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Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit


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Louis Riel and Nicholas Flood Davin

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

            Davin and Riel were perhaps our most famous Western Canadian pioneers.  Louis Riel called for the creation of a new Canadian province. Nicholas Flood Davin called for the hanging of Louis Riel.  “Riel is not a hero,”[1] said Davin. “…If Riel is not hanged, then capital punishment should be abolished.”[2] Both died tragically, Riel on the end of a noose, Davin by his own hands.

            Born in Kilfinane, Ireland, Davin served as a journalist in the Franco-Prussian war, seeing bodies piled six-deep.[3] Reporters in those days were often arrested as spies, being required by the governments to print false information in order to throw off the enemy. This is one of the reasons why reporters in England were not given bylines, so as to protect the freedom of the press.[4]  Davin then became the editor of the new Belfast Times, but was dismissed after being so drunk that he reused his previous article from the Sheffield Times. Davin was so offended that he sued them for wrongful dismissal, demanding 5,000 pounds and being awarded only 50 pounds by the courts.[5]

            Being a keen observer of social interactions, Davin surprisingly commented that ‘the pulpit occupied almost the whole ground occupied by the newspaper today…The Editor has superseded the preacher.”[6]  After being commissioned by Prime Minister John A MacDonald to study the American residential schools, Davin the future federal MP wrote the infamous confidential Davin Report which resulted in our First Nations being subjected to the Residential School tragedy.[7]  The indigenous people already went to day-schools run by various churches, but Davin was not satisfied, racistly saying “The child, again, who goes to a day school learns little, and what little he learns is soon forgotten, while his tastes are fashioned at home, and his inherited aversion to toil is in no way combated.”[8]  Sadly both the Canadian government and the Canadian churches uncritically accepted the Davin Report claim that “it was found that the day-school did not work, because the influence of the wigwam was stronger than the influence of the school. (p. 1)”

By hastily imitating the apparent success of the American native residential schools, great and lasting harm was done. The Davin Report patronizingly said: “The experience of the United States is the same as our own as far as the adult Indian is concerned. Little can be done with him. He can be taught to do a little at farming, and at stock-raising, and to dress in a more civilized manner, but that is all.”[9] The Davin Report is ground zero to the deep wound that we inflicted on the First Nations.  With Prime Minister Harper’s apology two years ago, our First Nations have only begun to recover from decades of residential school-inflicted trauma.[10] The impressive new ‘People of the Inlet’ film by the local Tsleil Waututh First Nation shows what great courage people like the late Chief Dan George showed in rebuilding his devastated people.

           After serving as a reporter in Toronto, Davin became editor in 1883 of the brand-new Regina Leader newspaper.[11] My great-grandmother Mary Anderton McLean, after taking journalism at a  women’s college in Kirkland Ontario, served as one of Davin’s reporters covering the Louis Riel crisis.  My late Uncle Don Allen, who was passionate about history, often told us about this period, noting how sympathetic his grandmother was to Riel’s plight. Davin carried on the British tradition of not listing as a byline the names of the reporters who wrote for the Regina Leader.  This was helpful for my great-grandmother Mary in protecting her from arrest by the RCMP when she snuck in disguised as a Roman Catholic priest confessor to obtain an interview with Louis Riel. Mary McLean quotes Davin “the officer in command of the LEADER (saying) ‘An interview must be had with Riel if you have to outwit the whole police force of the North-West’.”[12]  Because Davin protected her anonymity, some writers like CB Koester and his fellow playwright Ken Mitchell have popularized the myth that Davin himself disguised himself as that priest.[13]  While waiting for my throat operation in May 1982, I spent a week with my late Uncle Don Allen who carefully explained to me about his grandmother’s interview with Louis Riel.  “When I first saw you on the trial, I loved you” was said by Riel to Mary McLean, not to the man Davin who was calling for his hanging.[14]

           The November 19th 1885 edition of the Regina Leader could not be clearer  that Davin himself was not the reporter who was disguised as a Roman Catholic priest. Instead Davin is described several times by the reporter as the proprietor and the editor in chief, both terms prominently displayed by Davin’s name in editions of the Regina Leader.[15]  Mary McLean also writes in the article about another female reporter (code-named Saphronica) who earlier failed to get entrance, most likely referring to Kate Simpson-Hayes, Davin’s mistress.[16]

           This confusing of Mary McLean’s Riel interview with Davin forced CB Koester to ‘contort himself into knots’ suggesting that for Davin, there was two Riels, one the rebel who Davin wanted to hang, and another Riel to whom Davin was compassionate.[17]  Such verbal gymnastics were entirely unnecessary if one simply acknowledge that it was the female reporter, not the male editor-in-chief/proprietor, who did Riel’s final interview.

