WHEN LIFE SEEMS UNFAIR – the farsightedness of God and the nearsightedness of man

As I read the story of the birth of Jesus and of John the Baptist in Matthew chapter 2 and Luke chapter 2 in the Bible, I am struck by one point, something common in both. Did both sets of parents ever wonder why their lot in life was hard, even though they were righteous people? I wonder if Zechariah’s family and Joseph’s family ever questioned why their life was the way it was – one couple had to be childless for so many years and other couple had to be so poor that they could afford only the minimal necessities of life?

God had a plan for both couples and had chosen them to carry out His plan, even though they were unaware of it! Nothing happens without a purpose for those who love Him and nothing is beyond His sovereignty and purview for them. When one is committed to Him, one can be sure that nothing happens, the best or the worst, by chance or without purpose in one’s life.

John the Baptist had to be born before Jesus and until that time Zechariah and Elizabeth had to be barren even though they were righteous and of right standing before God. They wouldn’t have understood the why of it until the right time. I wonder how many times they would have been asked why has God punished you or not answered your prayer. I wonder how many times they themselves would have asked why have we not been blessed and if they doubted the efficacy of their being righteous.
Life was unfair to them and God would seem to be unseeing. Yet they didn’t lose their faith in God nor trade in their righteousness for haphazard living. They held their course and in due time understood the honor for which they had been singled out – to be the parents of a unique child born in urgent times of history and transition.

The same could be said of Joseph and Mary, for they bore the burden of poverty and need. They seemed to be content with their lot and Jesus was born to them as the lowly son of a carpenter. He couldn’t have been born any other way except poor and be loaded with maximum number of disadvantages. It was only then could He identify Himself with all things become so for all men. If His birth and social strata in life would have been otherwise, He would have been at a disadvantage. Since He had this call to be a sacrifice for many, His parents also had to pay the price for it even when they didn’t know it or understand they were God’s choice to be the parents of the Son of God! It is however clear that they did not crib about it nor cease from following God and being righteous.

We often don’t understand or accept our lot in life, because we don’t see our lives in the context of God’s plan for all of humanity. We don’t comprehend the background of the stage in which the drama of our life is being played out. We don’t see the arena in which we live our lives nor do we realize the chain of things in which our lives play their part.

So, we either blame God or become lackadaisical about following Him. We constantly strive to better our lot without understanding His purposes for us in the context of His plans for the whole world. We are worried only about us and our plans and are consumed about upward mobility in society.

We lack the desire to apprehend and understand the big picture. We refuse to acknowledge that we are part of a bigger plan and the importance of the role we play in it as well as our contribution in it. By and large, we live and want to live selfish, individual lives that’s fashioned by minimalistic goals mostly concert tested and concerned about what we eat, what we dress, what we buy, where we live etc. We don’t acknowledge God in our lives and His plans for the world as a whole.

Even when we belong to Him we are more concerned with how to live in the kingdom of this world rather than living with the acceptance that His Kingdom, whose citizens we are, is already here. We shut our eyes and mind to the fact that this world is passing away while eternity is at our doorstep. We are like chickens rooting the soil for juicy worms rather than eagles that lifts its eyes to the heights, unaware the storm is on us.

Question is do I/you have the correct apprehension and clarity of sight. Are we short-sighted and nearsighted or long-sighted and farsighted? Are we being hampered and tempered by faulty and erroneous nearsightedness or enhanced and enlarged by farsightedness?
Whether we like it or not, assess it or not, our lives are the creation of God and our beings exist within the context of His purposes. Things happen to us as per and according to His will and shutting our eyes to it will only cause us to be like the ostrich in the desert that sticks its head in the sands hoping things will go away or change.

On the other hand, if we just accept and acknowledge God and His purposes, we will see clearly to understand that all things work together for our good within the progress of His plans and purposes on earth. We will not be tripped up in our faith nor lose our righteousness, for we will live with foresight. Indeed we will have the right combination to live as people of this era and as people with eternal destinies, as people who possess perfect 20/20 vision!

