Sunday, March 04, 2007

Life Is Good

"For we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, for those that are the called, according to His purpose" --Rom. 8:28

Abouna, who is the newest addition to my blogroll, has an interesting post today entitled, "Why isn’t God treating me fair?"

In it, he says this:

"There are so many of us, going through life today, who cannot seem to understand why we are not getting the type of life that we keep wishing for."

Read the rest here.

I started to make a comment on it, but as usual, My comment went too long, so again, I am publishing my comment as a blog entry. Here it is:

I too, am one of those who never seem to get the breaks. I have a brother who is exactly the opposite. As I often say, he could fall through the hole in a privy and come up smelling like a rose. I, on the other hand, would climb, stinking to high heaven out of the privy, simply to slip and fall back in.

I have also often said, my life is an Edgar Rice Burroughs novel without the adventure.

He and I discussed this once. He said he never knew anyone who had so much bad luck and I said I never knew anyone with such good luck. But, I said, If he was ever faced with some catastrophe, he would fall apart. On the other hand, catastrophe's happen to me every day. They are like water off a ducks back to me.

God knows what each of us can handle. He will never give us more adversity than we can take.

On my new job, I had to man a booth at a local Home and garden show, for the purpose of procuring sales leads. My day in the booth was on a Sunday.

Friday at the show was a good day. the weather was beautiful. So was Saturday. My co-workers got lots of leads those two days. Sunday came with snow, ice and freezing rain. The home show was almost empty of potential customers that day. I got one lead.

My boss was complaining about the weather causing such a bad turnout. I jokingly informed him that the bad weather was my fault, because God doesn't want me to succeed.

He took it as a joke and laughed but the truth be known, I wasn't joking.

I believe and have believed for some time that since God knows me, and knows that I would not be a good steward of any thing He might bless me with, He has decided in His wisdom, that I should remain as I am, until I finally learn to be responsible with what He gives me.

Sometimes lessons take a lifetime to learn.

I am comfortable with that, knowing that I have treasures laid up for me in Heaven. Given that this life time is only a twinkling of an eye in comparison to an eternity with God, This life is only a minor inconvenience.

Of course, it could be argued that I do these things to myself, and there would be ample evidence to suggest this theory is true.

In just the last couple of years, I have made the same mistakes in not exercising good judgement in stewardship, to wit:

I had a great job as a Lawn service Technician. I was making the most money I made in my life. The boss liked me, and I was doing a very good job. My customers were pleased with my performance. I had very few complaints with my work, either from customers or management, and those I had were taken care of promptly. I was flying high and feeling secure with my future.

Then, I bought a new car. Brand new, right off the lot, with 5 miles on the odometer.

In short, I got cocky and began to feel as if I had control of my life.

That was a mistake.

Within a week I had wrecked the company van. That wasn't enough to knock me down a notch or two. So, the very next day on the job, I did it again.

(This is the actual picture of the actual first accident. That's me, talking to the police officer there on the right)

Two weeks after I had made a 5 year commitment to pay enormous monthly payments on a new car, I was laid off, with a promise that in a couple of months, I could possibly come back to work again. That didn't happen, needless to say. Now, before I even made my first car payment, I had no money to pay it with.

Now, this is the way God works with me:

Two months later, I finally got a job that paid me enough to pay the car payments, although I had to work a couple of weeks before I got my first paycheck. Mere hours before the finance company repossessed my car (which I had to use on my new job), I caught my car payment up.

God had both blessed me and taught me a valuable lesson.

God may not always be on time, but He's never late.

The new job was better than the old one. I made more money than the former, and the hours were better. The work was thousands of times easier. I had a two hour lunch period, and was completely on my own, with no boss hovering over me. On top of all that, my expenses were deductible and I ended up not having to pay a cent in taxes, and got a huge tax refund!

I caught up on all my other bills, and was even able to start saving money.

Then, I began feeling cocky again, and against my better judgement, went out one weekend night and blew about $300.00 on a night of pure base debauchery. I won't go into details.

