Twilight Twitches

fetscherDear Family,
Nearly 40 years ago, Rabbi Harold S. Kushner wrote what turned out to be a best seller: “When Bad Things Happen to Good People.” Rabbi Kushner’s book was inspired by the life and death of his son, Aaron, who was born with progeria (“rapid aging,”). The disease finally claimed Aaron just after his 14th birthday.

For probably most of those years I remembered the name of the work as, “Why do bad things Happen to Good People.” What a surprise to find out that I had a correction to make.

For Rabbi Kushner the issue was not ‘Why’ but ‘When.’ Now 85, Rabbi Kushner was also a wise man at 45. The Rabbi wrote from experience.

My intent with this Twitch as we move through our COVID-19 shutdowns and distancing and face masks, was to say something about good and evil, why things happen and don’t happen, etc.

When I went back to find Rabbi Kushner, as I said, I got surprised. I didn’t have to go beyond the very title to have the Rabbi remind me that anyone who tries to answer the question “WHY do bad things happen to good people?” simply is missing the point. Stuff happens. The Rabbi challenges us to look at how we respond WHEN ‘stuff’ does happen.

Of course, the Rabbi’s wise caution doesn’t prevent me from taking a shot at evil, as I have in the past.

My starting point is what we know from Sacred Scripture. That presumes we believe it is the word of God. Once said, then we go to the very beginning of Genesis and hear that all that exists, God made. ...AND He made it GOOD! The pinnacle of His creative act is humankind.

Above all, humanity is gifted with free will. The symbol of the Garden of Eden is a place of perfection where God and man relate. Then came the snake and the symbol of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil.

Mankind eats the fruit. That disobedience shattered the special friendship with God (e.g. strolling in the garden). That disobedience ended the special place of meeting, and Eden was tossed away. Imagine knowing God here on earth as we hope we will in heaven. And then to LOSE that...

I think the loss was so violent a tearing apart that it forever affected the world we live in, to its core... nature itself is put on its ear. That’s my theory and I’m sticking to it. So now what?

God doesn’t will evil for men. But evil men and disrupted nature take their toll. While we try to recover the relationship that Jesus bought with His life, and brought with His Father’s love, we still wrestle with the dictators of the world and pandemics like COVID-19.

As usual, I am writing this Twitch for a deadline that comes nearly a week before you read it. When I think back over the last few weeks, who would have ever imagined in his wildest nightmares what we have seen and heard? As it turns out there were some who did. I think of Bill Gates for one.

I hope that one thing we can learn from all this is how important wisdom teachers are. I hope we can learn what qualifies as inspired leadership and be able to encourage it. I hope that as believers, we will draw on the resources the Lord gives us in faith. I hope we can deal with our challenges hearing the background music of a St. Augustine: “Our hearts are restless until they rest in Thee.”

And... I hope we can encourage each other with a loving awareness that transcends the evils of our time, natural as well as manmade.

Here’s to gathering at the altar soon...

In Jesus,
sign frjim

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