'D23 Expo 2011 - Marvel panel - Shifting the Paradigm' photo (c) 2011, pop culture geek - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/Life is full of vicissitudes, vagaries, and chance. While I believe God is sovereign, I also believe that, as C.S. Lewis said, “Free will requires a kind of divine self-abdication.” This does not mean that God is not privy to what will happen, but rather that he purchased our freedom at such a high cost to himself that he often doesn’t step in to stop free acts of others from hurting what we would deem the innocent.

Bullets, and bats, are not transmogrified into harmless rubber. Child molesters are not afflicted with impotency. The world seems to be going straight to hell without so much as a by-your-leave.

Some would point to this, and say there is no God. And on the surface, it sure appears that way. The Bible has something to say about this; namely, that this world is under the evil one’s sway. That we don’t yet see everything under Christ’s feet.

Don’t get me wrong: I want to accept that, I want it to be enough, but I have questions aplenty.

Why did I lose a sibling to abortion?

Why were my dad, and his sisters, subjected to such an unhealthy, abusive upbringing?

Why do I have no relationship with him?
Why do I struggle making lasting friendships?

Why is being a husband, and dad, so hard for me?

Why, God, did you let xxxxx happen, and why didn’t I find out until I was an adult?

Why do you keep shifting my paradigms, and peeling back the layers of my life like some onion? 'layers' photo (c) 2011, rosmary - license: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/

He never answers these questions, except to give selfsame answer he gave to Job:

“Where were you when I made the world, since you are so old?”

What can I say to that? Such is his severe mercy that I must cling to, and grope for, it everyday.

None other has the words of life.

How about you? What are your questions? What do you struggle with in this vale of tears?

I see her in my mind’s eye: the bright red of her hair shining in the sun’s light, pigtails flying, green eyes sparkling as she swings on the backyard swingset. She is fair-complected like her Irish forebears, freckled by the sun she loves so much.

In my dreams, I stand behind her pushing her higher and higher as she squeals in delight.

“Higher, brother, higher,” she says. So I comply, pushing her up towards the sky.

She is always five, happy, precocious, precious as we play. We roll in the grass, staining our clothes. We chase my cat into the trees behind our parent’s property. She is a joy–full of laughter and life.

I will always keep her safe. No harm will come to her as long as I’m alive. I am her big brother.

Our mother calls us in for dinner. Missy, for that’s her name, can’t come inside. I wonder why. She’s just as much a part of this family as I.

“It’s okay, brother,” she says. “I’ll be here tomorrow when it’s time to play.” I go in for the night, eat my dinner, say my prayers…

Then I wake up. I’m not a little boy, but a man grown. And then I remember: I’ve never met my sister. Her life ended before it even began, scraped from our mother’s womb. Because two sons, and a burgeoning career, were enough–perhaps too much.

I see my sister, sitting on Daddy’s knee, laughing, waiting for me. Someday the faith shall be sight.

Until then, Missy.

Everyone, I have the great privilege of guest posting for Chris Morris today. He is husband, dad, Christ-follower, CPA by day, and a creative. He wrote a post, How Climbing Cliffs is Nothing Like Forgiveness, in which he shared a dream.

This post sparked some thoughts in me.

What follows is an excerpt of Prodigal Brother:

The Prodigal Son. The story of a young man who received his inheritance, and promptly wasted it on a profligate lifestyle. He squandered his blessings on wine, women, and song. He at least finally came to his senses, there in the hog pen, and decided to go home.

Thinking all the while that he was no longer worthy to be called his father’s son. What he failed to account for is that once a name is given it cannot be taken away.

Meaning that just because we sin does not mean we are no longer a part of the family. Does this mean we should sin? As Paul said, “God forbid.”

What it means is that we, like the Prodigal Son before, serve a God Who runs. Make no mistake: His love is always there, but somehow when we turn around (repent) God gallops to us with arms wide open. Even when we still have the stench of hog on us.

