Sunday, March 15, 2009

Say What?!

I read a book not to long ago called "The Shack." Great book, by they way, that I would encourage anyone and everyone to read. During the book a man has an encounter with the Trinity and finds healing from "The Great Sadness" in his life. Having gone through a "Great Sadness" I could relate to a lot of what was going on in the book. That being said, I have been wanting to blog about my favorite paragraph in the book, but just couldn't sit down to do it until now.

So why the title, "Say What?!" on this post? The other day I was told through the grapevine that a person I know said that Bryson's accident was the result of sin in the family and/or an undisciplined family - say what? - I know. I am fully aware that I did not hear this from the horse's mouth and so it could be a rumor, but I wanted to blog about this even more because that was exactly what the paragraph in the book was about. To top it all off, the weekend after I heard what this person said I was to teach the teen Sunday school lesson which was titled, "Does sin cause suffering." The lesson was the story of Job and how his friends tried to convince him that sin was causing all of the suffering in his life when in fact, God allowed Satan to test Job through all of the suffering because He knew Job would be faithful. (If you are not a Christian you can check out the story in the book of Job in the Bible.) Well after all that, I knew I needed to blog about this, if not just for myself, maybe for somebody else who has experienced suffering.

The paragraph
(Mack is the guy and Papa is the Father part of the Trinity)

Mack “Is that what this is about? Did she have to die so you could change me?”
Papa “Whoa there, Mack, that’s not how I do things.”
Mack “But if she hadn’t died, I wouldn’t be here now…”
Papa “Mack, just because I work incredible good out of unspeakable tragedies doesn’t mean I orchestrate the tragedies. Don’t ever assume that my using something means I caused it or that I need it to accomplish my purposes. That will only lead to false notions about me. Grace doesn’t depend on suffering to exist, but where there is suffering you will find grace in many facets and colors.”

Excert from "The Shack"
by WM. Paul Young

Here is what was brought to my mind right away when I heard what the person said about Bryson's accident.

"As he (Jesus) went along, he saw a man blind from birth. His disciples asked him, 'Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?'
'Neither this man nor his parents sinned,' said Jesus, 'but this happened so that the work of God might be displayed in his life.'"

John 9:1-4

So, here is what I believe. I believe that sin does cause much suffering, but I also believe that there is much suffering in the world because we live in a fallen world. As Christians we are not immune to the ups and downs of life, but rather we are to live through all of this knowing that Christ has been there and is walking through this life with us. We can do all of this knowing that God has a plan and though we may not be able to see it and we may not understand we know that we can trust him.

I believe that Bryson's accident was not caused by sin (although we are not by any means perfect) or by an undisciplined family (if you really know my family you know that we are anything but undisciplined:)) but rather because our family lives a real life. And just because we are Christians does not mean we are immune from tragedies. I love the part in the paragraph from The Shack where it talks about where there is suffering there you will find grace in many colors and facets. I believe that even though our family and especially Bryson has faced great suffering I believe that at the end of our lives God will have made something beautiful out of all of it. And I pray that through it all God's work might be displayed in our lives.


Raul and Catie said...

wow...what a great post! I was so encouraged just by reading this. I've heard those verses so many times, but it for some reason it always takes someone reminding you for it to really sink in.
I've also heard a lot about this book, but being in China hasn't given me much access to it.
you and your family are an amazing example of His love and grace...keep serving Him

Candice said...

Ugh! How dare someone act as if they know why Bryson's accident was caused. Just because you are religious does not make you God or all knowing. I'm sorry, but I think that is so rude and offensive. You are much more graceful about this than I would be!

It happened and now your family is persevering. That is fantastic. I don't find this comment very helpful or supportive.

steve said...

your comments are well spoken. another thought is that when there is pain we often recognize God's grace more readily.

Anonymous said...

nicole, Kim, john and I read this book and Kim has passed on and bought it for people to read. Even my dad read it. 85 years old.

It has provoked a lot of discussion just between all of us. For people to say stupid things is ignorance. All these years growing up where things were your guidepost if you were a sinner or saint wasted so much time that they could have been serving God in a helpful way rather than a hurtful manner.

They are not educated or know how to read the Bible for meaning. They find that one scripture that supports their belief and run with it.

You and your family have demonstrated that you have turned every page and read eveyword more than one time. Bryson is who he is today because of who you are.

Each time you post I am encouraged by the thoughts you share and how God keeps revealing himself to you.

You and your family are in my prayers, always.


Jay & Tammy Tropf said...

Not sure if you remember me.....but I am a longtime friend of JoEllen's from Marion! I just have to say that I TRULY appreciate this post. I also read The Shack and my interpretation of the book and that specific paragraph is the same as yours. My dad was killed in a car accident 6 years ago. When tragedies like this want to try to figure out why......but it all comes back to the fact that we live in a fallen world. I also believe that God continues to use my dad's life and death for His glory......just as He's using Bryson's life. We will never understand all of it.....nor be okay or like all of it......but, I'm SO thankful we serve a FAITHFUL God who is so full of GRACE and sees us through these tough times! May God continue to use Bryson and your family for His glory!
Take care,
Tammy Landis Tropf

Tracy Anne said...

Ugh!!! Some guy that I've never met said the same thing about my 15year old cousin's cancer!

A friend of mine forwarded my prayer request to her prayer warrior friends and this guy had the gall to say that past sin was the reason for his cancer. I was actually quite horrified that any Christian would have that thought process.

Bryson's accident and your entire family's faith through it all has already been used for God's Glory! I just hope I'm around long enough to see what God does when he's all grown up! I know God's got AWESOME plans for your boy!!!