By Rev. Floyd Alcantara
(The Rev. Floyd Alcantara was still the chaplain of the Kapatiran-Kaunlaran Foundation Inc. [KKFI] when he wrote this piece. At the start of the new conference year this June, he assumed his new assignment as the youth pastor at the Knox United Methodist Church in Manila. He served the KKFI for two fruitful years.)
Have you watched the movie Notting Hill? It is one of my favorite romantic movies. It is about a popular actress who fell in love with an ordinary guy.
However, I will not talk about romance. Instead, I will discuss an unforgettable scene, which I call the “Last Brownie” scene: The movie’s characters were eating brownies for dessert, and then came to the last brownie. They decided to play a game where the one who could tell the unhappiest story about his or her life can take the last brownie.
One person talked about his career and miserable life, while a woman talked about her appearance that causes her to have a low self-worth. Another person, talked about her sickness. Another person told them of his failed marriages. Then Julia Roberts, who played the famous actress in the movie, told them about the loneliness and stress she endured as a celebrity.
Everyone was surprised!
The point is we all have problems. We all go tough times. No one is exempted. I, too, went through and am now going through difficult times myself. I believe you also have a sad story to share in an attempt to win that last brownie. Of all the stories we have, who then deserve the last brownie?
Let me introduce Job of the Bible. Job probably was unluckiest person. Here are his misfortunes:
- His servants were killed and all his donkeys and oxen were stolen
- His sheep and shepherds were killed by a lightning
- A tornado killed all his children
- And then sickness of a painful and ugly-looking sores from head to foot
Amid his agony, his wife told him to “curse God and then die!” However, Job’s response was surprising as well as remarkably brave: “Shall we, indeed, accept good from God, and shall we not accept trouble?”
In other words, Job is saying: “We take good days from God—why not also bad days?” However, I like the good news translation better, “When God sends us something Good, and we welcome it. How can we complain when he sends us trouble?” Even in all this suffering Job said nothing against God.
Job’s gave a powerful declaration. His declaration tells us that life is not full of good things. That in life, there is the reality of good days and there are bad days. Similar to familiar words like, “Not every day is your birthday.” On the other hand, “It’s not Christmas all the time.” In addition, there is what we call “The Wheel of Life,” sometimes you are up and sometimes you are down.
That is life. We should accept that fact of life. Expect it. Accept it.
Problems in life are a reality. We cannot escape from a reality. Moreover, we hold to that comfort that, yes, soon all of these will pass.
The question is, “How do we receive or accept problems in life?” Do we receive them well? Do we question God and then turn against God? Do we nurture bitterness so much that we would want others to feel and experience the problems that we have experienced?
Did you know? If there is one person who suffered so much. It is not Job, who, by all measures, deserved that last brownie. But the last brownie should go to Jesus. He suffered so much for all of us when we suffered and took the shame and pain on the cross of Calvary. Yet he has overcome.
And that last brownie? No, he did not eat it for his own pleasure. He gave it to us.