We’re at the end of my serieson 10 things you can change about yourself to change your life. They startedout so simple: change your handwriting, surroundings, and name. They ended upgetting progressively harder: change your focus, script, religion, consumption,relationships, and trust. Still, none of them are beyond anyone’s reach andthey don’t depend on other people. These are things you change by yourself,about yourself, and for yourself.
Keep in mind that you canalways go back and refresh your memory at the LifeTrek Provision archive on our Website, http://www.LifeTrekCoaching.com. Iknow people do this because I occasionally receive comments from people whofind it helpful. You may want to go back and review LifeTrek Provision #146, Changeyour Trust, before reading the rest of this one. The two tips are integrallyconnected.
Although most people foundLifeTrek Provision #146 to be helpful and encouraging (as in, “boy, did I needthat!”), two people raised serious theological questions about my statement”that all of life, including the hard, impossible, and incomprehensible partsof life, has nothing but our best interest at heart.” Try telling that tosomeone suffering in abject poverty, or to someone in a concentration camp, orto someone who’s little girl has just died from cancer, or to the innocentvictims of natural disasters.
These people asked for my theodicy, my argument defending God’s goodness despite the existence of evil.It’s an age-old quest. Job, in the Old Testament, wrestled with it admirablybut ultimately came to an imponderable conclusion. “I’m speechless, in awe –words fail me,” Job concluded, “I should never have opened my mouth.” Perhapsthat’s the best way to respond: in silence. At its core, Job’s responserepresents the final LifeTrek Provision in this series: change your heart.
One thing is clear: everysituation may not be good, but no situation is beyond God’s reach. By changingour heart we can shine as human beings in even the worst of circumstances; wecan find and follow the tug of goodness that makes a way out of no way and atestimony out of a tragedy.
A danger of believing that “allof life has nothing but our best interest at heart” is the danger of becomingcoldhearted to the plight and suffering of others. They must be suffering for areason and we, who have access to the Internet, must be succeeding for areason. Life is trying to teach them a lesson. Let them find their own way out.Let them pull themselves up and out by their bootstraps.
This attitude can be bothblatant and subtle. Some people, the “God-wants-me-to-be-rich” people,unabashedly proclaim a prosperity gospel. Other people keep it to themselves,and may even deny it publicly, but they do little to suffer with or relieve thesuffering of others.
If that sounds familiar, thenperhaps this LifeTrek Provision is for you. Change your heart. Prosperity has more ofa lesson to teach than adversity. Perhaps that’s why Jesus said it’s easier fora camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to get intoheaven. If success fails to make us more compassionate, more sensitive, moreunderstanding, more gracious, and more generous then we have not come close tothe truth.
How do we defend God’s goodnessdespite the existence of evil? It’s all in the heart. If evil invokes oursilence, strengthens our resolve, deepens our caring, binds our community, andenergizes our love • if evil lead to one for all and all for one • then it tooplays a part in the mysterious unfolding of life. When you get right down toit, it’s a leap of faith. Either you believe that God’s presence impacts everysituation or you don’t. I can’t prove it, one way or another. But I believethat without this invisible hand, things would be a lot worse. I also believethat with this invisible hand, things are such that every situation, even theworst of situations, can bear the fruit of love. Change your heart. Be compassionate, even as God is compassionate. Who knows the miracles you’ll see.
May you be filled with goodness, peace, and joy.
Bob Tschannen-Moran, MCC, BCC