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Wednesday, January 6, 2010


J. Grant Swank, Jr.

How many times in life do you sit yourself down and say, "Nothing is happening. Maybe even God forgot to punch in today."

Oh really?

Go figure, as the teens say today. Go figure what happened with Joe seated in Egypt's jailhouse cell. Nothing was going on. Nothing. Rats ran across the floor. Water gathered flies in the corner bowl. But God had failed to punch in.

Go figure what was going on with Job seated on an ash heap. Nothing was moving but his squirrely wife who wound his ear drums up tight. "Curse God and die!" Nice woman. Really one sweety pie of a gal. In other words, from all appearances, nothing at all was happening in that man's life but the worst of times.

Go figure with Dan being led to the den. Hands tied with rope. Burly soldiers tossing him about the footpath. An empire breathing down his slender throat. And lions salivating all over the cave floor. Obviously, God had forgotten to punch in.

Go figure with Noah and Mom Noah and three sons with daughters-in-law. Nothing really was happening but more sweat pounded into a backyard boat. And for what? For a "rain" that had never been? For "drops from above" that were mere fiction? Noah had ringing in his ears night and day due to the clamor of neighbors' pans clanging ridicule till dawn. Evidently God had forgotten to punch in.

Go figure with Paul, stoned and left for dead. For doing what? For preaching love, joy and peace. For showing a village how to find their ways to heaven. For befriending Jews and Gentiles alike for Jesus' sake. The end of it all was a ministry of stones pounded into his flesh. God--why don't you remember to show up for work when Paul needs you?

Go figure with you--vacuum, nobody loves you, nothing is going right, friends have betrayed you, enemies are screwing up their ammunition fire for another round, skies are loaded with rain clouds, and a dentist appointment stares you in the face for l o'clock this afternoon!

Do you not believe that when nothing works, God is? Have you not committed yourself to blind faith in His doings, whether you can understand them or not, whether you feel anything religious or not, whether anyone else cares about your mission or not?

Do you not reckon that the journey can be a lonely one? The way of the cross? The pilgrimage of an alien here below?

Then look back particularly on one who--go figure--had all the reasons to conclude that Father had forgotten to clock in on that particular Thursday night, moving into Friday's bloodletting as well.

There He hung--messed up, unsightly, belly bellowing to the Calvary winds, flies buzzing about his crusted brow, arms sagging beneath nails punched into his skin, an army of cowardly disciples hiding out in nighttime's shelters. Nothing was going on. Nothing.

Go figure.