And, within a week after this one night of self gratification and self worship (for this is indeed what it was), I suddenly and without warning, lost my job. I went from wealthy to nearly penniless in mere days.

These examples are indicative of my whole life.

I have yet to learn, apparently.

But it's OK, really. I have learned one thing, although it may not be the only thing I need to learn, and that is, I am terribly irresponsible with God's gifts. Will I ever learn to be a good steward? Yes, I think so. I believe it is God's purpose for me to learn this lesson. And I believe God always fulfills His purpose.

If nothing else, as long as I fail to learn God's lessons, I am assured of a long life. He won't let me die without fulfilling God's purpose for my life.

Or maybe He will. Maybe that will be the final lesson. I don't know.

I am content with the knowledge that God will keep me safe, though bruised and battered, until I have fulfilled His purpose for my life.

Life is good.


Abouna said...

Mark, thank you for mentioning my blog posting on your blog.

Someone once said: "Pride cometh before a fall". How true they are, and cockiness is right up there with pride. But there can be many reasons for why our lives may not always go as we planned; "The best laid plans of mice and men oft go astray".

One reason may be poor planning on our part. Another maybe that we aim way to high, setting a goal for ourselves that we may not be either academically or physically suited (in other words we fail to comprehend our limitations).

Third; sometimes we may think less of ourselves then what we are really capable of making us low achievers, settling for second best instead of putting in that extra effort.

Fourth; we may enter a field that for one reason or another, God does not want us in, as He has different plans for us. As an example, let us say a person becomes a doctor and they want to go into private practice and they set their sights on becoming a well known surgeon making big bucks, but even though he/she may be an excellent surgeon, they are miserably unhappy, because they realize that they are being called to a different area.Perhaps God's plan for them was that they should use their talents as doctors to become medical missionaries.

No matter what the reason is why many people end up unhappy in life and to some extent, failures, all comes down to one thing, trying to follow our own whims and wishes instead of listening to God and finding out what He has planned for us. We fail to "LET GO AND LET GOD". Sad to say, some people don't learn this until late in life and some never learn it.

As I stated in my blog, my life certainly did not turn out the way I had planned, but I feel that I have been blessed in so many ways.

ELAshley said...

"as long as I fail to learn God's lessons, I am assured of a long life. He won't let me die without fulfilling God's purpose for my life"

Dude! This is SO not true... God will pull you out of your skin lickety-split if you get to the point where you've completely disqualified yourself for the purpose He set for you. Sometimes believers are taken out because they ruined their testimony. Other's He leaves in place DESPITE the fact that they've ruined their testimony. And some people so please god He brings them home. Don't assume anything with God.

Tonto said...

Mark...I think you were talking about me in this last post but you kept substituting your own name for mine.

Thankfully, I have the wisdom of Lone Ranger and other good friends who have helped me in the last year...but otherwise we live parallel lives. Technically I went to school became lawyer and bad things in terms of career were not suppose to happen to me but... OH WAIT I FOUND A WAY to them where I am no one else I know would have issues.

I said all this to say this...a good friend reminded this past year when the bottom fell out...we will continue to learn the same lesson until we learn it.

I think God has been doing that with me since I was 15...because honestly I am obviously still not getting it.

Thanks for your post. If you ever learn your "lesson" tell me how you did it...I might need the advice.

Mark said...

Abouna, you are welcome. I agree with you completely. I too, feel blessed in many ways.

EL, you didn't reference what I said next. In addtion to this statement, "He won't let me die without fulfilling God's purpose for my life.", I followed that up with, "Or maybe He will. Maybe that will be the final lesson. I don't know."

Tonto, welcome to my blog! I believe this is the first time you have visited. Yes, I think somwetimes all of us think we are the only ones these kinds of things happen to, but I guess all of us have gone through our share of problems.

Tonto said...

Actually I read your blog All the time...out all of the blogs you have the best discussions anywhere. I get so taken with reading them I never even get around to leaving a comment.

Love it!!!

D.Daddio Al-Ozarka said...

I am constantly amazed at God's grace towards me and my family. It's humbling in itself.

