Thursday, October 10, 2013

man is born to trouble

I've just come to the end of David's life in my ordinary way of morning bible reading, which is to listen to it as I wrestle back sleep and try to cope with the reality that morning is truly upon me. This usually occurs with Fatty Lumpkin present, shouting and writhing around. Last week she was lying on top of me and she sat up and then flung her full weight back and landed on my lip causing me to bleed for quite a while and have the strange sensation that my teeth were actually rattling around in my jaw. It still hurts quite a lot actually.
Where was I...
Oh yes, David. 
So this morning David hurriedly made Solomon king because of the threat of Adonija, who, glancing forward to tomorrow, will be struck down for asking to marry the young Shunimmite girl who had the dubious job of keeping David warm. But last week it was that he, David, was running away from Absalom. And shortly before that was all the trouble he brought upon himself with Uriah and 
Bathsheba. And it occurred to me, in all the rushing around to bring Solomon in on David's donkey and anoint him with oil, that man is indeed born to trouble as the sparks fly upward and that that trouble usually goes on until the point of death. 

We don't like this, in our day of glorious and comfortable retirement opportunities. We work hard, but then we're supposed to have a fun rest where we travel, maybe, and do all the stuff we didn't have time for when we were working and shoving kids through to adulthood. But so often it doesn't pan out that way. Some find themselves raising grand children or dealing with catastrophic illness in themselves or others. And many, now a days, carry on working long after they expected to. I, obviously shouldn't be thinking about retirement (although it has replaced My Wedding as my go to day dream) but in my day to day troubles, I seem to get one solution carefully and neatly tucked away only to discover thirty more are jangling their way in to ruin my plans.

And at every moment along the way the precarious cliff of devastation or failure seems if not imminent, than at least on the near horizon. I mean, for heaven's sake, God promised David that he would establish his throne forever but that throne was constantly under temporal threat. Every time David had a few minutes to get comfortable, someone would plot to wreck it all, even at the very last moment when he should have time to just die quietly in peace. 

The idea that God has everything in hand, that all the threats to our lives and success are within his control and will not overwhelm us because he has promised not to let them, doesn't usually suffice to deter total panic when things get hard or appear to go 'wrong'. It's only afterward that you look back and see, Oh! He had already accounted for this and provided a way out. That's why looking back is so important, to build a more and more solid reserve against panic. 

It seems discouraging to me, at first glance, that David was never allowed to rest on his laurels. But knowing what is ahead with Solomon--the great immense complacency and unfaithfulness that Solomon brings into the picture--I have to conclude that all the trouble in David's life was due to God loving him so much and his loving God, so that his first instinct was always to cry out to God for help and mercy and God's gracious will was always to give it. As Marigold so astonishingly prayed on Sunday, 'Thank you Jesus that the sheep got lost so that the Good Shepherd could find him.'

Given that all this is true, and my, and perhaps others, penchant to panic in the face of trouble, I find it irritating and am resentful, even, of the deep wellspring of panic available on Facebook and Twitter. I am by no means addicted to Facebook but when I do log on, at the time of my choosing, I am immediately confronted with fifty million devastating crises around the world and some exclamation points to let me know that I ought to drop everything and devote my life to them, or at least sign the petition. Is it my job to fix all these problems? Is God not God? If I forget to pray can he not act? I panic enough on my own without needing the entire internet to help me. Pacing myself to endure trouble and woe until the day of my death is challenge enough. 

Nevertheless, I will, shockingly, post this on the internet, including Facebook and Twitter and also wish you all a trouble free, if it's God's will, weekend!

1 comment:

Dr. Alice said...

I completely agree with you re: the never ending petitions on Facebook and Twitter. I find it's better for my mental and spiritual status to avoid so much of this stuff, and the daily news too!

I have traveled to Guatemala a few times on medical missions, and one thing I have learned there is that the concept of retirement is truly a First World Privilege. There is no such thing as retirement there. If you don't work, you don't eat. It is that simple. Keeping this in mind, I have become a little more philosophical about the ongoing Stuff happening in medicine every day. As there is a good chance I will go on working for a very long time, I have to adjust rather than go ballistic at each new regulation, no matter how silly or timewasting it seems.