It was dreary overcast and wet…

It was dreary, overcast, and wet. The air was heavy. Somewhere between a thick fog and rain. The dampness was all encompassing and without rain gear, you were going to get very wet. Nate had dressed for the weather.

He walked the short distance from his home to the bluffs above the ocean and followed the well-worn trail to the beach below. Along with fresh driftwood, seaweed, and the detritus of man mixed in its midst, the remnants of a late fall storm had left rows of sea foam above the current tide mark.

He hated to see plastic bottles, aluminum cans, and other man made objects floating or stranded here. “Why can’t we be better stewards of the environment?” he wondered. Well, there was a phrase he never thought he’d be saying in his seventh decade of life. Of course, his generation was also the generation of Peace and Love in the 60’s so it wasn’t beyond reason to hear such an utterance.

Jake, his well-mannered German Shepherd, ran ahead of him and straight for a large piece of driftwood. He was pretty sure Jake couldn’t carry it but it didn’t stop him from trying. He dropped it a couple of times and then figured out if he only picked up one end, he could drag it and maybe his master would throw it for him. He found out soon enough there was no hope of that. Regardless, Nate had a ball which he happily threw for Jake to chase and play with.

He found a well weathered log. Another storm in another time, had placed it well above the high water mark. The constant movement of the waves and abrasiveness of the sand as the log moved to its final resting place, had worn the log smooth. It had a grey patina imprinted on it by the elements. There were perfect little dips where you could sit, think, and watch. Today was fairly quiet. Undoubtedly due to the weather, but there were still people out with their dogs, walking on the hard packed sand, looking for shells, or simply lost in their own thoughts.

Nate threw the ball again and marveled at how much this old friend of his loved the simple things of life. Jake was having a great time creating his own game of chase the ball. Training, play, exercise, food, water, a comfortable home but most importantly, affection. Nate loved Jake nearly as much as he loved his family. Jake loved the family. When the grand kids were younger, they’d pull his fur, ears, and tail. They’d try to ride him and when he got tired of the poking and prodding, he’d simply get up and walk away, shedding the little ones like water he shook off after getting wet. He’d roam around until the kids got tired of chasing him and then he’d go and lie on his bed or seek an affectionate pat from an adult.

There was one thing about Jake not many people knew. Jake was a highly trained protection dog and woe betide anyone who may try and harm one of the grand kids. They’d be leaving the area with more holes in their body than they arrived with.

Nate looked at Jake and wished his life could be that simple. Not that it was a bad life. He had all the necessities. Food, shelter, clothing, a loving family and good friends. Today, the weather was a reflection of his mood. He was having what some might call a crisis of faith. Crisis may be too strong a word but it was certainly close.

Nate was a “good” Christian, or at least he thought he was, but he was having second thoughts. Him and his Pastor had many discussions about God, the Bible, and religion in general. However, lately, the more Nate thought about the Bible’s teachings, the “all merciful God”, and organized religion, he became distressed.

In Nate’s religious upbringing, preacher after preacher said the Bible was the word of God. Yet, the Bible was written by man, apparently passages were left out as they were determined not to be the “word of God”, re-interpreted by some religious leaders to meet their own needs, unable to be read by the majority for most of the first two millennia, and translated from ancient Greek into multiple languages.

To Nate, this was like playing a game of telephone when you were a kid. Line up 10 people, give the first a short message, ask that person to pass the message along and so on until the message reached the end of the line. Then ask the last person what was said. The message seldom, if ever, was the same as it started. So, with the majority of the populace illiterate at the time of Jesus, how did these verbal stories get accurately conveyed? How could the messages and conflicting messages in the Bible be believed?

This omnipotent entity said he was to love his neighbour. That is, unless the neighbour is gay, not of your colour, or religion.

Where was God when man was wreaking carnage on other human beings? They can’t all be sinners? If God is all seeing and all powerful, why didn’t he/she prevent the tragedy in the first place?

Something good happens and they said “my prayers have been answered”. What about the people who didn’t pray and good things happened to them? Was that pure luck? Oh, he forgot, that was God looking after them anyway, he thought sarcastically.

Why was a man who beat his wife and children but went to church every Sunday, paid his tithes, and worshiped God, but it was kept quiet, considered to be a “good Christian”? While the single mother who worked two jobs, loved her children and family, prayed at home alone, but didn’t go to church, deemed to be unfit in the eyes of God and the Church?

What about the abused woman who kept her abuse a secret but is told at the death of her husband they will be reunited in Heaven? Will she go to her death fearing dying because of what may happen in the afterlife.

Nate had always prayed but he was questioning the validity of it. How could God hear and answer all those prayers? It was obvious not all prayers got answered. If not, then how did God chose. If his prayers didn’t get answered, did it mean he was unworthy?

