Tuesday, June 6, 2017

When I first had my back surgery I struggled with my identity. Especially as a man who grew up in a place where a man’s worth was directly tied to his ability to provide for his wife (click the link to read more)

When I first had my back surgery I struggled with my identity.  Especially as a man who grew up in a place where a man’s worth was directly tied to his ability to provide for his wife, I floundered to find a new way to be a husband, father, and friend.   I empathize with Tobit who has gone from being a breadwinning man of virtue to an unemployed blind man who seems to have very few friends in the world.   As the tension grows in his life, even the generous gift of those who want to reward his family with grace causes him to distrust God’s providence and his wife’s honest, hard work.   She comes back with a statement to remind Tobit of who he is.   “Where are your kind deeds now?”   It’s easy to be generous and kind, to bury the dead in opposition of the enemy when he could see.   Now that he’s blind, unable to function in society, and reliant on others… his doesn’t seem to be as quick to forgive or trust.

That’s easy for us all to fall into, isn’t it?   When things are going swimmingly and our health is strong and robust we find time to do the things God requires of us.  It’s when we are down on our luck, our health is failing, our social roles are broken and we are left to seemingly fend for ourselves that our trust in God and others begins to waver.   The God of the mountaintop is still God in the valley.   How do we get to that point?  Faith.  For me it required time.   It took a long time for me to see my situation as a blessing.  To realize that my daily struggle with pain was an opportunity to grow closer to God in faith and in action.  Serving others in spite of my own trials has led me to realize that even in the darkest of valleys there is a glimmer of hope and light.

When I was a Protestant I spent a great deal of time worrying.  I looked for the end of time symbols and I tried to figure out all the symbols in the book of revelations and put faces and names into the message to see where the devil was at work.   The government seemed an evil.   Organized religion was the furthest thing from my mind.   Jesus reminds us of two simple truths in his short message today.  One, the governments of this world are nothing compared to our God.  Revelation isn’t a message of fear, it’s a message of hope.   We’ve seen the end and He wins.   Secondly, it reminds us that being a good Christian means being a good citizen.   It means working to change our government, our laws, and our society to reflect the values of the kingdom.   That doesn’t mean something crazy like Sharia law or forced conversions!   What it does mean is that we look to make society as good as we can, and always remember that we are first and foremost citizens of the Kingdom.   That we work for the good of all mankind and not just the ones who are right here with us, not just our family and friends… but all of the world.   It means even when we are in the darkest of places, spiritually or physically blinded by what the world throws at us, that God’s still there with us and never forget who we truly are.

His servant and yours,

Brian Mullins

 "Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my rock, and my redeemer. - Psalm 19:14

Tuesday of the Ninth Week in Ordinary Time
Lectionary: 354
TB 2:9-14
PS 112:1-2, 7-8, 9
MK 12:13-17