Tag Archives: suffering

Random Vicissitudes

Most people understand – at least in a theoretical sense – how quickly life can change. In the two months since I last posted, the silence hasn’t come about due to a lack of blogging material. No, no, no. Furthermore, every single day without a post brought a deeper sense of unease … the pattern of my life seeming slightly upended! Red-Pencil

But the respite from my daily pattern was necessary and welcome … necessary because life demanded I attend other matters and welcome because it freed me (somewhat) from my irrational obsession to slavishly maintain daily posts – no matter what! With each day that passed, my figurative pencil grew more insistent and red-faced. Much to my surprise, people continued to drop by and read previous posts. (I am gratefully humbled by your interest.) Continue Reading →

Service To A Cruel God

Today’s news that the convicted Boston Marathon bomber had been formally sentenced to death didn’t surprise me. That awful atrocity from April 2013 cut short the lives of three people (one was an eight-year-old boy) and left 260 others injured, some maimed. They gunned down a fourth victim during the manhunt that followed the bombing.Boston-MarathonThese were despicable acts perpetrated by two radicalized Islamic individuals. (No, I have no intention of using either of their names.) Today’s proceedings in a Massachusetts courtroom included three hours of statements from victims and families of the victims before the convicted bomber broke his two-year silence. Continue Reading →

Emanuel, God With Us

To the families of my brothers and sisters who lost their lives in Charleston, SC at a Wednesday night Bible study on June 17, we grieve with you and mourn the incomprehensible loss of your loved ones. May the great mercy of our Heavenly Father bring you comfort and peace.lily-[Converted]

Job Rests His Case

Whether defense or prosecution, when a trial attorney comes to the conclusion of a trial, it’s time for summation. At this point, the jury will hear a summary of all pertinent facts and evidence before they reach their decision. The attorney wants to deliver a strong summation in order to sway the jury toward a particular outcome. The same can be said of Job as we arrive at chapter 31. Job and his comforters have jousted back and forth for thirty chapters. Now it’s time for Job’s summation.

FROM:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Blake

FROM: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Blake

This chapter is a long passage – forty verses – and the flow revolves around a repetitious theme … IF. Job makes his case with a series of hypothetical statements. If I have done thisIf I have done that. He addresses the accusations of his friends in summary fashion and answers each accusation by declaring what punishment he would deserve if he was guilty. Continue Reading →

Better To Have A Millstone

In other countries around the world, “marriage” often looks remarkably different than the celebrations we have in America. In recent days, reports from the Middle East (specifically countries where ISIS continues to gain more ground) have revealed even prepubescent girls are being married off to adult men. Other girls are being sold into sexual slavery. Either way, the situation is dire.6.00658986000024

According to Zainab Bangura, a special representative to the UN general secretary, facts on the ground reveal the disturbing and inhumane treatment of young girls who are stripped naked, exposed to “virginity tests,” and many of them are sent to “slave auctions” after their villages have been attacked, and they’ve been subjected to the “killing their husbands, fathers and brothers.” Bangura speaks of one girl who was traded off 22 times to different men. Other girls are exposed to repeated rapes and subsequent surgeries to “restore” their virginity. Continue Reading →

Adieu, Tormented Poet

Thinking this week about the death of 2004 Pulitzer Prize winning poet Franz Wright, I couldn’t help but wonder about the ways in which he was depicted through numerous obituaries. He was “troubled,” he endured many “dark years,” a man who was “celebrated and tormented,” he suffered “clinical depression” and eventually “became addicted to drugs and alcohol.” These descriptions don’t paint an encouraging picture!Franz Wright

Wright holds a unique position in the world of poetry. He was the son of another poet who also won the Pulitzer Prize for poetry! Not surprisingly, the elder Wright (James) has also been described as a tormented individual. James was awarded the Pulitzer Prize in poetry in 1972. Continue Reading →

In Chains For Christ

Two months ago, I posted about the plight of Pastor Saeed Abedini, a Christian man who has been detained in an Iranian prison while his wife and two children continue to plead for his release. When I last posted about this situation, Abedini’s wife and young son had spoken directly with President Obama, in hopes Abedini could be home in time to celebrate the boy’s birthday. Unfortunately, that didn’t happen.Saeed 1

This week, the United States Senate took up the banner, calling for the immediate release of American detainees including Pastor Abedini. The 90-0 Senate vote reflected a firm resolve to keep this matter in the forefront during nuclear negotiations with Iran. Continue Reading →

Life In A Meat-grinder

With ABC’s Dianne Sawyer conducting a two-hour interview scheduled to air tomorrow night, stories and pictures of Olympic athlete Bruce Jenner are everywhere online as well as on the front pages of various tabloids. Jenner reached the pinnacle of success, snagging two Gold Medals in the grueling decathlon. Esquire described him as “the greatest athlete of his time.”bruce-jenner-olympics-590rr020410-e1340118588112The picture above shows the young athlete I remember admiring, proudly holding one of his medals. I can’t deny my amazement that this man – and he is a man, no matter what extent his body is or will be mutilated – could be the same individual the news outlets are now covering.

Forty years separated from his last Gold Medal achievement, the recent picture below makes me think of a tortured and lost child, someone so despondent he’s chosen an extraordinary (some would say irrational) path in hopes it will bring him some measure of peace. I look at this second picture and it breaks my heart. How does an individual arrive at this point of utter desperation?Screenshot 2015-04-23 18.26.14Yes, life can be a meat-grinder … even for someone who is perceived to have success, all the perks of a fine life and seemingly not a care in the world. With three marriages and three divorces, Jenner fathered six children but did not (apparently) find the transformative experiences of family suited his neediness.

Continue Reading →

The Just and the Unjust

There’s an innate desire in our psyche when it comes to knowing an evildoer has been quickly and properly punished. Take the recent guilty verdict rendered in the trial of the 2013 Boston Marathon bomber. As soon as the verdict came down last week, Twitter came alive with condemnations about the still-living perpetrator, stating it would be good for him to get “a taste of his own medicine” or “will he lose his head?” Others emphatically demanded the death penalty.

FROM:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Blake

FROM: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Blake

The biblical patriarch Job expresses similar inclinations in Job chapter 24. The chapter begins with Job asking another penetrating question:  why doesn’t the Almighty set certain specific days for judgment? I think he asks this question in part because he believes people want to know and be assured that evil actors are receiving retribution for their wickedness! If God would set aside the first day of each month to mete out judgment on evildoers, the rest of us could at least have satisfaction knowing it’s been done. Continue Reading →

Where Is God?

Job didn’t gloss over things. As Chapter 23 in The Book of Job opens, Job readily admits:  “I am still complaining today. I groan because God is still making me suffer.” Instead of addressing the observations made by Eliphaz in the previous chapter, Job simply states the facts:  I’m complaining, I’m groaning, all this suffering is causing me to act like a grumpy old man.

FROM:  https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Blake

FROM: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Blake

Complainers don’t win a lot of fans. When friend go through hard times, we want to give them leeway, permit some grousing, just enough to communicate our willingness to sympathize with their situations. But for the friend who builds a reputation as a perpetual complainer, we’re not quite as sympathetic or patient. More often than not, we’re repelled. We have nicknames for them:  Debbie Downer … Negative Nancy … wet blanket … buzzkill. Continue Reading →

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