*Thanks to Elena Taranenko for making this photo available freely on @unsplash 🎁 https://unsplash.com/photos/hCUA4xtxVTA
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TREES

Hands raised in tender supplication,
You reach out to the clear heavens,
Drawing down the droplets of dew and rain,
You soak the dryness out of the ground

Feet rooted in firm foundation,
You stretch out to the dark depths,
Sucking up the moisture flowing down below,
You stand as sentinel between earth and sky

Beauty displayed in rugged creation,
You sustain testimony to His grace and care.
Buried beneath in pressured rigid death,
You transform in time to gems of sparkling light!

*Sorry, its been a long time since I interacted in FF. My son was sitting for his school finals, which is government conducted. It is a very stressful time as it determines his seat in the University. So I had to take a timeout!
*Friday Fictioneers is talented group of enthusiasts penning down a story, a poem, a prose, etc., expressing their heart about a photo prompt © Ronda Del Boccio

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NOT & BUT

Not objects of wrath
But targets of mercy

Not orphans abandoned
But heirs salvaged

Not hated even a moment
But loved forever eternally

Not sinners rejected summarily
But saints accepted unconditionally

Not branded as accursed
But sealed as truly blessed

Not people destined for hell
But inheritors waiting for total redemption!

Sabina Tagore Immanuel
*Photo courtesy: https://unsplash.com/photos/7XGtYefMXiQ and https://unsplash.com/photos/Kr8Tc8Rugdk

Walking the Balance Beam

Balance is the word in vogue today – no matter who you are, what you do, where you live, which culture you are in, when you work, whether you are man or woman, single or married, studying or working etc. We live in a world of multiple responsibilities, tasks, opportunities and options. We want to stay, we want to work, we want to play, we want to raise a family, we want to have a career, we want to earn well, we want to accumulate assets, we want to save and we also want to spend. The biggest question is not just, how do I balance the budget (which, by the way, is a big task in itself!), but HOW DO I BALANCE LIFE per se!

Within this world, we need to live life to the fullest, not just exist. Life, in its most stable form, is full of day-to-day duties and movements with myriad facets and forms. Add to this, the changes that occur (expected and unexpected), relationships that add colour (black, white and all ones in between!), emotions that ride high or low, expectations that wax or wane and dreams that tantalize with their fulfillment or their denial. What you have is a full cup.

Now top up this full cup with the search for reality, identity, significance, worldview and a framework that interprets it all to make sense. It’s more than enough to throw a person!

So what I do with what I have been given? How do I manage the constraints that I am forced to live in? Is there a way to enjoy life? Without tearing myself apart? Or losing the essence of who I am?

Life is a circus in which I have to do tightrope or high wire act. Life is a gymnastics arena in which I have to tackle the narrow beam. How do I develop the expertise to walk to the end of it successfully?

The answer is: Learn the art and science of the balancing act.

Years ago I watched a videotape of Wayne Codeiro’s Leading on Empty: Refilling Your Tank and Renewing Your Passion. Wayne Cordeiro is the founding pastor of New Hope Oahu, one of the fastest-growing churches in the nation. Based in Honolulu, Hawaii, New Hope Oahu is known for redeeming the arts and technology for the Kingdom of God.

In it he talks of a time when he was running on empty, seriously depleted of energy, drive and passion. He talks of how he learnt the art of balancing his roles as head of his home and head of his church, finding the balance between being a father/husband and being a pastor, and making time for home and ministry.

His normal stance was to stand at the center point or midpoint between his responsibilities and hold the balance. At normal times, this position would hold and he could juggle his responsibility well. However, life is not static and so he would often be confronted with challenges and pressures such that he was hard pressed to hold this balance.

His solution for such times was: Move the fulcrum closer to the pressure point! What does this mean? It means that, during times of pressure, identify the point of pressure and gravitate towards it. That is, identify the area of extra stress and give your attention to address it. For example, if the family is going through extra burden, such as sickness at home or teenage angst, spend more time or energy there until it is resolved. Then slip back to your normal midpoint position. When some other area needs extra care, provide it and then assume your original position. Instead of 50-50 attention make it 80-20 until problem is smoothened out. This is the principle of moments in physics applied to real-life situations.

