Watching your daughter spend a week lethargic and in pain, with no resolve in sight, brings dark thoughts to your mind. You think things you’d rather not think, and feel fears you’d deny in the light. And finally you admit, in anger, the vulnerability of life.
How much of our lives are lived either in the denial of our defenseless exposure, or in a strident attempt to diminish it? What safe-guards have been set in place to keep at bay the things that go bump in the night?
Consumer reports lead us to the best and safest brands, but someone forgot to report the lead coating the baby’s toy. Your “good hands” rating for safety on the road is no shield from the oncoming swerve of drunken hands. My good friend Carl, jogging for his health, died when a dead limb dealt a crushing blow upon his neck.
Larger barns are built to store the grain of a plentiful harvest. And the farmer’s wife says, “Soul, take your ease.” But will there be bread when the market downturns? A good resume and plenty of drive do not put food on the plate, when manufacturing crosses the seas. Successful salesman Ted showed me the court’s settlement check. Eighteen hundred dollars was what he got for his two hundred and sixty-two thousand, compounded by years of trust in the fraudulent fidelity.
All is vanity, says the preacher. God has turned a blind eye to fairness in life, and a deaf ear to cries for equity. The wealthy become wealthier on the backs of the poor, and those in the middle, believing they may one day break out of the cage, confound all calls for reform. There is no surety for the righteous, no reassurance for the steadfast, and no way to know whether the path leads up, or down, or ends, around the bend.
What is it we lack, better odds? Is it only a matter of time before the safety measures are safe? What is it we need? Better intelligence, or a boundary fence? High-tech armaments, or low-tech recycling? Maybe some business IOU’s, with a network of friends? Is it a compass, a purpose, or a meta-narrative that lures us in?
“The flu shot we advised you to take is un-effective against the new strain of influenza.” And in the fragile wait, who is surprised? “There’s no cause for the suspicious lump and yet it must be removed.” And amid the numbing pain, we still proclaim, “Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.” Only vulnerable before God will we fully admit, we really need a Savior.