Just Deserts

This week started with some of the worst news I have received in a very long time.  I lost a friend in an awful, horrific manner.  My community has been rocked by this tragedy.  Dave Brooks was an irreplaceable member of our church and music ministry, but he was also a very well known and highly respected member of the Chicagoland music industry…gospel and secular musicians alike had a deep and abiding love for Dave as a man and respect for his gift.  No one as kind and as talented and as generous of spirit deserves for their life’s end to take up more attention than the actual good they’ve done.

I think about that sometimes: The natural human sense of entitlement.  Do we ever get what we deserve? What exactly do we deserve?  And why? I know that reaping and sowing has something to do with our perception of the process. I know that when we see people who live their lives in a way that is intentionally good, we expect good things to happen to and for them.  And we would love to believe that people who go through life wreaking havoc and disturbing the peace will have that come back on them.

So why is it that bad things happen to good people?  And, why do so many wicked, hateful people live these long, twisted lives, contaminating the existence of everyone around them?

Let’s just call this me working this out for myself by thinking it through in print.

The rain falls on the just and the unjust, which implies that bad things will happen to the good and the bad alike.  I get that. Then there is the fact that when you are called of God, you will, without question see an increase on the type of spiritual resistance that you will encounter. And then there is the natural growth and development that comes from confronting our ever evolving human/spirit-man sense of balance.  We do and experience things that are borne out of our natural resistance to spiritual discipline. I get that, too.

I can even understand how the wicked get away with ‘murder’ because their expected judgment will be far harder to comprehend than we can imagine and that is why we should not despair when we see them prosper at the expense of those who would do good.

But here’s where I get a little bit introspective. If all of us are indeed either sinners or saved by grace, who exactly are any of us to say that anyone deserves better than we get…PERIOD?

We live as humans…as Holy Kings and Priests…with an over-developed sense of entitlement.  So often we forget the part that GRACE has played in making us look like the royalty that God sees us as.  We are born with a sense of worth that, over time, is either diminished or inflated by circumstance.  We have this measure of faith that is either fed or starved and causes us to behave as if everybody and everything owes us something.

What is the reality?  The reality is that we were born into an inheritance of sin….separation from God as a result of rejecting His original offer of conditional authority. The end result was the condemnation of all humanity.  And yet, God so loved the world…

I think about the sins into which I was born.  Every family has some. And since I can’t call yours out, I will address my own.  I have a family history of sexual sin, witchcraft, manipulation, secrecy and lies.  They have brought me to the brink of some very dark places.  I have made choices in the process of being delivered from these things that, by all rights should have, at the very least, had me committed to a mental institution.  I could very easily have been found dead somewhere on a street corner or a seedy hotel from  a drug over-dose, or contracted some disease from careless prostitution. Or I could have avoided all of that by putting that drain cleaner in a bowl of ice cream and being done with it all, like I thought about doing when I was fourteen years old.  But God so loved ME….

I hate some of the things I have experienced in this life.  Man, I hate some of the things I have experienced in this WEEK.  And every time I get to thinking about how unfair this is or how unjust that is, it all comes down to one question…fair and unjust in comparison to WHAT?  Hell?  The grave by suicide?  The torture of a life depraved by my own sin-sick soul?

I am going to miss my friend, Dave.  I am crying right now as I am typing this because I feel his absence so acutely.  But, even in the tragedy of his passing, he is better off than I, for to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord.  And no, I don’t like the way he died, but I am grateful that he LIVED.  And I am grateful for my life.  And I am grateful for you.  Let us all try harder to live as though we are grateful.  Grateful, not just that God gives us everything we need…but that He never gives us our just deserts.


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