You can walk the narrow beam in life by simply strategically shifting your fulcrum. This may seem an inconvenient way to live, but it actually strengthens you. Life is no longer static or boring, but filled with kaleidoscopic colors and moves. It becomes a graceful dance of life that we often see and envy in performers.

A side benefit is that you no longer resist change nor do you prevent it. You no longer fear but welcome it. You learn that change is the spice of life and you relish it now. You are no longer jaded but enjoy the nuances of your life. Life is no longer a placid pond, but transforms into an adventure down a river of rapids.

In life you need to walk the high wire over a chasm to reach the other side. Learn the balancing act to live life to the fullest!

* Wayne Cordeiro’s video on Dead Leader Running link https://youtu.be/ScxvBqdNnf4

TRIM ME O LORD!

Circumcise my heart, O Lord
And retrieve me with Your love,
Peel back the layers of hardness,
Vulcanized in the process of the ages of my years.

Expose to the light the overshadowing of its darkness,
Cause it to throb afresh with the flow of abundant life.
Scrape off the scabs of a toil that’s oh so wearisome,
Renewing in me once more the sense in a heart of flesh .

Open my blind eyes to see anew,
Distant visions, unchartered vistas that’s hidden in plain sight.
Help me cast aside once more, the garments of my cast,
Joyfully divesting off the glories of my faded past.

Make me patiently await the trappings of my new estate,
Readily shaking off the dust of my last glowing glaze,
Arising to follow You in the wake of Your path,
May I be propelled forward by the cadence of Your grace.

Draw me to the heights with the intenseness of Your hail,
To live within the confines of the intimacy of Your call.
May I never be raptured with the glamour of this cosmos,
Or rest content to dance the tune of the clamour of its beat.

May I always seek to be satiated with the rewards of Your world
Chastened ever daily by the turnings of Your Love!
May I constantly long to be transformed to the pattern of Your likeness,
Until I see Your image mirrored in the entirety of my all!

© SABINA TAGORE IMMANUEL
PC: https://goo.gl/images/

KING OR KNAVE OF HEARTS?

Do you really know the heart of God,
Or even aware of what it beats for?
Do you comprehend what gets His nod,
Or even understand what He longs for!

Do you realize that He is working for the world’s salvation,
While you pray for His wrath on whom He has compassion!
Do you still wish to pray for revenge and retaliation,
While He wants you to bridge the gap in reconciliation!

What if God were to deal with you just the same,
As you do with those you want to shame?
What if He turned around to tarnish your name,
As you do to those you seek to point and blame!

Don’t you realize what would soon happen,
If God were to turn against you and abandon!
Are you cognizant of how hard it will be,
If God were not your friend but your foe!

Let your heart in sync be with what He wants,
Throbbing in tune with the rhythm of His atonement!
Let it seek and crave only what He desires,
Blessing will be yours when you are His in committment!

© SABINA TAGORE IMMANUEL
PC: https://goo.gl/images/

BARRISTER OF HEAVEN

He is the true and righteous advocate,
Who is ready to defend every petition with grace,
He’s never made even a single error or mistake,
Who is yet to give up on anyone as hopeless case!

He is on the side of the discarded and rejected ones,
Those who’ve been battered by wrongs and word stones,
Marginalized and neglected, they survive on society’s crumbs,
Such are the people He seeks and constantly welcomes.

He readily takes up and pleads their just cause,
Showering on them His favor and compassion nonstop,
Though they maybe interred in a dark and dirty jailhouse,
His eyes are always on them constantly without a fullstop.

Careful to judge whose side you do take,
Those He seeks to bless be not the one to break,
Don’t end up working against Him like the snake.
Lest you find yourself under the same curse and fate!

© SABINA TAGORE IMMANUEL
Thanks to @byrawpixel for making this photo available freely on @unsplash 🎁 https://unsplash.com/photos/wHlaFa4H3DQ