Earthquakes and Other Things

Jesus came to find and restore the lost ~ Luke 19:10.

It’s not easy to decide what’s most important in life. We’re making choices all the time. When I wake in the morning, do I realise that the first thing I think of, the main joy, the most interesting event that catches my attention, might be the means of leading me astray that day? Do I grasp the happy thought or choose the sad, agonising one?

It’s not easy to ignore the media’s tempting items; the juicy story about someone’s fall from grace, or the grisly news. Is it really the public’s right to know? I watch myself as I make decisions and what I see isn’t always the perfect solution. I’m not in an examination, and neither is God. He’s not ticking boxes in our lives, like a multiple choice test. But if I were up for judgment, would I pass?

Every day, journalists make many important choices. Their livelihoods are founded on sifting through disasters, deciding what to make available and what to leave unsaid. Sadly they mostly pick the stories of wrecks.

I was thinking about all this and it brought me to the way the Bible does it. Like a newspaper, the scriptures record so many ill-fated events, so many ‘earthquakes’. Does that mean God’s no different to the mass media, stirring up trouble and showing how bad mankind is? No! If I’m honest, I’ll see the multitude of times when he gave solutions, made good out of bad, brought people to a place where they could make good choices. In fact, he made a good one himself when he decided to provide the answer to every wrong, every sorrow, every disaster, by sending Jesus.

In this past week we’ve been confronted with a man being paraded through the ‘streets’ of the media. Brought down by his own choices, he’s admitted his failures. His life looks like a wreck. But in Jesus’ way of looking at him, that man can have hope…if he looks for answers in the right place.¬†While ‘everyone’ is concentrating on his story, we know how Jesus would deal with him. He set an example for us, for me, to know how to show love to a man who can’t see his way; a man who is lost.

While all this furore has been played out on the screens of our computers and televisions, other people have been going through their own earthquakes – literal ones. But they’ve been ignored by the news-makers. These lives have also been shattered, their families uprooted and thrown out like trash, and they’ve been left to rot as if they have no value. We have to search for their stories: little children, bereft parents, homeless and crying. I might never have known about their disaster if someone hadn’t mentioned it to me. Another country, another nation, a natural disaster.

I try to pass by the sordid, nasty stories, but I’m also tempted to read, to talk about the mistakes of public figures even though there are many more private, quiet people who are also facing an unknown future because of events beyond their control. Can I influence how my world responds to such dramas? How can I decide how I respond to them, to the real people? I have the Bible stories to show me the best way, Jesus’ way of love and acceptance. I pray I’ll have the courage to start right where I am, to stand against the evil that I’m confronted with every day. I do want to make the right choices.

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