Oh no!  This morning a seagull flew over my head and I felt a very large splat land on my bare arm.  At first I was angry and then a bit amused, but most of all I wondered, “Why me?”  Why should that seagull choose my arm and then fly away, laughing his raucous laugh?  But then I wondered, “Why not me?”  Why should these things happen to nameless others, why should I expect to be spared when others experience pain, why do I assume I should be kept safe when others have to endure hardship?  Certainly Christ knew pain and suffering; his awareness in Gethsemane of the ordeal ahead is painfully apparent when He prayed and sweated drops of blood.  I want to be a safe Christian, someone never tested or tried, someone whose religion is pleasant and comfortable.  In my heart I want that seagull to find someone else, leave me untouched.  Forgive me, Lord, when I see safety rather than the risk of a deepening relationship with you.  Help me grow through all the experiences of life, and keep me aware that regardless of what happens, I am always in your presence. Amen.

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