11 February 2013

thing #5: a discipline of humility

Spring Flowers by J.W.W.
Fifth sequel to this post.

In at least one respect, I am still a three-year-old: I always ask "why." (Why did you say that? Why do we believe this? Why does that work? Why is this happening?) So of course, I have often asked "why" of my current circumstances.

Recently D.A Carson wrote some really helpful thoughts on this matter-- i.e. trying to find a reason for suffering-- and two points stuck out to me.

First, we cannot always know why.
In any suffering, or in any other event for that matter, God is doubtless doing many things, perhaps thousands of things, millions of things, even if we can only detect two or three or a handful . . . sometimes we have to cover our mouths and confess, in faith, that we cannot possibly grasp all that God is doing when someone suffers.
Second, however, we should be ready to accept trials as discipline and to repent of any sin they are highlighting.
God may be speaking to us in the language of a wise heavenly Father who chastens those he loves. Such chastening may be God's response to specific sins in our lives; it may be a more general way of toughening us up in this broken world so we will stop thinking that God owes us good health, or that our clean living and organic food guarantees us long and robust life.  
Oooh. That last part. Me to a tee. Humility in my pursuit of natural health was also something God pressed upon me during our season of infertility. It's so easy for me to slip into arrogance. Whenever I see good results from my efforts, the puff of pride begins.

With my skin, though, I have nothing to be proud about; I make tiny steps of progress now and then, I figure out something that helps, but mostly I just don't know what to do. I don't know the why. And then I must admit that all my kale smoothies and probiotics and organic shampoos, no matter how much I love them, are no guaranteed salvation. I cannot presume to control my health, for I am in God's hands, not my own.

It is a good place to be.

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