The problem with life is appearances. What 'appears' good for you can be bad for you and what appears bad can be quite good for you.
Exhibit A: Snickers bars
Exhibit B: Lima beans
What repulses us may end up growing, blessing, enhancing us.
Football legend Tom Landry used to say this: 'A coach's job is to get his players to do what they don't wanna do, in order to accomplish what they want to accomplish.' Blood, sweat, tears, weights, soreness. Bad, right? Wrong.
Unfortunately the reverse is also true. What attracts us may end up destroying us, and others.
They're not all bad, but in our hands they all can become dangerous. Life is littered with people like us and the Greek figure Icarus, pursued that which, in turn, consumed them.
Snicker Bars in the Bible
Jesus weighed in on the matter when he asked, ‘What does it profit a man to gain the whole world and lose his soul?’ After all, who does't wanna 'gain?' (i.e. Who doesn't want a Snickers bar?) Yet, according to Jesus, ‘gaining’ can be ‘losing.’ Am not sure how that works, but it does give me pause.
The Snicker/Lima Bean thing is nothing new: In Genesis 3 we read: ‘The woman saw that the tree was good for food and pleasing to the eyes, and the tree was desirable’. She ate the Snickers bar and regretted it.
I wish appearances were reliable, but apparently they’re not.
I suspect that the reverse is also true. As we look back on our lives, I wonder if some of our biggest disappointments ended up enhancing our lives in unforeseen ways. Perhaps we were protected from something invisible to us as we looked through windshield, only to have it made visible in the rear view mirror? We hated those Lima beans at the time but are now glad we ate ‘em.
What if being in an active relationship with Christ means, among other things, that we have given up relying upon appearances?
I know this is a broad brush with which I am painting. I know I am being unfairly glib. I know it will ring hollow to those who are suffering the loss of a child or loved one or a host of other nightmares. I get it. That said, I do wonder: 'What if?'
What if living by faith means that when something disappointing or painful happens, we don’t immediately conclude it’s bad because of it’s ugly appearance?
What if living by faith means that when something attractive appears, we don’t immediately grasp at it, assuming it’s good on the grounds that it appears attractive?
Maybe faith means being open to the idea that God knows, better than we, what’s good (and bad) for us?
All the best,