Some of us are not suited to wealth.

God is well aware of that. of course.

Maybe God keeps you humble for his future purpose, Mark. Maybe you are fulfilling his purpose and are not even aware of it.

There ARE several bloggers who treasure your bits of wisdom, you know.

Your obvious concern for what God is doing in your life is proof that God h'aint finished with you just yet, pal!

Some people LIVE to ride roller-coasters, Dude! Enjoy your ride.

Gayle said...

Mark, your honesty and self-evaluation is very rare in today's world. You think you can't do many things right, but this is something you are doing better than many people. I believe God has blessed you with two very rare gifts; humility and honesty. You obviously are a decent person (in spite of your night of debauchery) and it counts in your favor.

We all make mistakes because all of us are human. The thing is to learn from those mistakes and try not to make them again. So you're still learning. Well, I'm a few years older than you are and I'm still learning too. None of us are perfect nor will we ever be. Jesus sort of broke the mold on that! :)

Marshall Art said...

From the spiritual to the practical:

I found that to solve my penchant for blowing dough after the catch up is done, I continued to live frugally until amassing several thousand dollars. I won't say I did it all myself, cuz I didn't. But the point is, not having had a raise in three or four years, while my wife's employment situation changed to the point of halving her income, we are now totally pleased that we have that savings. Of course, before it's all gone just living life, I've gotta come up with something else. Or to make a long story short, in regards to your story, "there's a lot of that going around".

Trader Rick said...

Mark, at one of the lowest points in my life, God sent me a tattored little cardboard 5x7 plaque with a picture of a kitten hanging from a rope with the caption :

"Lord , Help me hang in there."

I still have it. We're all just hangin' in there. Bless you. --Rick

Lone Ranger said...

My life has been fairly uneventful because I have never grown up. I'm still the kid who followed the rules his mom set down for him. Most people get into trouble because, as they approach adulthood, the somehow think they can abandon everything their parents and other adults tried to instill in them. That's not to say that I haven't suffered heartache. But everyone does. There are certain things that are unavoidable, like the death of loved ones, illnesses, etc. But life in general is pretty simple. Praise God, work hard, FOLLOW THE RULES, and you'll generally come out the other side in pretty good shape.

Mark said...

Tonto, thank you for those words. I consider that high praise coming from you.

Everyone else: Don't get the wrong idea. I'm not complaining.

As I said, life is good.

Mark said...

LR, my life has been eventful because I have never grown up. I still make the mistakes I made as a kid.

Maybe for both of us immaturity is it's own reward.

Mark said...

By the way, meaningless points to anyone who understands my obscure reference to Edgar Rice Burroughs.

mudkitty said...

This is a variation on "why do bad things happen to good people, and good things happen to bad people."

Actually, mostly people are a combination of good and bad, as is life itself.

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

I have also often said, my life is an Edgar Rice Burroughs novel without the adventure.

I love reading Edgar Rice Burroughs! Read the entire Tarzan series, growing up.

Speaking as a non-religious man, all I know is this:

"Once you realize that life is hard, it gets easier"


"When life hands you lemons, make a strawberry daquiri."

Mark said...

So, Smithy, Do you understand the reference to Edgar Rice Burroughs?

(I read the Warlord/Princess of Mars series)

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Just got this in an email forward and thought it would fit here:

Dearest friends,
> I am writing to you to ask for your help in shedding light on a perplexing
> situation I find myself contemplating. I have selected you as a group to aid
> me because you have known me for at least 20 years and I value your opinion.
> Your religious experiences are varied and that is important to the problem I
> am faced with.
> Over the years, we have all observed the seemingly random factors that
> affect all of our lives, sometimes without apparent rhyme or reason. We
> have seen some marriages dissolve over nothing and others grow stronger
> under adverse conditions. We have seen fate play a role in who survives
> critical illnesses and who succumbs to them. We have all seen good people
> suffer great misfortunes while some people of low character thrive. In our
> lifetime, we have seen Churches and Religious institutions all around the
> world become revised, televised, energized and even scandalized. We are all
> well aware that a higher power has control of nearly all things.
> Personally, I have stood in the doorway of a 7/11 in Atlanta, amid a
> shootout between the police and a gunman and walked away unscathed. On a
> golf course, I saw a lightning bolt strike a man dead while those of us
> nearby where untouched. We all watched as Hurricane Katrina ravaged some
> areas of the coast and left other nearby homes standing intact. The enormity
> of these random and seemingly unfair applications of good or bad fortune is
> at the core of my dilemma.
> I have studied sacred writings of all major religions searching for an
> answer, and now I pose the question to you.
> I cannot fathom that the highest power in this universe could take Anna
> Nicole from us and leave Hillary behind....

