(Some birthday musings I've been pondering lately, coming to you live from Houston & a hotel near M.D. Anderson Cancer Center. Caution: this one's pretty alarmingly transparent; I question God repeatedly in it. You've been warned.)
WHY, GOD, WHY??
...why was I born an American, where there were no police busting up my church's worship services yesterday?
...why was I born into a family that loved me & nurtured me & disciplined me & taught me & encouraged me & provided for me? Why did you allow me to have James E. Madaris & Sarah B. Madaris Hicks as my amazing parents?
...why was I allowed to be John & Martha Benton's grandson and Charlie & Mattie Madaris' grandson?
...why did you give me such an excellent brother who has become such a great friend?
...why did you give me such an oustanding bunch of relatives who love me & encourage me & teach me & challenge me & pray for me & guide me & love me anyway?
...why, oh why, did such a wonderful, beautiful lady fall in love with me & marry me nearly 27 years ago?
...why did you grant me two such amazing children, who are so very different and yet so very much fun to hang out with?
...why did you let me sit under the fantastic preaching of Dr. Tony Merida for four years?
...why did you give me friends from all over the planet?
...why did you redeem me by your grace, despite my many & manifest shortcomings & failures & sins & despite my rebellion against your love, both actively & passively?
...why did you allow me to grow up around the beautiful beaches of NW FL & on the Choctawhatchee Bay?
...why did you give me so many friends growing up, so many of whom are still friends today decades after I moved away from there?
...why did you put me around so many excellent friends in Gainesville, FL despite my own hammerheadedness back then?
...why did you let me attend the University of Alabama, thereby fulfilling a childhood dream?
...why did you put me under the discipling ministry of this veterinarian from Smith County, MS named Johnny Mayfield?
...why did you let me sit under the incredible Bible teaching of this pediatrician from the MS Gulf Coast named Ronnie Kent, who still teaches me & encourages me & prays for me despite my having not been in his class for nearly 20 years?
...why have you given me so many amazing friends from Temple Baptist Church where I've been a member for 21 years? And so many others from the Hattiesburg area where we've lived that same 21 years?
...why do you let me teach some *superb* folks in an adult Bible study class every Sunday morning?
...why did you let a chowderhead like me earn a Ph.D. in Financial Economics and then have some fantastic jobs, including most of all the one I have now at William Carey University, where I'm surrounded by incredible colleagues & awesome students, many of whom become friends?
...why did you let me come under the incredible medical care of Drs. Brett Robbins, Steve Conerly, Greg Owens, Nagen Bellare, & Rick Pecunia in Hattiesburg? And under the incredible medical care of Drs. Homsi & Mehran out here at M.D. Anderson?
...why am I still around three years after stage IV metastatic melanoma reared its ugly head?
...why is my prognosis for this upcoming surgery 3 days from now rather positive?
...why have you allowed me to live 52 years, despite my own foolishness in so many ways through those years?
...why do you magnify yourself through such a vastly inferior dude as myself?
...why, O why, God? Why do you love me so? Why are you so good to a wretch like me?