November 9, 2011

Where There's Smoke

Yesterday I did a good deed. 

Or at least I tried too. 

When I pulled into a grocery store parking lot I noticed the car beside me looked a little off. It seemed like smoke was coming from the engine. Now I wasn't sure if my eyes were playing tricks on me or if the truck that had just driven by kicked up a lot of exhaust fumes. 

So I walked over for a closer look. Sure enough as I looked I saw a faint yet steady cloud of smoke wafting into the air.

Knowing that the car was smoking I did what I thought was the responsible thing to do. I quickly snapped a picture of the car's make and model along with the licence plate and I went to find the owner. Much to my surprise I was successful. The car's owner must have gotten into the store only a few minutes before me and was just a few steps way from the customer service desk.

I explained to him why he was paged and much to my surprise he smiled and said that this has been happening to him all day. He just had his car undercoated, so everything was fine. He thanked me for my concern, and then we both went back to picking up some groceries.

I guess sometimes there is just smoke. 

Another catchy modern proverb proves not to be turn in all cases!
(Where there is smoke there is fire in case you didn't get the reference)
This little incident has made me a little reflective. I have been noticing in my study of scripture lately that the bible talks about suffering a lot different than your average Western Christian does.

I think we tend to react to suffering in our lives much in the same way we react to smoke coming up from underneath the hood of our car. We assume the worst. 

When we face difficult times many of us assume that something very wrong is happening. So naturally we want to fix it as quickly as possible. Maybe that means we start repenting of anything and everything we can think of, or we yell at God telling him that we don't deserve this, perhaps we cry, some of us hide, and in particularly hard times we have full blown crisis' of faith.

But why? Why do we react this way? It's like we think being a Christian some how entitles us to a care free and pain free life. It is as if we think only people who have not had their sins forgiven suffer.

There are three major problems with this line of thinking as I see it;

1. Jesus suffered and died. 
2. Jesus told us we would have to 'take up our cross and follow him' (I.E. suffer like he did)
3. The apostles, and many many many of the disciples after them did in fact suffer

When the apostles saw suffering they didn't see something wrong, they saw something right. They seemed to have understood that suffering is one of the ways that we are made to be more like Christ. 

Now don't get me wrong, I'm not there yet. I am not ready to rejoice because of a flogging or break out into a sing song in a jail cell. But I do want to develop a better attitude when I face hard times. I want to see the hard times in my life not as moments that have gone horribly wrong, but as God appointed times for me to grow more Christlike. 

Maybe one day I will truly see that suffering is more like the smoke from a good undercoating than it is like an engine on fire.