Mark, I don't see my comment. So people have no idea what you are on about in referencing me. Did you forget to publish my comment?

The WordSmith from Nantucket said...

Also, I have to open up IE to post comments. In Firefox, word verification letters aren't coming up. Grrrr...

Life is so, so hard!

Mark said...

Sorry about that, Smithy, since I re-enabled comment moderation (Thannks to that little troll, Kevron) sometimes I forget to approve comments. I fixed it.

The answer to your e-mail question is this: The rain falls on both the just and the unjust. But all will have to stand before their Creator and give an account of themselves. No one gets a free pass. Not even Hillary.

ELAshley said...

I've read almost everything Burrough wrote... Great escapism! I love the John Carter series... In fact, I've heard that "A Princess of Mars" film is in the works, to be filmed entirely on green screen, like "Sin City" and "300"

Mary said...

Mark, I've commented before on how much I admire your ability to be open and share your experiences.

Thanks for another great post.

(I'm having a problem just writing this comment. I decided to delete a few paragraphs. I'm more comfortable speaking in general terms.)

Bad things happen. Some of us struggle with an abundance of challenges and tragedies. It's unfair, because life isn't fair. I don't expect it to be anymore.

Doing everything right doesn't guarantee anything. Dwelling on the "Why me?" is pointless.

So I don't, at least I try my best. I'm just thankful for all that I do have.

mudkitty said...

The rain falls on the just and unjust, the sunshines on the just and the unjust. So what's the point?

Timothy said...

Hi Mark,
yes, life is good and so is God. Life is not always good, but God always is... You are far better off than your brother... You are right where God wants you... trusting in Him. No better place to be...

But I think that is the point of your post. You have learned a great deal, more than most people ever learn about God and life.
Blessings... of the spiritual kind...

Mark said...

There is one detail I left out of my story. When I wrote, "And, within a week after this one night of self gratification and self worship (for this is indeed what it was), I suddenly and without warning, lost my job. I went from wealthy to nearly penniless in mere days," I needed to add, I suddenly and without warning, AND WITH NO EXPLANATION, lost my job.

That's the part that really hurt. Not knowing why.

mudkitty said...

My grandpappy used to tell me, trust in God, but tie up your horse.

Mike's America said...

Considering the trials that beset Job, you should count yourself as lucky.

Mark said...

I do, Mike. I am fortunate that, although I don't have many good things happen to me, as my brother does, at least nothing really serious happens. And I am still very healthy. 55 years old and still in near perfect health!

blamin said...


How excellant that you're able to recognize your own failings and keep a positive attitude!

In this day and age where everything that goes wrong is "somebody else's fault" it's mighty dang refreshing.

It reminds me of something my dad used to tell me. "It's usually your fault when it seems things don't work out the way you'd like, it's usually your fault when they do". Of course my father was a spiritual man, so all his trueisms were spoken with the understanding that we strive to please God.

Goat said...

Keep the faith and work hard, learn from the hard knocks and grow as He teaches us. Without adversity would we know the joy of the first spring flowers? Without falling down and scraping our knees did we learn to walk or ride a bicycle or skateboard. The Lord gave us the abilty and grow from our mistakes. We have a choice, we can wallow in self despair or learn and grow to become what He desires of us. Walking with Christ is not an easy road as we are all asked to help carry that Cross, the path is narrow and fraught with peril though we know the destination is worth the exceedingly difficult labor we choose freely.

mariestwocents said...