Please visit Chris’s blog to read the rest. While you’re there, stay awhile, kick the tires, read his work. He’s a great writer.

Up Late Again

randomlychad  —  June 12, 2013 — 24 Comments

I’m up late again. It’s almost one A.M. I looked at the work at before me, and my soul tied itself in knots. I’m scared. I know there’s something more in me than this blog. It feels like it wants to be born.

Like the gestating beasts (made famous in the Alien movies) known as “chest bursters,” it feels like something is clawing its way out of me.

And I’m afraid of it.

It’s taking the heart out of me on its way out of my body. So I try to lose myself in T.V., books, but it won’t be ignored. I can’t bargain with it, for, as Pascal said, “the heart has its reasons that reason knows not of.”

I’m in a time of transition now between what was and what will be. And as with most people, this change is scary.

You see: my friend, Jim Woods, has challenged me to take my best posts, the most helpful, most challenging ones, add in some new material, and generate an eBook.

And I’m afraid.

What if I fail?

What if I succeed?

What will the ramifications even be?

I don’t know.

So I sit at home, afraid to move, and just watch T.V.

I know I need to push past this resistance that’s lying to me.

God give me the grace, the strength, and all that I need to birth the dreams you have put into me.

Have you been there?

Random Brain Droppings promises to be a semi irregular series here on the blog. Mostly when my mind gets all discombobulated with disparate thoughts.

For instance, have you ever spent time doing research on WebMD? I know I have (and really I know you have, too. It’s okay, fess up–this is a safe place).

Have you heard of Naegleria Fowleri? I hadn’t until several years ago when I watched an episode of the X-Files. Which featured a “brain eating amoeba” as the creature of the week.

Which I know, thanks to WebMD, is N.fowleri. It’s an amoeba that lives in the silt found in warm water–whether lakes, rivers, or pools. If the water is dirty enough, or not properly treated, N.fowleri can be present.

Here’s the thing: I’m a sleep apnea sufferer. As such, I use a C-PAP device. It keeps my airway open while I sleep. It also causes, due to the nightly blowing of air, a recurrent sore in my left nostril.

Which on occasion almost daily bleeds. If it’s a choice between dying young of one of a host of complications caused by apnea, I’ll take “Bloody nose” for $100, Alex. It’s a small price to pay for continued life.

Because of this sore, and because I live on the Internet, I’m careful when I swim now. I plug my nose when I do cannon balls, y’all!

But not when I dive. Because I figure I’m swooshing into the water, and there’s less chance of it being forced up my nose.

What did I do on Memorial Day? I did cannon balls, I dove, I had fun with my kids.

What did I do on my last dive? I closed my eyes underwater as I serenely glided towards the shallow end.

You know where this is going.

I made full facial contact with the upward slope separating the deep from the shallow end. Blood streamed from both nostrils. And other than being, I don’t know, happy to be alive, happy to not have a broken neck. Happy to only have pool rash on my nose, what did I think about?

What thought consumed me?

Naeglaleria fowleri.

I was sure, due to the fact that it’s suitably warm here in Arizona, that mom’s pool wasn’t the cleanest is ever been, the ratio of blood to water contact, that I was going to contract N.fowleri, and those nasty little vermin were going to start munching on my grey matter.

Not withstanding that I, you know, hit my face, the fact that I had a headache afterwards only served as confirmation: I was going to die.

It was just a matter of a little time. My wife and kids were going to witness my rapid decline into coma and death.

And there was nothing anyone could do

Truth be told, my pool accident, coupled with Internet over research, fed into one of my greatest fears:

Losing my mind.

Because, you see, it may not be a great one, but it is amongst one of the few things I’ve got. I’m not musically inclined, not exceptionally coordinated.. . But I can string a sentence, or two, together from time to time.

And the thought of losing my mind freaks me right the heck out. I imagine it would you, too.

What’s something you’re afraid of? Go ahead and share. This is a safe place.