He recently had a friend thank and praise God for answering his prayers and curing his cancer. He saw no other reason for his survival. Yet, he had a very competent medical team which was undoubtedly made up of people of different faiths, no faith, and agnostics. Did they not play a part in his survival? Oh wait, once again they were guided by the hand of the Almighty!

He’d heard his pastor say when a particularly “devout and worthy” person died, they would sit at the right hand of God. In Nate’s mind, with all the good people who had gone before and were also sitting at the right hand of God, the line should stretch to infinite.

If a child died, it was said God had called him or her home. What merciful God would allow a child to go through such pain just to call them home. Would it not have been more merciful not to allow them to be born in the first place?

If plague and pestilence were not created by man, then they must have been created by God if you accept the proposition that God created Heaven and Earth. If that’s the case, why did God need to create them just to kill his “children”. Not only sinners are taken.

If there is only ONE God and ONE true religion, which one is that, he wondered

Nate was working himself into a state. Suddenly, he felt a cold nose on his face and a warm tongue lick his cheek, followed by a shake big enough to send water droplets all over him. Jake had returned!

Nate grabbed the big beast around the neck and give him a hug. This caused Jake to start vigorously wagging his tail which in turned caused his whole body to move and spread even more water. Nate let go and looked at his four legged friend. Things looked a little better in his world. Also, the clouds had started to dissipate, the sun was peeking through, and smell of the air was changing. It may turn out to be a beautiful day.

Nate got up from the log, picked up the ball and threw it one more time. He headed toward the trail back to top of the bluff, knowing Jake would follow

Nate knew he couldn’t solve his dilemma today but he was moving closer to an answer. He walked home in the emerging sunlight and knew no matter what decision he made, it would be the right one for him.

Author: Nelson

0 thoughts on “It was dreary overcast and wet…

  1. Ahh the age-old question of evil..we all struggle with it at some point in our lives, don’t we? If I were sitting next to Nate, I would like to ask him what constitutes these actions that he is mulling over as tragic or evil? We humans tend to equate suffering with evil and we ask, where can God be in this? But if there is evil in the world, then by default, there must also be “good.” And if there is good, then there must be a moral law that serves as a basis on which to differentiate between good and evil…and if there is a moral law, then there must be a moral law giver. But Nate may then reply, “why do you need a moral law giver for there to be a moral law?” The answer is because every question that is raised about evil and suffering is either raised by a person or about a person–which means that personal, intrinsic worth is essential to the question. But in a naturalistic framework, you cannot have intrinsic worth. You have extrinsic worth and it gets conveyed to you. You are just a blip on the radar screen of time, you just happen to be here. But if you’re a person created in the image of God with intrinsic worth, then the question is reflective of the value that you give to personhood. As a small example of the purpose of pain in a persons life–if you look up Ashlyn Blocker, a girl who was born without the ability to feel pain, you will find that her mother asks God to give her the sensation of pain so she can feel things and save herself in certain situations. Because if someone feels no pain whatsoever, they can easily accidentally die by a wound that they don’t realize is fatal. Perhaps that can be applied to our spiritual life as well.

      1. This question is important to me as well, and there was a time in my life that I stopped believing in God due to the pain I was going through. But it was through my pain that I was actually led back to God and I continue to get research these hard topics so I can get real answers.

        1. Going through pain whether it is physical or emotional can test us on so many levels. We lose faith in medicine, our religion (if we have one), our family, our friends, and perhaps most importantly ourselves.
          I sincerely hope you find the answer, whatever it may be.

  2. Thought provoking, Nelson.

    I long ago made a personal differentiation between “religion” and “spirituality”. So many of the organized religions of the world today have similar teachings and similar historic backgrounds, and yet, many of these organized religions continue to fight over whose God is the “true” God.

    I have found that, for myself personally, spirituality equates to the synergistic sum of many religions. I believe that we create our own life experience; we should treat others as we would like to be treated; we should be non-judgemental; we should offer help to others in need, etc. etc.

    Virtually all religions have similar doctrines, although there are times when the religious leaders may chose to interpret the “word of God” differently. I have a very strong spiritual belief, but sadly, I have very little “faith” in organized religion and the leaders of those religions.

  3. I am not religious but I believe that there are answers – not that I know that; I just think that there must be. 🙂 In my little opinion, religion has caused many, many problems. It’s all about control and trying to make people believe as you do. There’s a lot of fear in that.

    If others don’t believe as I believe, then I might be wrong, so I’m going to force you to agree. Threaten you, torture you, hurt you, do whatever I must to feel okay about it.

    Good post, Nelson. Lots of stuff to chew on. 🙂 And by the way, I love German shepards. I had one years ago. Great dogs. 🙂

  4. A brain-knotting topic, for sure. There was a time when I spent a great deal of time and mental/emotional energy on those types of questions, but now I find my solace in nature and let the larger questions take care of themselves. If that’s the wrong answer, then I’m not sure I want to be right. 🙂

Comments are always welcome. Please leave a reply.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.