Lovely post Mark,

You at least had the wisdom to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and move on until things got better.

I dont think anyone can learn enough life lessons.

mudkitty said...

So a bad thing is a good thing? Is that what you guys are saying?

blamin said...

Yes, if you take or learn something constructive from the experience.

Anonymous said...

Recently, my father-in-law was having a conversation with his mother. She asked him if he thought that things would have been better if she had tried harder to make the marriage between herself and his father work. They split up when he was twelve. He told her, "if you and Dad had stayed together, we would have grown up in Baltimore, instead of moving back to West Virginia. I would never have met Sandy (his wife) and I wouldn't have my sons, my daughters-in-law, and my grandbabies." You have to go through the valley to get to your destination.

But enjoy the valley, because God is with you there too.

mudkitty said...

Blame - isn't that rather up to the individual? And haven't you read Candide?

If, if, if...seems to be the operating word around here.

Macroglossius lunarius said...

Of course they haven't read Candide, Kitty!

I take it they haven't read "Whither the African-Americans," by Tim Robbins either!! John Bolton is a tool of NAFTA!! The Thieving Monkey's war against REPARATIONS must end now!!!!

Pamela Reece said...

Mark, It has been a while since I posted, but I want you to know that I read your blog as often as I can.

I am in no position to judge, give advice or anything else. I am only here to say that, in my eyes, you are more than you believe. Yourelf and Sparky (you know who I mean) were my first buds and always will be. You are one of the most open, caring, truthful and down to earth folks I have ever known.

With that being said, I, too am struggling. I, like you, rely upon God more than I care to admit simply because there really isn't anybody else.

I firmly believe that often times we are led down a path of many doors or forks in the road of our lives. Just as Dorthy learned in the Wizard of Oz, "You had the answer all along, you just needed to learn it on your own."

If I could cast goodness upon you, Mark, I would do it. However, I know, you will always be given and you will find, the best road to travel.



mudkitty said...

On Newtie - your future candidate...

Mark said...

Mudkitty, you've obviously mistaken me for someone who supports Newt Gingrich for President. I don't. I support Duncan Hunter.

mudkitty said...

Not you, Mark, but there was someone here who doubted what I wrote about Newtie.

And I don't exactly applaud your support of Hunter, but I do think you at least show a decent amount of consistency by supporting Hunter. However, I guarantee that he won't get the nod. He's waaaaay too extreme.

Mark said...

I wouldn't call him extreme. I'd call him Mainstream as far as Conservative values is concerned.

Marshall Art said...

The same can be said for Newt. And the topic had been whether I could cast a vote for Newt considering his personal life. The best answer was that Jesus Christ isn't running for office, so finding the perfect candidate who is without some stain of some sort on his personal life is not the goal. Casting aspersions upon anyone who would vote for a less than perfect human being is pointless and a rather masturbatory exercise for the caster. I'm aware of Newt's interview with Dobson and as you can see if you've paid attention, Mudster, he didn't make excuses for his behavior, nor did he speak of them as moments of pride for himself. He asked no quarter, he made no cheap rationalizations. Yes. I'd vote for him if he was the nominee. Twice if I could. He's a smart dude and without a doubt more so than anyone one the left at this time. In fact, I'd vote for a guy who preached family values while failing to perfectly live up to them, over a guy who redefines family values in order to legitimize his short comings and I'd do so all day long. No hypocrisy here whatsoever. Nice try though.

mudkitty said...

Look, I never said Newtie wasn't smart. I happen to think he's very smart (wrong, but smart.) Stop making assumptions, and putting words in my mouth, Marshall. I just said, plain and simple, Newt shouldn't be acceptable to the religious right if the religious right is to maintain any
credibility for voting their values.


When you're so far on the right, you can't even recognize the center.

Hunter is neither mainstream, nor conservative. Hunter makes liberals like me look conservative. But I applaud you, at least, for one thing, Mark, being consistent and intending to vote your values.

