Uffie and Theodicy

My wife got a flu shot today. While she was waiting, she put on her headphones and proceeded to look around at those sitting in the waiting room with her. Apparently people watching in Walgreens to the tune of “The Art of Uff” set her mind to a-ponderin’.

As magnanimous as most of us like to believe we’d be if we suddenly became wealthy, how good would we really be? Leah said that when it really comes down to it, she would have to actively exert effort into not letting it go to her head. There’s an air of superiority that comes with having money, and she wasn’t confident that it wouldn’t turn her into a bitch. (Her words, I’m allowed to say that.)

Because of this, is it possible that God knows that and has acted accordingly? Has God deliberately stopped us from being wealthy to protect my lovely wife (or those around her) and keep her on the path of who God wants her to be? The moment she asked that question out loud, she asked another that really got to the root of things:

We believe that bad things just happen… We don’t blame God when something goes wrong… So why do we give him credit when something goes right? Why do we call ourselves “blessed” when things are going well, but when things are going poorly, we rarely think of ourselves as “cursed”?

If God doesn’t control the bad, does he outright control all the good?

Maybe there are wealthy people that God would rather see living paycheck to paycheck. I know living a scarce lifestyle has helped me to appreciate it when the black number is bigger than the red one… I find it hard to believe that there aren’t people whose souls could benefit from a little scrimping. All of that being said, how much (or little) of it is God’s active hand and how much is our own doing? Or dumb luck (good and bad)? Leah and I discussed tonight how different our lives could be had we made different choices. We tend to think we make mostly decent choices, but we also know they could be better; especially in regards to money.

I’m aware that our current situation is solely on us, but is that because it’s not spectacular? If we were riding high on the hog would it be pious to make that same statement?

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3 responses to “Uffie and Theodicy

  1. Hmmmm…ponderous. In my experience people always blame God when things go badly, but forget to thank Him when they are good. Over the years I really have yet to come to a conclusion as to how much of it is Him and how much of it is me. I DO believe God is sovereign, so he knows our situations and our decisions before we do. Yet He asks us to pray. And ask.

    I also believe that the whole point of our existence here on earth is so that we will become more like Jesus…I think it’s a character building thing. So if THAT is true (and that is primarily based on my own theologica research, assumptions and faith) then EVERYTHING could be looked at as an opportunity for character building. Not enough money? A lesson in humility and/or poverty. Not feeling well? A lesson in compassion for others who are ill. Burn the toast this morning? A lesson in patience and operationalized thinking (learn to adjust the dial for petes sake!) Now how much of that is truly God’s plan and how much of it is mine is very unclear to me. All I know is that God intends for us to have Life…and Life to the full. What that looks like I suppose is a very different thing for each person?!

  2. I think we’re still wealthy now, and look how our wealth has calloused us. IF you don’t have to worry most days about being without food, water, shelter, and love…you’re more secure and wealthy than most of the world. So having even more material wealth just magnifies our uglieness.

    and the root question reminds me of Faith My Eyes by Derek Webb.

    But I get turned around
    I mistake my happiness for blessing
    But I’m blessed as the poor
    Still I judge success by how I’m dressing

    So keep ’em coming these lines on the road
    And keep me responsible, be it a light or heavy load
    And keep me guessing with these blessings in disguise
    And I’ll walk with grace my feet and with faith my eyes

  3. “I’m aware that our current situation is solely on us”

    When it comes to certain things I beleive we are masters of our own destiny (predestination be damned) however the pull yourself up by your bootsraps american mentality i believe misplaces too much of our responsibility on our selves for our prosperity.

    “If God doesn’t control the bad, does he outright control all the good?”

    I dunno on that one. Thats worth a whole post in and of itself and i feel could be argued either way.

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