A Story I keep- Once upon a time – Part One

It starts with Once upon a time. It’s not a fairy tale. It’s a true story. I don’t need to wish that a story like this really happened. It did. On a certain day, in a certain place, in a time life of this world, it happened. It’s a story I keep for many reasons.

Once upon a time, a man named Jesus was walking along with his friends. It was a hot sunny day. There was dust flying everywhere with each step taken. They walk at a good pace but not too fast because as they walked along, they could see everything around them.

” Boy that pot she’s carrying must be heavy.” said someone.

“Oh! Look! He’s got a new donkey! Looks like a sturdy one!” said another.

“I smell homemade pita!” said another, “When’s lunch?”

Jesus doesn’t say anything. All of the sudden, they see a certain blind man.

“Oh! I know him! That’s Bart.” said one.

“No! HIs name is Sam!” said another.

“You are both wrong! His name is Toby.”

“Yes, Toby! Poor old Toby. Just look at him. He was born blind. Now he’s just a raggedy old beggar. “

“Jesus, do you know why Toby was born blind?”

I don’t know who asked the question. But I have the same wondering question. Why was our daughter born with autism? Why are people born with no limbs? Why are people born deaf? Why did anyone have to suffer cancer and die? Why? It is a wondering over a question that sometimes, we don’t ever find an answer for, but we ask it anyway.

Sometimes, I think I know it all. Just like Jesus’s friends.

“Oh! I know. Was it because he sinned or maybe was it because his parents sinned?”

Sin. That is the ultimate answer. There is sin in the world. That’s why. If it is a question that pierces your gut- then the answer to the Why is sin. No matter how different the circumstance, when it comes to those awful things that make us ask and ask and ask until we are blue, the only answer I can come up with is – sin.

“Right Jesus? Sin. We just need to remember there is sin in this world.” they say.

I forget. We are not writing the story. God is. And it is all about Jesus. So, he doesn’t nod his head or praise them for being so smart. He answers first with: “No!”

“Huh? What do you mean: “No!” You can’t tell me I am not right. There is sin all over the world. ” says one.

Jesus said, “No, it’s not because the man nor his parents sinned. It was so that God could show his glory in this man. ”

Jesus’s friends stopped in their tracks. They couldn’t hear a clip clop of a donkey or the whistle of a young man hammering away at some carpentry project. All they could hear is Jesus’s words: It was so God could show His glory! ”

Do you know what glory is? You could wonder about that word for the rest of your life. Our brains think of great things. Things we let our mouths hang open over or look at with wide eyes. But that’s not the glory that Jesus was talking about.

Put God in front of glory and you have something bigger than the Grand Canyon. More than a whale jumping out of the ocean. More wonderful than seeing the Northern Lights. Even the most grandiose thing in the world that is there for us to see- God’s glory is even better. You just can’t pin down glory when it comes to God. It is inexpressibly more than we can imagine.

If I had dwelled on finding answers to why our daughter had autism, I would still be on a life long research project. What is genetics? Was it the fact that she was born two weeks early? Was it because my placenta was unhealthy? Did I not eat enough fruits and vegetables? Did I not follow the Manuel? Was it the results of some vaccination?And if I did find all the answers to why, what am I supposed to do with all of that information now? Sometimes knowing the answers only bring you to more questions.

For over 15 years, God saw to it that He displayed His glory and still does. Just like He always does in any other life.

When asked what color is your jacket, our daughter said “Turquoise” . Turquoise was one of her list of 20 vocabulary words at age 3. God displayed His glory. Fast forward a few more years, and she is writing her version of Princess and the Pea to be used for a neighborhood play. God displayed his glory. Fast forward some more years, and she’s making pictures that look like they could be used for a children’s book, an art gallery, or some animation. God displays His glory.

To see God’s glory that’s why. That’s why for all of the why’s of life. At least the ones that sting us. That’s why we have to keep our eyes open all the while on this journey. Because if we are too busy looking for Venus lining up with Jupiter or a waiting for a flower to bloom before our eyes, we might miss other unexpected things that God does “just for fun” all in the realm of displaying of His glory.

Now, what comes next in the story is not so glorious. It involved mud. But even mud is glorious.


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