Of God and Countries

Let me ask you a question: “What do God and Belize have in common?”  Before I answer that question for you, I feel I should give it a little context.

I just got married December 18th, 2010 [holds for applause]…thank you, thank you.  As most newlyweds do, we went on a Honeymoon.  Part of this Honeymoon included a cruise ship and a stopover in Belize, where we did cave innertubing.  Yes, it is as awesome as it sounds.  The entirety of our visit to Belize was comprised of getting off the ship, taking an hour-and-a-half bus ride to the cave tubing spot, and a bus ride back to the ship.  Needless to say, we didn’t actually have much time in Belize.  This is why when I heard “Belize is a horrible country; I’m never coming back” from the four very catty elderly women in the seat in front of me, I was taken aback.  I thought to myself, “How ridiculous to write off an entire country as ‘horrible’ based on one short excursion into the countryside that didn’t go as planned.”

At first I thought these woman were ridiculous and annoying.  Eventually I just landed on annoying; sorry, I’m not perfect….  I realized as ridiculous as they sounded, what they were doing is something that people do all the time in the realm of faith.  We write off God due to a small circumstance in our life that doesn’t go our way.  Maybe we don’t get the promotion we wanted, or a relationship that we really desired falls away, or perhaps a family member dies suddenly.  Whatever the reason, the result is often the same: we write God off, or at the very least trust Him less.

It’s these situations that make me think we still have a lot to learn from the likes of Joseph or Paul.  These men were beaten, left for dead, sold into slavery, shipwrecked, accused of rape, imprisoned multiple times, and despite it all professed, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done–the saving of many lives.”  What an amazing statement of trust after such an ordeal!  I believe I can say that in the beginning of their lives neither of them planned to have these things happen to them.  Yet notice their reactions: they did not shake their fists at God or say, “God, how could you!”  They trusted.  This is what we need to learn.  Perhaps God in His infinite wisdom is worthy of trust despite how the situation looks up close.

Since I am a visual person, I tend to think of our lives as a blank canvas.  Each situation and emotion we feel adds a new color to this canvas.  When we do look up close, some colors may seem dark and dismal while others brilliant and breathtaking.  In the end each of these colors is a part of a whole.  That whole is the grand masterpiece God, the painter, is bringing together for His purpose and our good (Romans 8:28).

It is here that I will answer my question: What do God and Belize have in common?  We hastily make judgements about them based on little fact and rarely give them the opportunity to prove us wrong.  Let us then reserve our hasty judgments, seek Godly counsel, and pray for divine insight about these situations in our lives so we can grow deeper in our faith and understanding.

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Bryce

Bryce Cooley
I've been doing some form of ministry since 2000. For 13 years I was involved in the youth ministry at Cordova Neighborhood Church as everything from youth intern to youth pastor. God has led me and my lovely wife Bethany to Church of the Foothills where I currently reside as the Digital Publishing Coordinator. I'm excited to see where God leads my wife and I.
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Bryce Cooley
I've been doing some form of ministry since 2000. For 13 years I was involved in the youth ministry at Cordova Neighborhood Church as everything from youth intern to youth pastor. God has led me and my lovely wife Bethany to Church of the Foothills where I currently reside as the Digital Publishing Coordinator. I'm excited to see where God leads my wife and I.