A good God is not OK with this.

One of the biggest complaints that I hear against God is this: “How could a good God be ok with the evil that happens in the world? Or more frequently it’s, “How could God let this happen to me?” Although there are many questions about God that do, this question has never given me heartache. Here’s why (I’ll give you a hint, it turns out He’s actually NOT ok with it):

God created a flawless world for us and gave us free reign of it. More than that, He gave us himself and perfect relationship with Him. We rejected the latter and as a result, we completely and entirely corrupted the former. At the moment of this first betrayal God already saw all of the evil that would happen for all of time unfolding—shootings and bombings to “smaller,” individual, daily acts of racism and hate. His grief was immense. He was, in fact, NOT “ok” with it. And from that moment, at the beginning of creation, He put a plan in place to repair, heal, and restore – both the creation and the relationship.

Before we even knew evil, God was grieving it and He was writing the redemption story.

So when people say “How could God not…” my immediate thought is “He does and that’s why He…”

I listened to a Tim Keller podcast the other day and one line struck me like an arrow to my heart: “Jesus didn’t come to bring judgment to the world, He came to bear it.” Exactly. 

Some people hear the claim that “Jesus suffered and died to save us” and it doesn’t really mean much of anything to them. What I think often goes unrecognized is that the magnitude of Jesus’s suffering wasn’t in the physical suffering. It was in the “bearing of judgment.” Jesus bore the wrath and grief of God toward all evil (including the events of this week). That, my friends, is how NOT ok God is with evil. That was His own son, if you remember. The magnitude of his death wasn’t actually in the death itself either – but rather the fact that he LITERALLY raised himself from the dead in an act of utter defeat of death and evil.

My church often reminds us that Jesus’ kingdom looks eerily like the world He created (go figure): People of ALL color, ALL nations, ALL races, ALL genders, ALL ages. The idea of any one group holding more value in His kingdom than another is preposterous, and so should the idea be to us, even here. Jesus is the great equalizer. We are all equal before Him; equally sinful, equally loved, equally covered by the blood.

Whenever one of these evil tragedies that we’ve become so accustomed to takes place, I find myself reading and reading and reading people’s responses to it. I want so badly to know how people are hurting so I can try to hurt with them. I think I am also searching desperately for hope in their conclusions. But at the end of the day the only place I find even the faintest comfort is at the feet of Jesus where I can confidently say:

“THIS SUCKS. This hurts. This is the deepest kind of wrong. My friends are hurting. My country is hurting. Our world is SERIOUSLY HURTING. Don’t even get me started thinking about my kids growing up in this place…And yet, I never doubt whether you are OK with this or not. I know this hurts you even more than it hurts us. And I know that’s exactly why you came and bore the weight of all evil and death in order to redeem the world. You purchased us back from the grips of all the evil we are facing today with your precious blood.  


If you were just “OK” with evil, you’d have turned your back the moment we chose to rebel against you and washed your hands of us all. You'd have left us to our own demise. Thank you for not doing that. Thank you that even now, as we continue to rebel against you every day, you still love us. Thank you that even now, as we experience great evil right under our noses, you have already defeated it. Thank you for your perfect peace in a world torn apart by terror. Thank you for the light of eternity.”




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Clive + Rainier






Sweet "Buddy Boy",
(As your sissy likes to call you)

It took us a long time to settle on your name. A boy's name has to one day be a man's name and to give a man his "man name" is a big deal. We kinda felt liked we killed it when naming your sister Florence (no shame) and so we had a lot to live up to.

The simple story is that Mamma and Papa were lying in bed one night reading one of the best books and greatest love stories in the entire world. (If you haven't read A Severe Mercy, go pick yourself up a copy as quick as you can Prime it. Or go to a local bookstore...)

In the book there are lots of letters back and forth between the author and one of his dear friends, C.S. Lewis. If there is one author that has impacted our faith the most, it's probably Mr. C.S. So the naming of our first born son went something like this:

"Hmm, C.S. Lewis...his first name was Clive right? What about Clive? Yes, Clive is sweet. Wait, is Clive weird or is it sweet? Clive is sweet. Let's name him Clive! Clive Owen is kinda hunky too and that's who most people will think of..."

Romantic right? I wish we had a better story for you sweetie.

(Fun fact: we later discovered that Clive Staples Lewis' mother's name was Florence. Meant to be).

As for Rainier, that was a bit harder. We flirted with lots of middle names for you and then Rainier jumped into the mix. We had a similar dialogue:

"Is Rainier too weird? Is it too weird to pair it with Clive, which is already a little weird? We don't want him to have a weird name. Will people in Washington think we named him after a mountain and think it's weird? ARE we naming him after a mountain? If Mt. Rainier erupts, will we regret using the name Rainier? No, Rainier is sweet. Clive Rainier sounds killer together. Clive Rainier Nelson. Check."

So whether we named you after a mountain or we were just inspired by the name of the mountain, we'll never really know. But one thing I know is that my whole life, that mountain has been the definition of God's majesty in creation to me. So if we did name you after a mountain, that would be ok too.

Mr. Clive, we think the name fits you perfectly! And you fit us perfectly too. Love you heaps and heaps our little man.

Xo,

Yo Mamma



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No expectations


I signed in today and actually had to reorient myself with how google blogger works. That's how long it's been since I've visited this corner of my universe. I gasped when I saw the pictures of Florence in the last post and tried to remember what that little girl sounded like, smelled like, and felt like snuggled in my lap. I couldn't. I've already forgotten so much, but I'm so busy trying to climb inside her little toddler world and get to know the little lady she's becoming, that I've come to terms with the fact that stages go quickly and there is no way to bottle it up...no matter how hard you try or how many instas you gram. As my dear friend Brett likes to say, "babies don't keep." No, they don't. And speaking of...

I HAVE A NEW BABY SINCE I LAST BLOGGED. (And he's already not keeping).

In fact, I was pregnant with him for 9 months, brought him into this lovely Spring world, and have kept two kids alive for almost 4 weeks since I last blogged.

So why am I here? I'm not entirely sure except that today I had an overwhelming desire to crack this book back open and try to put some thoughts to pen again.

Honestly, I don't know whether I'll be writing every week, every month, or whether I will basically peace out after this post and write in another year and half. As the title of the post suggests, I have very few expectations of myself these days when it comes to a lot of things...and especially when it comes to this blog. But here's to taking it off the shelf and blowing off the dust at least...perhaps just to gather dust again on my coffee table (along with the pacifier, tubs of playdough, baby socks, dirty diapers, empty tea cups...)

Cheers to being back!

PS, I included an obligatory cute photo because if there is one thing I remember it's that it doesn't count as a post to ninety percent of your readers without a good still involved.




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