Good for Nothing

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

It’s nice to know that God has the power and the smarts to pull out some good from all the crap that can happen to you. I can’t help wishing, though, that he’d apply some of that power and smarts to keep the crap from happening in the first place, but I guess that sort of misses the point. If the crap didn’t happen then he wouldn’t be able to pull good out of it, which, I guess, is the point.

The downside to this strategy is, of course, the crap part. No matter how good the good is that comes out of it, crap is still pretty much crap. And it’s the crap you have to deal with to get to the good. Now, this may make you really glad to get to the good that came out of the crap; in fact, the longer you’re standing neck-deep in the crap the more you will appreciate the good the God is pulling out of it. This may be why God has chosen this system in the first place. He wants you to appreciate the good he pulls out. Without the crap part, you might not appreciate the good as much as God thinks you should. And if there’s one thing God doesn’t like, it’s being underappreciated. Trust me, I know.

Which is probably why some of the other Bible writers want you to treat the crap with some respect. You’re not supposed to complain about stuff, and James—that wacko Jew who can’t quite figure out what the Gospel is—he wants to you actually be happy about the crap because dealing with it develops perseverance, which is another way of saying that dealing with crap helps you deal with crap. James has always been one of my favorite guys to ignore.

I might as well come out and say it: I’m anti-crap across the boards. I don’t care if it teaches me some great religious truth. I think crap sucks, and I think that God should put a bit more thought into the process. Maybe he should make good more obvious so that people will notice it. What good is good if nobody can figure it out until they get dragged through the muck? Take a clean car, for example. I know what a clean car is without it having to be dirty first. I say to myself, “There’s one clean car.” If I buy a new car I for sure don’t take it first to a mud hole so I can then run it through the car wash so I can finally say, “Now there’s one clean car.” Why God can’t figure that out is beyond me.

So I suppose we’re stuck with the whole process of extracting good from complete crap. At this point God isn’t likely to change his ways. Like anybody else he gets stuck doing things the same way over and over, even if somebody like me comes along with a better plan. It’s been that way from the beginning so we might as well get used to it.

Here’s my advice: When the crap hits the fan, don’t even bother ducking. That fan is pretty dang powerful and sprays that crap all over the place. Your best bet is to close your eyes and mouth and take the hit. Once the fan has done its job, you can then start counting it all joy. This may seem hard at the time, but if you practice denying reality ahead of time, there’s a much better chance that you can do it under a layer of crap. Repeat to yourself, “This is God’s will that I’m covered in crap” over and over. Eventually you may even begin to believe it (but this is optional). After this, start looking for anything good to come out of your situation. If you stay crapped out for any length of time, you’ll pretty much grab at anything, even if it’s not all that hot. The point is that anything’s better than crap, and you’ll be happy for it, which is the whole point of the crap in the first place.

And remember, this process is for those who love God and are called according to his purposes. You can imagine what God has planned for those other folks.



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