Recently a semi-famous actor/comedian stated that he was "eternally grateful" that his wife had aborted their first child. He reasoned that otherwise the life they have now, the life they crafted and created would not have been possible. If that child had seen the light of day, then perhaps the careers they now have, the home the enjoy, the lifestyle they live, and the children they chose to have would not be here today. He reasons, for some reason, that that first child they conceived would have ruined their lives. And so he or she had to be eliminated. That tiny, defenseless, voiceless human being had to be terminated, killed because he or she stood in the way of Andy's plans.
We live in the midst of a narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) epidemic. We live in a culture that worships the unholy trinity of Me-Myself-I. Our society is plagued with me-monsters.
From the youngest age we are taught to seize life, control it, guide it, make it what you want. Don't get me wrong. I like plans. I love dreams and desires. I think it's wonderful to have a sense of direction and to be driven to achieve and accomplish great things. The question, however, is at what cost?
Are we willing to lie and cheat to get the education we want? Are we willing to destroy another's good reputation to get the job we've been working toward? Do we have a problem with stealing or embezzling to get the house we've dreamed of or the car? Are we willing to kill someone to make what we want to happen, happen? Are we willing to murder someone in cold blood in order to gain control of our lives? Even if that control is only an illusion? Even if that "someone" is an innocent child? An elderly parent? A sick spouse? Does the end justify any means?
In today's First Reading Job shows us that God is in control. Job knows this all too well. Everything has been taken from him. His plans for his business are now pipe dreams. His goals for his children are all laid to waste. His vibrant, healthy body has been decimated. God is in control, not Job. God is in control, not me.
Our fallen human nature rebels against that last sentence. We want to be in control. We want to say what does and doesn't happen in the world around us. We want to control our home, body, health, family, job, finances, marriage, and on and on. In short, we want to be God. We can hear the conversation from Eden echoing in our brains...."did God really say...no, God knows...your eyes will be opened and you will be like gods..."
Yet when we learn that God is in control. It is freeing. It is comforting. It is reassuring. It's the difference between me driving our 15 passenger van or my ten-year-old. If I'm driving the van, we'll go places. Now, my family may not be happy with the route, the speed, the bumps, or the traffic but we will get to where we are going. However, if the ten-year-old is driving, there will be a trail of disaster following that van. Let God drive the van, trust Him!
In the Gospel too we find folks who want to be in control. They want everything to be just so before following Jesus. They want everything to be perfect before they give themselves over to Him. They want to know that their physical needs will be met. Jesus promises no such thing, "Foxes have dens and birds of the sky have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to rest his head." They want to know that their family is safe and nothing bad will happen to them. Jesus promises no such thing, "Let the dead bury the dead. But you, go and proclaim the Kingdom of God." They want to know that the work they embark on will be profitable and useful. Jesus promises no such thing, "No one who sets his hand to the plow and looks to what was left behind is fit for the Kingdom of God."
Jesus is asking us to follow Him. Yes, we can have plans and goals but He wants us to give those to Him. Only when we give up our desire for control can we be truly free. Only when we acknowledge that God is in control can we be truly happy. Giving up control to God allows us to say, without reservation, "I will follow you wherever you go"...even if it's to Calvary. The perfect time to follow Jesus is not when this or that is in line, the perfect time is today.
Let us pray for Andy and his conversion and healing. Let us pray that he and we will give control to God and be freed of the slavery of self.
“There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, "Thy will be done," and those to whom God says, in the end, "Thy will be done." - C.S. Lewis - The Great Divorce
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