Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Musings - Quantum Leap of Faith?

In 1989 NBC launched a drama show with a sci-fi back story. QUANTUM LEAP starred Scott Bakula as physicist Sam Beckett, who was essentially “lost in time” due to a mishap in a secret government research project trying to unravel the secrets of time travel. Each episode found Beckett in some time and place in the recent past, occupying someone else’s body but with his own consciousness intact. The goal was always the same: fix whatever had gone wrong in that time and place in order to restore the timeline thus freeing him to return to his own place and time. His friend and co-worker Al (Dean Stockwell) would pop into a scene several times each episode (nobody else could see him … go figure), trying to help him figure out what it was that he needed to do.

I thought about QUANTUM LEAP a couple of weeks ago as I thought about some folks I know who are going through some challenging situations. To be honest, some of their situations just make me mad, and I find myself screaming stuff at God like: “Where is Your love in this?” … or … “Haven’t they struggled enough?” … or … “You know that this makes it harder for skeptics to believe, don’t You? What were You thinking???”

When we were expecting Benjamin, Dawn had to spend the last half of the pregnancy – from early March until he was born on May 31st – in bed. A neighbor who was a little too pious for her own good visited one day; and in an effort to be more spiritual than was appropriate to the situation, thought out loud: “I wonder what it is that God could be trying to teach you through this ordeal.” That’s the first time I remember bumping into that idea, but I have heard it several times since … usually with the idea that once you learn whatever it is, then the bad situation will resolve and life will improve … and if it doesn’t, it’s probably because you’re a slow learner. I do not find that mindset supported in scripture.

I do not understand why God, in His sovereignty, allows some of the things to happen that, in His omniscience He KNOWS are going to happen, and from which He could easily protect us in His omnipotence; but I cannot believe that God brutalizes His children in order to teach us—which is what the mindset mentioned above implies. Life is not an exercise in which all we have to do to get relief from a hellish situation is to learn a lesson God is trying to teach. Every episode of QUANTUM LEAP ended with Beckett, having resolved the situation in that episode, being transported by the miracle of quantum physics (and television special effects) into a precarious new situation. And just before the screen goes black we see enough of his new predicament to feel his trepidation as he stammers: “Oh boy …”.

That’s enough to think about for now. The peace of Christ to you.


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