in the beginning, He really meant for everything to be good. Until evil came.
But someone once told me that the word GOOD used in the first chapter of Genesis, did not mean the absence of evil. The word GOOD meant “everything will turn out well in the end”. So if we’re going to be faithful to the translation, the writer of Genesis was really saying: “And God saw that it will turn out well in the end!”
It is a good that waits. It is a good that does not conquer like a War Lord. Rather, it is a subtle good–the kind that rises like the sun in the morning. You never really know when the dawn breaks out of the dark, but it creeps, slowly, gradually, patiently, until it finally overwhelms the night.
In a prayer experience during a retreat several years ago, I remember imagining Jesus bringing me into the heart of a sinner—the worst sinner imaginable. I imagined going with Jesus and entering the sinner’s heart—“seeing” and “feeling” the darkness inside. It was akin to Alice in Wonderland’s rabbit hole—the darkness seemed never-ending and blacker than black.
Then from somewhere, light from a candle flickered in the darkness. In my imagination, Jesus started moving towards the light and when He was near enough, He lovingly embraced the flickering light, protecting it with His body, protecting it from the darkness and the elements.
And in that prayer, Jesus made me understand, “This is what I came for in the heart of this man. I came for this light. You only see darkness and because of that darkness you do not forgive and cannot forgive; but there is light; and as long as you help me embrace the light, the darkness will never overcome it.”
It could be the heart of man. Or it could be the world. There is so much darkness. So much hopelessness. So much evil. But He has come to embrace the light and protect it from the darkness and the elements. And as long as we help embrace the light, darkness will not be able to overcome us.
Yes, there is evil. Bad things happen to good people, life is suffering, there is a lot of dysfunction and disease, and people harm other people.
But God has seen it! it will turn out well in the end!
Happy Easter everyone!
Originally posted in BobbyQuitain.Com.
by Bobby Quitain
When I was a kid, I loved catching dragonflies. The moment I catch one, I immediately tie it down with a string and I walk around with it to the delight and amazement of my friends. Today, looking back, I feel sorry for the dragonfly. Because it was tied down to a string, it couldn’t do what it was made to do which was to fly.
Could it be possible that you have the same predicament as that dragonfly?
Your career can’t seem to take off.
That sin you can’t seem to shake off.
That project you seem to always put off.
In short, you seem to be tied down to something that prevents you from really soaring to greater heights in your life.
What is that string that ties you down, my friend?
Is it a bad habit? A wrong mindset? A poor self-esteem? A painful memory? A nagging fear?
Can I make a suggestion? Offer it to Jesus today.
The Bible says:
“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.” (Matthew 11:28)
Stop tugging on that string in an effort to fly. Let Jesus cut that string for you. Invite Him into your heart and into your life today. Find rest in Him.
Then listen closely. He is whispering in your ear these very words:
“Child, you are meant to fly!”
Originally written in TACKED THOUGHTS for The Freeman last January 6, 2013
by Nancy Unchuan Toledo
Sweaty and desperate, Indiana Jones hovers at the edge of the cliff. Below him, he sees, or doesn’t see rather, the chasm. In front of him, the other edge of the cliff—too far away to jump to, even if he is the great Indiana Jones. He looks at his father’s journal: “Only in the leap from the lion’s head will he prove his worth,” it says, along with a picture of man walking on air. “Impossible,” Indy mutters, “nobody can jump this.” Just then, his friend tells him to hurry, as his father, having been shot in the stomach, doesn’t have much time left. Unless he continues on his quest for the Holy Grail, his father will die. “Some leap of faith,” Indy complains. The scene cuts to his father, “you must believe, boy,” he says in between deep, painful breaths, even if his son can no longer hear him. Mustering his resolve, Indy takes several steadying breaths, closes his eyes in silent prayer, puts his hand over his wildly beating heart and leaps into the abyss…
Miraculously, he finds that his feet land on solid ground. It was, after all, only an illusion. The ground was merely painted to look like a part of the chasm in order to test those brave enough to take up the quest. But it had been there all along.
Leaps of faith are strange things. You never know where you’re going to land or how you’re going to land. Which is probably why I’ve taken so few Indiana-Jones-leaps-of-faith in my life. I’m more of a Tarzan than an Indy really. I swing from vine to vine rather than leap. I make sure that I have something to hold on to before I let go of the other vine. I am constantly making plans and plan B’s. There is always the next step, the next phase, the next project.
But for the first time in a really long time, I look at the chasm that is 2013 and find that I must take a leap into the unknown. I squint my eyes and attempt to focus on a plan or other but it all seems so muddled with uncertainty. It’s not empty. It’s just unclear. I stretch out my hands to grasp something, a plan or a project to make me feel in control, but there seems to be nothing there. And this realization would have been enough to send me into a real panic attack had I not forced myself to quiet down in prayer.
I realized that I had to welcome the seeming emptiness in order to make peace with it. I couldn’t push the thought away or think it away or plan it away. I just had to accept it for what it was, for what it is.
And what is it really, this chasm that I am so afraid of? An opportunity to exercise faith? Yes. An openness to the Divine Will? Yes. A gateway to endless possibilities? Yes. Great ideas all and very wise. And they all made sense when I was in the calm of prayer but not nearly so comforting in the harsh light of day. And so I teeter between my Tarzan swing and my Indy leap. Back and forth, back and forth until it hits me to ask not how Tarzan swung and Indy leapt but why they did. Why did Tarzan choose to swing and Indy leap?
Because Indiana Jones was raised by a father who believed.And Tarzan? Well, he was raised by apes.And therein lies the difference. The loving father of faith makes all the difference in the world. It is true: there are no certainties this year. I cannot see farther than what’s in front of my nose. But I believe and I hope in a loving Father who walks with me in the present and waits for me in the future.
I look at the chasm that is 2013 before me. I muster my resolve. I take deep steadying breaths. I close my eyes and whisper a silent prayer. I put my hand over my wildly beating heart. And I leap.
Cue in the Indiana Jones movie theme.