As I sit here in my sweatpants, a cold Canadian wind pushes snow into drifts alongside my house. The phone is silent, for now, but all week long is has buzzed or beeped incessantly, bringing ponderous tidings too heavy for one man’s shoulders, wearing my psyche into tatters. The hope of gainful employment has risen and fallen again, battering my self worth and sense of purpose.
This morning I read in the Bible about how God isn’t blind, deaf or indifferent to our suffering.
But I wanted proof.
So I went downstairs, and what did I see? I saw a carton of instant oatmeal packets sitting on the kitchen island. I thought to myself,”When you’ve got nothing left, when everything has gone dim and grey, you’ve still got Jesus and Quaker Peaches and Cream. When you’ve exhausted all your resources, but even still you feel abandoned, misunderstood and rolled over, you’ve still got the Prince of Peace and little paper packets of warm breakfast happiness.”
And I was wrong.
It turns out Mr.Quaker is a fraud. Those precious little bits of peaches that take you back to a time of innocence and joy? They are actually apples. I know – I didn’t want to believe it at first either. I thought Quaker Peaches and Cream Oatmeal was as sacred as Saturday morning cartoons and Sunday morning flannel graphs, but I was wrong.
Apples. Once a part of God’s beautiful creation, now used for the devil’s work.
So now I’m left with Jesus, hoping that he is more than a common fruit with peachy religious colouring. The good news is I’ve been through this before, and I know that the historical Jesus is the real deal – no artificial flavours or preservatives – so my hope is based both on what I’ve read AND what I’ve seen.
To walk in the way of Jesus has very little to do with success as the world measures such things. A part of me prefers personal fulfillment, not Christianity’s sacrificial-lose-your-life-to-find-it mumbo jumbo. But when it comes down to it, someday I want to be on the inside of a tomb looking outwards, and that kind of potential only comes through crucifixion.
As we journey through life, we find that there are a million different ways to die, and Jesus will lead us both to and through them, if we’ll take his hand. And my God, it hurts.
But not as much as apples in your oatmeal.
“Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him.”
Psalm 38:4 New International Version