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Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Day 25: Transformed by Trouble?

The Day 25 chapter is a troubling one for me. 

It does contain some comforting thoughts, such as:
  • everything that happens to you has spiritual significance
  • it is by experiencing the same troubles Jesus went though (eg loneliness, temptation, stress, criticism, rejection), that you become like Jesus
  • God knows what is best for you and has your best interests at heart
  • instead of asking "why me?" when facing problems, ask "what do You want me to learn"
In relation to this last point, as a trivial example, my body corporate manager is annoying me again.  Back in August 2009, they sent around a circular saying they had arranged for a hard rubbish collection so people could get rid of any items in their car park.  They threatened that if people didn't remove the things stored in their car parks, they would be removed by the body corporate manager at the cost of the owner.  They claimed that this was because the insurer was threatening to withdraw its insurance policy.  If I was the body corporate manager, my response to the insurer would be "fine, we will find another insurer".  Given the size of the building, I'm sure any insurer in danger of losing a signficant chunk of revenue would find a way to accommodate the odd bit of furniture in the car park. In any case, I didn't believe this story at all, because only a few weeks before the minutes of the annual body corporate meeting had arrived and it made no mention whatsoever that the insurer had taken this view.

I was throughly pissed off at the body corporate manager for using a passive aggressive tactic, for threatening to steal its clients possessions, and for going well beyond its rights as a body corporate manager.  I wrote a letter to them pointing out that the car parks are on freehold title, to enter them would be tresspass and to take anything out of them would be theft, for which I was prepared to go to the police.  I also took the opportunity to clear out my car park space, which I was intending to do anyway, and had to admit that by organising the hard rubbish collection they had made it significantly easier for me to do so.

I got no response to my letter, however, as months had passed and the stuff in the carpark remained, I figured they had perhaps realised that stealing people's stuff is not such a good idea.  That was until yesterday when I recieved a follow up circular stating that a contractor had been appointed and would be removing everything on the 13th of April.  They also included virtually impossible to decifer black and white photocopies of photos of the car parks being affected.  I wondered whether this was an attempt to shame people, felt instantly angry again and started googling to find out how to obtain an injunction to prevent it.

Later, when I was lying in bed unable to sleep because I was still angry, I asked God "what am I meant to learn from this?" and then a thought occurred to me "was I loving my neighbour as I loved myself?"  Quite obviously I was not.  I had to admit that the body corporate manager had actually helped me to clear out my car park which I needed to clear out anyway to get a car in there, that other people may be quite pissed off by all the crap in the car park, that is it a potential fire hazard and that while they could have approached the problem with a greater degree of charm (for want of a better word), the body corporate were probably just doing what they had been told to do by the building committee (which comprises four of the owners).

Immediately, my anger subsided and I thought, well those people who are affected by this may actually appreciate having someone else clear out their car park for them and if not, no doubt, are big enough and smart enough to deal with the body corporate themselves. 

So that's all good, but there are a couple of points made in this chapter that are not so good.

  1. Rick Warren again asserts that your life is predestined "Because every day of your life was written on God's calendar before you were born, everything that happens to you has spiritual signficance." I would say that because you are a child of God, everything that happens to you has spiritual significance, that it is impossible for anything not to have spiritual significance, but as I discussed in Day 2: I am not an accident, the idea that God has every day of your life set planned in advanced is not set in stone.
  2. Rick Warren also writes "Regardless of the cause, none of your problems could happen without God's permission". I can accept that proposition for my life because most of my problems are small and some could be categorised as nice-to-have eg I need to buy a house because we can't fit all our stuff into our apartment. But when it comes to serious problems that some people have to go through, such as child abuse or domestic violence, I cannot accept that a God who loves you would allow these things to happen. I realise this implies that God is not omnipotent, so I'm not sure what to make of this. What are your views on this issue?    

1 comment:

  1. Point two reminds me of a wonderful quote from wacko Lawnmovers dont kill people, people kill people. There been a long history of blaming Gods for what goes on. Sounds like we need to take more personal responsibility.