Stuff Happens

Recently I wrote a light poem for a contest entitled. I titled it, "I Blame Ketchup".

Ketchup on fries,
on chilli, on rice,
on Jello, on meat pies,
on pizza by slice.

Ketchup on eggs,
poached or fried,
soft boiled or hard,
deviled or dyed.

Ketchup they boast,
on steak is the most,
on hot dog, or bun,
foot long's more fun.

Ketchup on jerky,
chicken, or turkey,
dark meat or light,
'til belt is too tight.

Ketchup on chives
may give you hives
sniffling, or sneezing,
and horrible lives.

Yes, I maintain,
ketchup's to blame.
Ketchup by name,
is to blame.

I blame ketchup,
not God.

Cassandra WesselOf course, blaming ketchup for what goes wrong is laughable. Stuff does happen. Natural disasters plague our planet. Stress zones in the earth's crust snap. Earthquakes and tsunamis devastate. Fiery volcanos erupt. Hurricanes and tornados roar, rend and ruin. Low pressure systems collide with high, causing massive storms. Jet streams propel them like missiles across oceans and continents. Natural disasters fiercely tear through human attempts at civilization.

Stuff happens. It happens because this earth is a living thing. It struggles as with the pain of childbirth. St. Paul, wrote. "We know that the whole creation has been groaning as in the pains of childbirth right up to the present time." Romans 8:22 (NIV) The earth has done this because pride laden evil entered in the form of a serpent at the beginning of human history. When Adam and Eve reached proudly for God-forbidden fruit and consumed it, they soon found themselves consumed. This action propelled them from God's presence. It became the spiritual barrier between themselves and God, but it also tore the physical realm, making ongoing tragedy certain.

Nevertheless, people never seem to expect tragedy. Often they never even think about 'stuff happening'. They shove death and disaster far from their minds. When it happens, they find themselves unprepared. Then, face to face with tough questions, they ask "Why? Why me? Why my family?" Their questions compel them to search for answers, usually in all the wrong places, like alcohol or drugs. Instead, their questions lead to even more fearful questions, which remain, unanswered.

Similarly, some believers fail to think about "stuff happening". They simply assume nothing will happen to them because they are Christians. They believe God protects them. They are right that God protects His people. The book of Job bears testimony to it. Nevertheless, godly Job suffered terribly. Satan battled for his soul causing all sorts of disasters to happen to him. The Accuser is the spiritual cause behind physical troubles.

To think that God will protect believers simply because they are believers, forgets the lesson of Job. To believe that God will always elevate His own people above the rest of the human race, reeks of sinful pride. People who ascribe to this view soon find their cocksure belief system crumbling because those beliefs are wrongly grounded in their own self esteem, rather than God's grace. Thus when "stuff happens", the people who wrongly placed their faith in pride of position, find their lives shaken as with a 9.0 earthquake. 'Stuff happening' dismays them.

Dismay can be found everywhere people hug a sense of deserved destiny to heart. There's a phrase in an old song that goes,"life is just a bowl of cherries". It reflects the idea that life only brings good things. It affirms what some believe – that no plague, or disaster ought to come near them. They believe they deserve luxury and happiness wherever they find it – simply because they are human. They feel entitled to good things. Deep down, they have a sense of deserved destiny buried in their bones.

Scripture begs to differ with this expectation. The witness of the Old Testament refutes the sense of self-centered destiny. Thousands of years ago, when God's chosen people engaged in all sorts of forbidden activities, God expelled them from their homeland for pridefully breaking their agreement with God to live by God's laws. Both law abiding and law breaker lost their homeland. This event counters the idea that deserving people will always receive good things.

Having said as much, good things do come to people, but not because of any human right to have them. Good things happen by God's grace. Because God rules over everything, He grants good things when He chooses.

In democracies, people find this idea troublesome. They can more readily accept "mother nature's" fickleness, than God's rule. In an attempt to ensure the validity of their position, they try to remove God from public places and minds. However, this effort does not erase God. It merely highlights human pride.

There is a saying traveling through Christian circles."You may not believe in God, but God believes in you." That saying shouts that God exists, but even more, in spite of human rebellion, it proclaims His love for people. St. Paul wrote in Romans 5:8 (NIV). "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

Absolutely no one deserved good things more than God's perfect Son. Nevertheless, our Lord Jesus, when faced with the cross said, "Nevertheless, not my will, but Thine, be done." God's own Son cancelled human pride and cheekiness by going to the cross. God's answer to 'stuff happening' is the cross of Christ. God in Christ Jesus went to the cross to counter for all eternity the horrible effects of sin. While this earth may still reel beneath them, eternity does not. Through Christ Jesus, God sovereignly opened the way into eternity for those who accept His offer. When they do, death becomes the open door to life, eternal. This is why, when 'stuff happens', I no longer blame God, or even ketchup. I pray that I will praise Him in all things, instead.