Yesterday, Preston had an appointment at the dentist. I didn’t get to go, but apparently, he was a very good boy. He let them clean his teeth even! And of course, he had to make sure that they gave both him and Russell a toy and a new toothbrush. Always looking out for his brother!
Wow, when things start happening, they can sure move fast! On November 17th I received a PM on Facebook from Dale Cole about a possible job opportunity (thanks for thinking of me Dale!). I didn’t actually log into Facebook until the 18th, but when I did I replied that I was certainly interested. Two days later, after church, I was headed down to Wichita Falls to meet with my future boss from Gunn Oil Company…
So now, December 8th, we’ve already signed a lease on a rent house. I’ve scheduled electricity and gas service. I’ve only got two weeks and one day left to work for the City of Lawton, and then I’ll be starting as GIS Coordinator at Gunn Oil Company on December 27th. The movers are supposed to come by Monday to see what all they’ll be moving, and hopefully the actual move will take place around the 16th/17th. I guess I’ll be camping out in our current house the final week I’m working for COL.
It’s amazing how you tell God “not my will, but yours be done,” and yet you are disappointed when things don’t work out the way you want them to. God generally has a better plan for you!
So, a guy in a dream asked me this: Is God’s love greater than all the evil in the world?
Even in my dream-state I knew the answer. Of course it is! God became man, taking on our flesh and all the pain and suffering that comes with it. He then willingly died on the cross so that we can be with him forever. In doing so, Christ defeated sin and death for us! If that isn’t a love that’s more powerful than all evil, then I don’t know what is!
So, dream -guy. I guess you accomplished your goal. You ask me a simple question, and I think about God’s love all morning!
Last night, after I woke up at 3:30am and couldn’t go back to sleep, I began thinking about how often I’ve heard people ask why God allows people to suffer. It’s been asked for centuries, and assuming Christ tarries, it will be asked for centuries to come. Honestly, I don’t understand how people who claim to read the Bible can not know the biblical answer to that. An entire old testament book was written with that subject in mind.
Job pleased God. When Satan approached the Lord, God told him that “[t]here is no one like [Job] on earth: a sound and honest man who fears God and shuns evil” (Job 1:8). Yet God allowed nearly everything that belonged to Job to be taken away or destroyed. Of course, Job wondered what he had done to displease God. His friends suggested that Job had done something to deserve the punishment of the Lord. “Those who plough iniquity and sow disaster, reap just that” (Job 4:8). But that was not the case at all. In Job’s anguish and distress, the Lord God spoke to Job. It was probably not the “answer” Job had been looking for, but it silenced him. The Lord proceeded to ask Job where he was during the creation of the earth. Who created the earth, and ordered it so that it continued to Job’s day? The Lord put Job in his place, in other words. Job’s reply: “My words have been frivolous: what can I reply? I had better lay my hand over my mouth” (Job 40:34). God wasn’t quite through questioning Job. By the time it was all over with, Job was saying that “[I] retract what I have said, and repent in dust and ashes” (Job 42:6). Basically, it came down to (as I paraphrase), “Who are you to even ask why you are suffering? Praise God in all things.”
The Catholic Church adds a new dimension to the suffering that we may endure. As it states in the Catechism of the Catholic Church, “Even though enlightened by [Christ], faith is often lived in darkness and can be put to the test” (CCC 164). It goes on to say that the Virgin Mary “walked into the night of faith in sharing the darkness of her son’s suffering and death” (CCC 165). As a matter of fact, suffering can “[acquire] a new meaning; it [can become] a participation in the saving work of Jesus” (CCC 1521). Like Mary, we are able through a gift of the Holy Spirit, to unite our suffering with Christ’s. We are able to grow closer to Christ because of his and our suffering.
So our suffering does not have to be in vain. Even in the midst of our pain, we can have hope within us that God can and is still using us in this life. We can continue to offer God our prayers and thanksgiving for ourselves as well as for others. But most of all, we can at least begin to understand the depth of God’s love for us which he proved by his own suffering on the cross for us!
Now that we’re in the new building at work, it takes me nearly 10 minutes to get from my office to the break room and includes 36 stair steps each way. Who says I need exercise?
Last week was exhausting. At work, my Division moved from one building to another. A did tons of work during the move and afterwards setting up. Then I ended up getting sick on Saturday. Hopefully this weekend will be better!
Hi! I am Russel Taylor. I am married to Donna and we have four growing boys: Preston, Russell, Todd, and Elliott. We live in Holliday, Texas and are Christians who worship our Lord at Saint Benedict Antiochian Orthodox Church in Wichita Falls, Texas.
I am the GIS Specialist for Gunn Oil Company. Donna works full-time as a stay-at-home mom.