Thursday, January 17, 2013

random acts

Randomness is the god of secularism. Random is the Prime Mover, the source of all good. (Just look at nature.) The best kindnesses are random acts of kindness; kindness done without premeditation, without prejudice and with no expectation of return. 

I don’t know about you, but I don’t buy it. If you are a kind person, you think and plan and consult and research. My parents have come to the time in their lives where they need help. I went with them to their prayer meeting last night. The people at their chapel watch as my parents move about. They open doors for them, move out of their way, bring them items they might need. They always think to smile and make small talk. 

When my son was a teenager, he and a friend were fooling around at a church when his friend fell into an older lady and the lady fell and broke her hip. How devastating! Understandably she and her family were angry. They blamed my son for his carelessness and blamed us as parents for raising such a thoughtless child. My son from his earliest childhood days has had a special heart for older people. He was (and probably still is) heartbroken by this tragedy that was so random. If he had been thinking carefully, he would have observed when this older lady entered the room and he would have done what he could to redirect or desist his rambunctious foolery. But because randomness was not deliberately ordered, my son was a facilitator in a random act of tragedy.  

When I was in college, I did yard work for a lady when I pulled a weed from her garden that pulled up a hornets’ nest. Suddenly I was stung all over and every sting was excruciating and I thought, “What could possibly be the reason for this? It is just so random—and so painful.” If the hornets could reflect about what happened to their nest, they would have thought the same thing. 

The start of my big adventure seemed so random. From my (perhaps biased) perspective, nobody was quite so beneficial to the company as myself. Just before I was called in to the boss’ office I was looking at my pay stub online and thinking, “This company is definitely getting its money’s worth.”

But the Lord has been making good use of this time by teaching me about real trust and real sympathy. Each morning as I wake up, I do wonderful exercises in strengthening my trust muscles, muscles that had gotten way too flabby. And throughout each day the Lord shows me new mercies that are so unrandom and so kind. 

About an hour ago I learned that the corporate person who (I think) orchestrated my termination had been terminated himself. His termination did not seem random. David wrote: “They draw the sword and bend the bow to bring down the poor and the needy. But their swords will pierce their own heart and their bows will be broken.” Psalm 37:14

Then David writes: “The steps of a man are established by the Lord when he delights in His way. Though he fall, he shall not be cast headlong, for the Lord upholds his hand. I have been young, and now I am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or his children begging for bread (or for insulin, as the case might be). Psalm 37:25 & 26.

Thanks for your very helpful comments, Bruce Collins! We have already begun to see the Lord's special provision. Thanks Jan Olson, you have such a gift of mercy. I'm very privileged to be your brother-in-law, part of the Block family. John Messerly, please continue to comment, add to this random idea of mine. Stephie--my favorite cheerleader, thanks for your help with this blog 


  1. Makes me think of Boaz telling his field workers to "leave handfuls on purpose for Ruth.

  2. I thought your weed story was going to go a different direction. When my brother Jay was younger, we were weeding around our house, and marched over to where Mom and I were to show us this huge weed he had pulled. It turned out it was a hollyhock I had grown from seed that was 2 weeks from blooming. I think sometimes "random" events are easier to stomach than those with thoughtful (albeit ignorant) action behind them - if a deer had eaten it, I wouldn't have been as upset.
    -John M