tragedy

In the Moment

Yesterday, I enjoyed my first day of snowboarding for this season. I really like snowboarding because it’s the sequence of lots of exhilarating moments strung together over the course of a day. Yesterday was particularly enjoyable because my drive to the slopes was filled with interesting podcasts and I could sense Holy Spirit’s presence in the car and talking with me through these podcasts. The enjoyment continued when I strapped on my board and pointed it down the slope, reminding myself that this is a warm up run and not the Olympics. I had a quick adrenaline rush when I made a sharp turn, caught an edge and almost biffed it, but I caught myself before the crash! I found more moments of pleasure enjoying the spectacular scenery, breathing crisp and fresh air, going really fast without getting injured, along with some quiet reflection on the lift going up the mountain for another run.

While I’m grateful for lots of continuous moments of pleasure yesterday, I’ve also been reading about Absalom, the son of David. And reading about him, shows me a man who had lots of continuous moments of pain, anger, stress, dissatisfaction, disappointment and rejection. I’d encourage you to read about him in 2Samuel, to see a person who lived in continuous moments of pain.

We can observe these moments of pain in Absalom’s life in how he responded to his sister, Tamar, after she was raped by their half brother. Absalom told Tamar to stay in his house and he would look after her, but he never said word one to their half brother, Amnon, for two years. After these two years, Absalom threw a party as a convenient context to kill Amnon. Absalom’s behavior and choices show me a man who lived in continuous moments of anger and revenge.

These moments of pain continued for Absalom as he was exiled for two years from his dad, David, for killing Amnon. Upon returning to Jerusalem, Absalom still didn’t see his dad for another two years, likely perpetuating more moments of hurt, rejection and disconnection. Once Absalom was accepted by his dad, David the king, it’s still obvious that Absalom stays in his continuous moments of pain, because he plots for some years to win the heart of Israel and displace his dad as king.

I would suggest that the culmination of these painful moments happened when Absalom declared himself as king, David ran for his life and Absalom began a war against his dad to position himself as Israel’s king. The end of Absalom’s life of continual tragic moments is when he gets caught in a tree, swinging by his hair and David’s army commander throws spears into Absalom’s heart to kill him.

To me, this story is an epic tragedy, portraying a life stacked full of tragedies, pain, destruction, isolation and grief. While I’m sure that Absalom had some good moments over the course of his life, it seems to me that he became swallowed by the bad moments such that his life became a continuous bad moment and he perpetuated the bad with his hurtful choices.

When I think about how this applies to us, we will have good moments and bad moments in our lives. If we choose to live in the bad moments, we run the risk of getting sour and disillusioned, resulting in hurt to ourselves and others. Additionally, watching Absalom’s choices is a vivid reminder that I actively choose forgiveness whenever I’m hurt. I’m also grateful that God gives us good moments, like my snowboarding day ☺

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Posted by sarahbowling in busy, enemies to intimacy, fellowship, Genuine love, grow, Heavenly Help, Holy Spirit, listen, living, prayer, relationships, spiritual, thought life, uncertainty, values, watch, 0 comments

Some thoughts on the school massacre in Connecticut

Yesterday our country saw another violent atrocity happen whose victims were mostly small little children.  As I’ve learned about the events over the last 24 hours, I find myself beyond sad, angry, frustrated, shocked and incredibly disturbed.  Over the next several weeks, we’ll learn about the families of various victims & the shooter.  We’ll hear clamorous demands for gun control and politicians expressing sorrow and sympathy.  Some of us will try to understand what causes a person to do such unthinkable violence and we will all have this sick and empty pit in our guts as we learn how this tragedy unfolded.

If there is anything good that come out of this atrocity, let’s decided that whenever we hear or discuss news related to the events from Friday, December 14th, we will pray – be that a short prayer, an intense prayer, a long prayer, or just a simple prayer.  Let’s pray for the families of the victims, the children at the elementary school, the family of the shooter, the school’s teachers and administrators, . . . .  Let’s allow these horrific events to make us more prayerful and spiritual people.

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Posted by sarahbowling, 3 comments

some thoughts about the Aurora theater shooting

When I was in Cambodia, I heard almost real time about the Aurora Theater shootings.  Of course, I was super disturbed about everything & I continue to pray for the families & survivors.  Tragically, my city has walked some of this path before with the Columbine shootings & some of my feelings and reactions seem unfortunately familiar.  There are lots of reactions from anger & revenge to despair & grief – a wide gamut whenever I ask anyone here about how they’re doing.  While there is alot of evil in the world, be that in Cambodia, Denver, North Korea or in our neighborhoods, we must continually give ourselves to be agents of genuine love because love wins.

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Posted by sarahbowling in Cambodia, enemies to intimacy, Holy Spirit, living, missions, prayer, relationships, spiritual, 0 comments

Japan Earthquake & Tsunami

I just watched some of the footage of these horrific events & it seems almost surreal – surreal because I’m sitting in my house, comfy & drinking decaf, very far removed from this tragedy.  But when I begin to think of the people who lived in the houses that were overrun by water, the people who drove the cars that are bobbing in the water like toys, the people who farmed the land & greenhouses that were swallowed by the mucky deluge . . . . I’m undone.  Even more, I’m very disturbed by the loss of life today in this highly industrialized country, along with the mounting numbers of dead & injured & other potential disasters that could result from this earthquake.

What do I say to all of this as a person who deeply loves Jesus?  The ultimate tragedy of these catastrophes are the number of people who have & will die, who are injured beyond medical help, the infants lost and families who are devastated.  When we hear the numbers for the dead & injured, let’s be careful not to get numbed by the statistics but stay deeply touched by the realization that each number is a person of immeasurable worth, deeply loved and treasured by Jesus.  Let us be certain & consistent in praying for the families who are left and let us be watchful for opportunities small & large to express the tangible love of Jesus to our kinship of humanity in Japan, but also in our immediate world as well.  May the love of Jesus compel us – 2 Cor 5:14

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Posted by sarahbowling, 0 comments