Tuesday, November 27, 2007

A public thank you to Paul, Wayne, Brad, and Papa

I want to thank these guys, and Papa for 'The Shack', I have read it 3 times to date and it continues to impact me deeply.
Paul, Wayne and Brad have all been voices of Hope in a sea of voices that seem to want to kill the smouldering ember of faith that I have. Just today, I was at lunch thinking about the story of 'Baby Grace'; my emotional blender couldn't quite decide on the anger setting, or the tears setting. She was found not 20 minutes from my home, and lived 45 minutes away when she was alive. I have a 2 year old myself (youngest of 4) so it was particularly difficult for me to understand how someone could do this. I thought "God, If you would have told me, I would have gone a picked her up before all this happened. I would have taken care of her, or Travis and Sundy could have taken care of her." (Travis and Sundy are friends who have tried for years to have a child and are now close to an adoption in January) And the amazing thing is that Papa answered back, which doesn't happen often for me (or should I say I don't hear it that often). He said, "Do you think I will be a good Father to her? Because I saw her, and now she is home with me." I totally lost it; not a pretty thing when you are eating Chick-Fil-A in the middle of a mall food court -- not a pretty sight when you are trying to type it in an email in the middle of a cube farm at work and it makes you all blubbery again either. I don't think I would have heard God say that to me if these guys hadn't given me a touch point that has enabled me to know God as a Papa who is especially fond of his children.

Thank you, and may the outbound ripples continue.


Tina said...

Whoa, Rick. That is deep stuff! The Baby Grace story had me pretty upset too and reminded me why I've been trying not to watch the news. What you wrote here is so true, though. She's with the best Parent imaginable. And that rings true in my heart more now than it would have before The Shack.

Rick Gibson said...

I know what you mean when you say that you try not to watch the news. The strange thing about me is that most news doesn't phase me. But when news of a child's murder comes along, it tears me up inside and brings me face to face with a deep question that I don't think is totally resolved in my life. The same question as Mack's -- "Is God really good?"

Lately that question had been pounding me relentlessly. I'll spare you the ugly details since some of them could needlessly paint an ugly picture of God in some readers mind. Generically they are questions about Hell, certain scriptures, and how I personally view God through the lens of some of the abuses I suffered as a child. Oh, I know all the theological answers but they don't seem to reach down deep into my heart. So that is why I'm so thankful that Papa showed up yesterday and gave me an answer for my heart. It went a long way in answering that question for me.

Kent said...

Rick, I removed not only the news but all tv and movie viewing that was fear producing (think future tripping) kinda stuff. It has made walking out of all the confusion and craziness caused by fear that is antithetical to trust so much easier for me.

Rick Gibson said...

Kent, there is wisdom in that; not opening yourself up to all the voices that could produce doubt. That is part of the reason why, I decided not to share some of the ugly details of my recent struggle with this question on a public forum. I didn't want to give someone else an image of God that they currently don't have.

Yet I have this tension, this other side of me that longs to be able to see the ugly truth of this world, and still be able to see God's love breaking through. For me, to avoid anything that shows me my doubts would be to wrap myself in a cocoon of isolation -- no scripture, no interaction with brothers and sisters, no work. I didn't go looking for the 'Baby Grace' story, it happened right here in my community and has rattled even the most hardened detectives -- I have a friend who works for HPD. He is one of two people I know locally who really get my journey, and ironically he is also the one who sees the ugly side of humanity on a regular basis.

Kent said...

Rick, I wasn't suggesting retreating into a cocoon. Like you said, this story happened in your community. You couldn't really avoid hearing about it. What I was talking about is the practice of sucking up so much of the stuff that perpetuates fear's hold on us by watching things that just create "out of control" worry about tomorrow. Enough of that stuff happens as we walk through each and every day without actually making the choice to take on more of it.

Also as for sharing your story, some descretion might be important but it is your story. Being able to talk about that stuff can be very valuable for us. Life is life and being honest about it seems to be the best way through. Dealing with the reality of the mess and the world around us and how it works and fosters an environment where that mess thrives and grows seems to be a good starting point.

Todd said...

Hi Rick,

loved the post...so thankful for Father's speaking to your heart.....in the midst of such a horrific event.


fellow rambler
wayne jacobsen reader
pilgrim on the journey

Kirk said...

I decided to go ahead and write this down after all based on a turn of events this morning. We are dealing with a deteriorating situation with my aging parents. My family, close, extended and otherwise seemed determined to should us into doing something that will take care of everything to the point of solving all of tomorrow's imagined possible troubles. And trying to have conversations that allow God to take care of my parents today while allowing them to retain dignity in how we assist them in in their last days is often viewed as a lack of caring. I know it is otherwise. I know He loves them and cares for them immensely.

I think what I have always had trouble getting about God is how he doesn't live in what we might next week. He lives in right now and wants us to live there with him. In my conversations at work on this story, the number one response regarding God is why would He let something like this happen and number two was why would He let a helpless little child be born into a situation that turned out so horribly. And wrapping one's head around the freedom that He gives us to act is a tough one when the result of someone's freedom ends in such tragedy. It is still real hard for me to live in today.


Rick Gibson said...

Thanks for dropping by fellow rambler and journyer!

Boy living in freedom, and in the moment with Father are hard things for me as well. I find myself sometimes grasping for the illusion of control in my own life, because the trust factor with God is still very much a factor for me. Right now with God I'm kida like those ducks you try to feed from your hand. They come close, but still just out of reach and turn one eye to you and give you a good looking over -- almost like they are thinking, "I'm not so sure about you, I've seen your kind roasting my kind on a spit."