As a small child, we are taught a few emotional expressions. We all learn happy, sad, angry and surprised at a young age. The natural maturation process eventually teaches us that all things are not so simple. Sometimes good news has a sting to it, or we take bad news and try to find the silver lining. When a terminally ill child passes away, sometimes there is comfort in knowing he will no longer suffer. Or the opposite may be true; a child leaving for college or getting married is an exciting occasion, but also sad in a way for the parents staying behind in the empty nest. I’m not sure MySpace or WordPress have an emoticon for bittersweet. Is it a good feeling tinged with sorrow, or is it pain with joy and gladness?
I’m asking for people of faith to pray. I would rather not say for what just yet. Maybe someday. For now, I would like believing Christians to pray for my family, particularly Teresa and I. We may have just gotten some good news; but then again, hearing it puts a certain dread in my heart at the same time. I’m a writer. How about an analogy?
You’re at a ballgame. Let’s make it baseball. Your favorite player comes up to bat. He makes good solid contact, and the crack of the bat rings in your ears. He has made it all the way to first base by the time the ball drops… just inside the fence and into the left fielder’s glove. In the 4th inning, your guy is back up to bat. Amazingly he connects again, and the ball soars high above the left field line, is actually good for most of the way, then curves just ever so slightly to the left, hitting the stands in foul territory. By the 8th inning it’s not looking good for your team. Your guy could step in and save the day. But baseball is a very superstitious thing. The team may be convinced that he’s cursed. Maybe it’s this park, maybe he’s in a slump, maybe he put 3 pickles on his hamburger for lunch instead of 2, but for some reason he is now 0 for 2, and he’s up to bat. You’re exciting he’s coming to the plate. You’re wearing his jersey, and even brought your glove to the ball park. But he’s already 0 for 2, and you shudder to think of an 0 for 3 ballgame. It’s exciting, there’s potential. But the potential for failure haunts you as well, and you sort of wish they would just pinch-hit and not even bat him again. Bittersweet.
If you’re a Christian who just happen to surf by just now, my name is Clark Bunch and I would like to be remembered in your prayers. If we are friends from the internet, or perhaps I’m on your blogroll, then please pray and I will fill you in as time goes by. If you’re a personal friend you may have already figured out what this is about. In the Magnificat, Mary praises God for the great things He has done. She sings this song after finding out she will become the mother of Jesus Christ. Job lost all his children, livestock and wealth, and yet still declares “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away, blessed be the name of the Lord.” It must have been much harder for Job to praise God than Mary. And yet He is the same yesterday, today and forever. He loved us while we were unlovable. Anything we receive is more than we deserve.