Just a drop, and maybe not even that - part four

Probably the most startling aspect of the concept of paradise that is articulated in the Big Rock Candy Mountains are these lines:

There ain't no short-handled shovels,
No axes, saws nor picks,
I'm bound to stay
Where you sleep all day,
Where they hung the jerk
That invented work
In the Big Rock Candy Mountains

I guess it is rather strange to think that someone would want to work in paradise so I understand the misguided attempt to frame a perfect state as something that would include it. But, a close reading of the Bible shows that after God created man he gave him a job to do: to take care of the Garden that he put him in (Genesis 2:15). So, before sin, there was work. Now much of work has indeed turned to toil after the fall detailed in Genesis 3 so toil will be no more once sin has been removed from the earth. But work? Oh I rather think that I will be working in heaven. And this big heaven will provide a sweet work that will satisfy me and cause me to worship God more fully and perfectly.

In looking over the song I also see that everything that this candy paradise has can be, in one form or another, considered something pleasant. Barring the fact that too much smoking or alcohol consumption is bad for you especially after the introduction of the sedentary lifestyle (that would follow closely on the heels of hanging the jerk that invented work), there are a lot of pleasantries that one would find in the Big Rock Candy Mountains. Yet, I know from the Bible and from thinking about my life thus far, not all of God's gifts are pleasant. In fact, there are some of them that I have a tendency to flat out reject.

In a previous post I mentioned that all of God's gifts are a perfect 10 out of a scale of 1 to 10. What I could not say is that all of God's gifts make my life more pleasant and easier (in the short or medium term at least). But, what they all do, is make me more like Christ. Now, God could be putting me trough a wringer of sorts to make someone else's life more bearable. For example, if I was falling into a pattern where I was being more critical of someone than I ought to be he could make me the subject of harsh criticism to wake me up a bit to that fact. This is really what Hebrews 12:5-11 is all about. I did not, at the time, consider the discipline that my parents gave me as a gift. Looking back on it now I do. They prayed for me, expected me at church every week, showed me what a relationship with God looked like, made that relationship attractive, and trained me to discern and to do right. Their discipline stunk. 

And they saved my life.

So, too much of the Big Rock Candy Mountains would bring me "pleasant" and "peaceful" things that would lead me straight into drunkenness, gluttony, sloth, and self-centeredness. What would my relationships look like there? What would I share or hoard? What would I degenerate into? I don't even know. What I do know is that the pleasure and pain that God has given me in this life is exactly what I need to grow into the image of Christ. And it looks like the Big Rock Candy Mountains for about 30 minutes a week. And that is about all I can take of it. I am thankful that he dares not give me more.

For I would be nothing like him if he did.


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