Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Curse God and Die!

I've heard a couple of pastors talk about Job's wife and her exclamation to her husband to "Curse God and Die!" The entire story of Job has always been fascinating to me, it makes me wonder how someone can stay true to God even in the face of adversity. I remember thinking that I was in a place of adversity once when I was in high school.

As I look back on the situation, it was probably scarier than I even thought it was at the time. I remember my mom meeting me at home before she was supposed to and she told me that the growth in my neck was abnormal, and not only was it abnormal, it was a tumor.

Now, to anyone who has lived long enough to get to know a dozen people, the word tumor has probably entered into the discussion at one point or another, and if the word tumor hasn't then the word cancer has.

To this day, nothing hurts me more than finding out that someone has cancer. It literally makes me cry when I find out about someone having cancer.

I remember her telling me that I had a tumor, she cried for hours after telling me this.

As her and I look back at the entire situation she continues to remind me that she would never have made it through that ordeal if I hadn't clung so hard to my faith. Where she was weak, God gave me the power to be strong.

But it wasn't easy. All along I knew that this was unfair. Why should a senior in high school have to have a tumor and possibly have to have cancer!? It wasn't fair.

There were so many times where I was tempted to curse God for placing this burden on me. It's so easy sometimes to try and cop-out, isn't it?

I really thought I had faced adversity. As I look back at my life I begin to realize that God continues to bless me. I've never really had to face God knowing that something I loved so much might be slipping away from me.

This week at church a guy who has been continuing to ask for prayer for his wife was the focus of our morning prayer. We annointed him for his wife and prayed over him, and we prayed hard.

You see, she's faced with the very real possibility of death. While my prayers are very much with her, I sobbed for him. I literally sobbed for him. His first wife had died of breast cancer and now he was faced with the possibility of losing his current wife.

As I prayed, I said "It's not fair."

And it isn't. It's not fair. But I watched him as we prayed for him, through my own tears I could see him crying and one thing completely struck me. He was at a place where he could have cursed God. He could've said that it wasn't fair and he didn't want to deal with God anymore because of the pain God was bringing to him.

But I watched him as he cried and clutched his Bible at the altar and I realized that he is living for something greater than himself. While he is broken hearted about his wife, he knows that God is still good.

He is a testimony to us all.

God is good. I know, it's a cliche, but God is good. Praise God for the gifts that he brings to us, even if we only get to experience them for a short while. And, when the time comes that the gift is taken from us, praise God for allowing us to have it in the first place.

Job answers his wife, "Shall we indeed accept good from God and not accept adversity?"

I agree with Job. I accept whatever God brings my way, and I pray that I'm strong enough to accept it when God takes something away from me. Please keep the Mast family in your prayers.

Monday, November 3, 2008

The Quadrennial Storm

Tomorrow is the big day. After nearly two years of campaigning, the people of the USA will elect the next President. I've been supporting Barack Obama for quite a few months now, but I've tempered my support. I was reluctant to fall into the same trap that I fell into four years ago with President Bush. I made the mistake then of assuming that only one candidate spoke for God's issues.

I was wrong.

To be honest, in 2004 I questioned whether or not someone could be a Democrat and a Christian. I was under the impression that the two terms were mutually exclusive.

Again, I was wrong.

I was assured that I was right by my peers at MVNU. We sat in our College Republican meetings sure of the fact that we were doing God's work. How could it be wrong? After all, George Bush was a man of God and stood for everything that God stood for. I thought that he had been ordained of God to remain as the President for four more years. And so, I campaigned for Bush with all my heart. I made phone calls to people in Knox County rallying them around the Conservative cause. I listened to Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck and was assured that being a Republican was what God had in mind.

I was wrong.

A man who was well known at MVNU was known throughout campus for being a Democrat, we'll call him Joe the Christian. I was positive that Joe the Christian was wrong, and I questioned, aloud, how he could call himself a Christian and be a supporter of a political party that wanted to kill unborn babies. I look back on myself in shame.

A trip to New York City in 2005 opened my eyes to Joe the Christian. I got up close and personal with a Democrat (or at least someone I had always been told was a Democrat) and it changed my life.

I learned about the struggle of the homeless man on the streets of Brooklyn. I learned about the passionate response of the Christians to those people.

I will never forget that experience. My experience with Joe the Christian completely changed my life. I remember walking down the streets of Brooklyn and Manhattan with him as he explained some of the policies that had infiltrated the city through the mayor's office. He explained to us what the Republican leadership had done in their support of homeless people. They had essentially made it illegal to be homeless. I credit this as my political awakening.

In the years that followed I ceased to consider myself a Republican. Later, I ceased to consider myself a Conservative. My problem has now become that I have become the very thing I hated so much four years ago, a supporter of a non-Republican candidate.

However, I resolved not to make the same mistakes again. I believe now that I was wrong about George Bush. I don't think he represents Jesus as closely as I thought he did. I don't regret my decision to support him, but there are some things I regret about my support. I lost sight of the fact that God calls us to be different. We are not supposed to be like the world in terms of politics.

This country is completely divided right now.

The Church in America is completely divided right now.

There has been name-calling, and outrageous accusations against Christians who support either candidate. It isn't fair, and it has to stop.

I wish that this would all be over tomorrow. I wish it were going to be that way, but I realize that it won't. 50% of the country is going to be very upset, and the other 50% are going to be very happy.

I know for a fact, that regardless of the outcome of the election, I will continue to remember that my joy comes from the Lord, and not the politics that divide us.

My prayer today is with the Church. My prayer today is for you, I pray that you are able to let the gospel transform you, and that in doing so, you'll remember that we are called to be better than this.

If this note ever passes along Joe the Christian's desk, let me give an emphatic thanks to him, for showing me that there's a better way to do politics.