Makes God sound a bit like Gandalf:
A wizard is never late, Frodo Baggins. Nor is he early. He arrives precisely when he means to.
The title is a direct quote from a press release and has little to do with what follows. All bold is in the original.
God will test us to see how much we are trusting in Him to do what He said He will do for us that is recorded in the Bible. Are you passing the test?
James 1:3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
James 1:12 Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial because, having stood the test, that person will receive the crown of life that the Lord has promised to those who love him.
2 Corinthians 2:9 Another reason I wrote you was to see if you would stand the test and be obedient in everything.
Trust that he’ll turn up eventually, is the point, I guess. Like Waiting for Godot.
This is the lead up to the promotion of a couple books by Michael Anthony Gagliardi, called A Divine Connection With A Message From God Volume I & II. Hardly gripping titles, but once you start reading them, don’t you dare quit. “Blessed is the one who perseveres under trial…” after all.
The author connects the widespread job losses, home foreclosures, and financial struggles characteristic of our times with maladies such as anxiety, depression, worry, sickness and even thoughts of suicide, affecting both Christians and non-Christians alike.
I’m not sure if this was supposed to startle people or not. We already know that job loss is depressing and stressful. We already know the threat of foreclosure is a cause of worry and anxiety. We know both of those have a bigger risk of happening if there is a health issue in play and that person has shitty access to affordable healthcare. And it’s quite likely many suicides occur on account of debt. I remember that feeling, that sense of hopelessness and fear about never getting out from under it. It was not a good feeling.
We’ve also designed a society that puts tremendous pressure on people in terms of performance and perfection. Never mind economic issues, just think about all the personal stress we’ll put ourselves under to conform, achieve, diet or change everything else about ourselves in order to fit someone else’s assumption of what we should want to be. What we think we have to live up to. Goals we think we should have. Status and recognition we think we deserve, with or without effort put in to earn it.
We have a tendency to not make things easy on ourselves. A lot of us are overscheduled. Sadly, a lot of parents have done the same bad turn to their kids, too. A lot of parents have made it worse by thinking that the only way kids can be happy is if they’re always given everything they want on top of it. Then there are the groups who are always on the look out for danger in the innocuous, stripping the fun out of things we know were fun as kids don’t dare to let kids do now.
Ever wonder why? I sure as hell do. From not letting kids try a toboggan at school to not letting them play sports in a park because they just might trip on a rock or something, it’s ludicrous is what it is. I’ll quote a bit from a Salon piece called The war on children’s playgrounds:
The Consumer Product Safety Commission has issued reams of playground regulations and actually gone so far as to recommend against “tripping hazards, like tree stumps and rocks.” Maybe we should just bulldoze the local parks and put in a couple of blobs — this time, made of plastic.
The idea, of course, is that playgrounds need constant overhauling because kids are hurting themselves unnecessarily. But that depends on your definition of “unnecessary.”
“Children rise to risk,” says Joan Almon, executive director of the U.S. Alliance for Childhood. “Give them some genuine risk and they quickly learn what their limits are, and then they expand their limits.” The problem is: If kids never encounter even tiny risks, they never develop that thing we call common sense.
They may never develop decent motor skills, either. I found an About piece that reports on a study done in 2010 by Ohio State University professor Jackie Goodway and her colleagues. Using a standardized locomotor test, they recorded the skill levels of 469 kids from urban, state-funded preschools meant to serve the “disadvantaged” youth. Disadvantaged is an understatement.
An astonishing 86 percent of the children in the study scored below the 30th percentile of children nationwide, which is considered developmentally delayed. It puts them at a greater risk for obesity, says Goodway. “These fundamental motor skills–running and catching and throwing and kicking–are the movement ABCs,” Goodway said in a press release issued by Ohio State. “If children don’t learn the ABCs, they can’t read. And if they don’t learn basic motor skills they won’t participate in sports or exercise.”
How many of those kids are going to get enough encouragement from parents, teachers and mentors to persevere and overcome that monstrous setback? It will take more than faith in Jesus, that’s for damn sure.
To finish on track with the original intent here, I quote the press release again:
for Christians who truly understand the power of redemption, it doesn’t have to be that way: “God’s people do not need to be in a constant worry, fear or a panic state of mind because the precious blood of Jesus shed on the cross at Calvary offers victory over every situation we face here on earth,” says Gagliardi, whose own home was in foreclosure while he wrote the book. “With Jesus Christ, complete victory is completely possible.”
And have proceeds from his books paid the debt on his house now? The press release doesn’t say. It takes more than faith in Jesus to pay off a house, too, obviously. I’ll bet a cookie Gagliardi worried a little about the possibility of losing it. Maybe prayer (and book sales) eased his worries but, truth be told, a little worry can be a good thing. It can prompt you to get off your ass and do something to fix the problem so you won’t have to worry about it anymore. You can’t aim to persevere at something if you never get around to starting in the first place.