That's merely one of the things that makes The United States a great country; In the privacy of the voting booth you can vote you conscience, and always you can do you best to insure that your vote be counted. I may be an atheist, but if I were to have a religion, it would be this.

mudkitty said...

Now mind you, Newtie wasn't just having an affair, he was investigating and prosecuting Clinton for the very same thing.

Gayle said...

I believe that Gingrich was prosecuting Clinton for perjury, Mudkitty, not for infidelity. After all, infidelity is not a crime. It's morally reprehensible, but it's not criminal.

We aren't going to find Jesus Christ running for office. There aren't any perfect people out there. Like you Mark, I prefer Duncan Hunter, but if it's Rudy against Hillary or Obama, then Rudy will get my vote. I'd vote for Daffy Duck before I would throw away my vote. I don't want a repeat of what happened during the last election.

Mark said...

OK, Mudkitty, Usually you make statements that are difficult to challenge, but, "Hunter is neither mainstream, nor conservative. Hunter makes liberals like me look conservative"???

You're going to have to prove that statement, because on the surface, it looks like you are nuts.

mudkitty said...

Gayle, then that excuses all means then, vote your values - vote Gingrich.

And Mark, calling me a nut is not a valid argument.

Is it cool for Christians to go around calling other people with whom they may disagree, nuts? Believe me, I've been called worse, but it's just not a way to counter a point. If this was a formal debate, you would lose a point for that.

Mark said...

Mudkitty, perhaps ypou need a refresher course in reading comprehension. I said, on the surface, it looks like you are nuts. I did not say you ARE nuts. I said you look lie you are nuts according to your statement that Duncan Hunter is so Liberal he makes you look like a Conservative.

You haven't addressed that. Could it be you are wrong? Maybe you are thinking of a different Duncan Hunter?

mom2 said...

It is pretty disgusting that liberals because they have no values, get to use any lapse in values by a conservative to totally devalue them. It is like - if you have no values you cannot be criticized, but if you profess any values at all you must be 100% or YOU are the hypocrite. Mudkitty displays this on this topic.

mudkitty said...

Liberals have values, they're just not your values, nor are we craven because we disagree with you politically.

Mark, now you're parsing: what next, are you going to define the meaning of "is."

Mark said...

No, Mudkitty. I just asked you to explain what you think makes Duncan Hunter a Liberal.

You still haven't answered me.

Mark said...

Gayle, I have often said the worst republican is still better than the best Democrat.

Marshall Art said...

"Is it cool for Christians to go around calling other people with whom they may disagree, nuts?"

Perhaps not, though it may depend on the the provocation or the provocateur. Of course you weren't called that directly, but the point isn't lost. Yet, the more outrageous the statement, the more appropriate to call the stater nuts. The more outrageous the statement the "less ad hominem" the appellation. Just plain name calling for the sake of calling another some vile name is definitely out. It's not, as you said, an argument. But then, equally lame, is demanding that a person have the perfection of Christ just because the person claims to be Christian. It, too, is a ploy to sidestep a solid response. And that's just nuts.

mudkitty said...

Mark, out of all your numerous questions, some even regarding my sanity, which one would you like to pose?

mudkitty said...

What question? Mark? Ask a question. Try not to load the question with your opinion. Telling someone your opinion is not asking a question.

mudkitty said...

So, what exactly IS the question? Or the questions I'm supposedly not answering?

Let your conscience be your guide.

Mark said...

Mudkitty. If you seriously don't know what question I asked you, perhaps you should scroll up. I asked you three times. But in case you either can't or won't scroll up, I will pose the question again:

What makes you think Duncan Hunter is Liberal?

mudkitty said...

I do not think Duncan Hunter is a liberal. So the premise of the question is false. I think he's a rightwing, radical.

Mark said...

Mudkitty, you said in a previous comment: "Hunter is neither mainstream, nor conservative. Hunter makes liberals like me look conservative."

Then you said: "I do not think Duncan Hunter is a liberal." Which is correct?

mudkitty said...

Hunter is an extreme rightwinger.