Pondering life with Pious Bob – Understanding outcomes


By Robert Halsey Pine

“To you, O Lord, I cried, and to the Lord I made supplication: ‘What profit is there in my death, if I go down to the Pit? Will the dust praise you? Will it tell of your faithfulness? Hear, O Lord, and be gracious to me! O Lord, be my helper!’ You have turned my mourning into dancing; you have taken off my sackcloth and clothed me with joy, so that my soul may praise you and not be silent. O Lord my God, I will give thanks to you forever.” (Psalm 30:8-12)

We must continuously thank the Lord. The psalmist helps us remember that God’s anger lasts only a short time. If we walk in His ways we are favored for a lifetime. This is hard for us to grasp. When so many bad things are happening around us and to us, it’s hard to see God in any of it. Yet time after time, we see and hear witness to the fact that God is in the middle of our chaos. As we move away from self-centeredness toward God-centeredness, God becomes our partner in both the good and the bad in our lives. When we allow Him in, He celebrates our joy with us and redeems our hurt.

It sometimes takes a tragedy for this to really sink in with us. We all have stories where a blessing was received out of what appeared to be an irreversible hurt. Part of our problem in understanding how God can be with us, comfort us and redeem all things is our need to control outcomes and set parameters for what is a good outcome. How things appear to us are usually totally different from God’s view. Can we reach a point where we are willing to hold God’s hand and walk into the abyss, expecting a blessing? Are we willing to have our mourning turned into dancing?

I received a blessing from God through a traumatic health situation. The Lord revealed to me the eternal nature of life in Him. The thought of death for me became just an event, somewhere in the middle of a vast eternal relationship with Him. This manifested itself in me after my health ordeal. Previously I had been a white-knuckle flier. I was always very nervous in an airplane. Today, I am at peace when I fly. The bumps don’t even bother me anymore, and the Lord and I dance and sing the whole way.

Eternal Father, I pray, help me to allow You into my whole life here on Earth and give me a greater understanding of eternal life with You. For these things are hard for me to grasp. Give me the courage to walk with You into chaotic places in my life, knowing that all peace lives with You. Teach me how to apply these gifts from You in each moment of my life. I sing You praises Lord, for only in You can I find the true meaning of life. Let’s dance! Amen.

Robert Halsey Pine was born at Newark, Ohio in 1943. He is a graduate of Northeastern University and completed the program of Theological Education by Extension: Education for Ministry, School of Theology, the University of the South.

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