As I, like the narrators of his albums, work out the big questions, Springsteen’s music has been both a puzzle and provocation. Not every album was a home run, but for him, that wasn’t really the point as much as it was a true chronicle of his own questions and pursuit of better answers.
Even where evil is present, the pervasive presence of God is more powerful. There is nowhere the sheep can go where the shepherd does not go with them. The shepherd’s presence brings peace in the presence of evil.
How can we sing and believe the words “it is well with my soul” at times when it feels anything but? How can we walk through the “valley of the shadow” when it feels like another trial or loss might be the one that finally breaks us?
I sometimes dream about what it would look like if we could collectively shift from a scarcity/abundance mindset to one that recognizes enough. I don’t know how we can make that shift as a society, unless it is as a change that starts with individuals and families, slowly building to a critical mass.
If I observe that it’s sunny outside, but I know that it’s winter and I see snow on the ground, I will likely conclude that it’s cold out and put on my coat before I walk out the door. If I see my son with chocolate on his lips and cookie crumbs on the counter, I might conclude that he probably snuck a cookie from the cookie jar.
How often do we still make our God an easy god? We can manipulate the theology of calling and vocation to make it a rubber stamp on our ambitions. We can cheapen grace until the very concept of sin seems old-fashioned.