           After having two children with Davin, his mistress Kate Simpson-Hayes gave the children away and became a reporter in Winnipeg.[18]  When Davin then married Eliza Reid, he brought his six-year-old son Henry to live with him as a ‘nephew’, but was unable to locate his daughter.[19]  In Davin and Kate’s final argument over the daughter, Kate said to him: “You go your way. I’ll go mine”, symbolically pointing to the Winnipeg Free Press building.[20]  Davin was so crushed that he bought a gun and shot himself on Oct 18th 1901 at the Winnipeg Clarendon Hotel.[21]

           The tragic ending to the lives of both Riel and Davin reminds us that our Canadian history has much pain and trauma which can only be resolved through reconciliation and forgiveness.  May the Prince of Peace bring deep restoration to the painful wounds left by Canada’s residential school tragedy.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-an article previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

-Award-winning author of Battle for the Soul of Canada (which includes five pages on Louis Riel and Mary MacFadyen McLean).

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.  Dr. JI Packer wrote the foreword, saying “I heartily commend what he has written.” The book focuses on strengthening a new generation of healthy leaders. Drawing on examples from Titus’ healthy leadership in the pirate island of Crete, it shows how we can embrace a holistically healthy life.

In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ED HIRD, 102 – 15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC, V4A 0A5. For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.


[1] CB Koester, Mr Davin, M.P.: a Biography of Nicholas Flood Davin, Western Producer Prairie Books, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, 1980, p. 64

[2] Koester, p. 65, quoting the Daily Regina Leader, “Riel Agitation”, August 15th 1885

[3] Koester, p. 2, p.13

[4] Koester, p.11 “Neither of these appointments (by Davin to the Irish Times and the London Standard) can be substantiated by external evidence…it was the accepted practice for the newspapers to preserve their correspondents in dignified anonymity.”

[5] Koester, p. 16, Davin sued them for wrongful dismissal and settled for six weeks salary…He vented his anger in a letter to the News-Letter editor.  Clarke, Davin’s former boss, brought a libel suit against Henderson of the News-Letter for 5000 pounds, given 50 pounds by court. Davin left unemployed at almost age 33, with his pride severely wounded.

[6] Koester, p. 31 Davin comments “No one can read the sermons of Chrysostom or Hugh Latimer, or follow the life and times of John Knox, without seeing that each of these divines was the journalist of his day.  The pulpit occupied, in addition to its legitmate sphere, almost the whole ground occupied by the newspaper today…All business of life was the preacher’s domain.”

[7] http://www.canadianshakespeares.ca/a_grit.cfm “Davin also authored the invidious (and confidential) Davin Report of 1879, a study of the way in which Americans socialized young Natives in residential schools ( see http://www.turtleisland.org/resources/resources001.htm and http://www.irsr-rqpi.gc.ca/english/) . The study paved the way for Canada’s scandalously racist policies towards Native youth and their mistreatment in the Canadian Residential School system, which effectively destroyed familial relations by virtually kidnapping children to be socialized into so-called civil society, a policy that led to generations of cultural damage to First Nations peoples throughout Canada.” To read first-hand the tragic Davin Report, click on The Davin Report .

[8] http://www.canadianshakespeares.ca/a_grit.cfm “The report, archived in its entirety in the CASP Essays and Documents section, takes note of the American policy of “aggressive civilization” towards its indigenous populations, a policy implemented by the hypocritically named “Peace Commission” (after a law passed by Congress in 1869), which sought to abolish “tribal relation[s]” and to do away with communal lands while consolidating Native populations “on few reservations.”

[9] In rushing into starting native residential schools, Davin disregarded advice not only from the local Catholic hierarchy, but also from the Anglican Bishops and Metis elders. They also said ‘no’.  Davin’s exploration in the USA of the allegedly successful American Carlisle School with Carl Shurz and Pratt lasted less than 72 hours before he went back by train to Winnipeg.  http://www.turtleisland.org/resources/resources001.htm

[10] 39th PARLIAMENT, 2nd SESSION, EDITED HANSARD • NUMBER 110, CONTENTS, Wednesday, June 11, 2008  http://bit.ly/hK0C4T ; http://www.ainc-inac.gc.ca/ai/rqpi/apo/pmsh-eng.asp (video of apology)

[11] Koester, p. 55; p. 58 “On  September 24th 1885, he was appointed a Justice of the Peace, and on January 11th 1886, he became an advocate of the North-West Territories.”

[12] Mary MacFadyen McLean, Louis Riel’s Parting Messages to Humanity, “INTERVIEW WITH RIEL” Regina Leader Newspaper, Saskatchewan, Nov 19th 1885 ), http://bit.ly/eitTWy ; Rev. Ed Hird, Battle for the Soul of Canada, 2006, p. 106; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regina_Leader-Post

“(…)The Leader merged with another paper, the Regina Evening Post, and continued to publish daily editions of both before consolidating them under the title The Leader-Post. Other newspapers absorbed in due course by the L-P include the Regina Daily Star and The Province.” (note from Ed: Mary appeared to have also worked for the Regina Star before it was absorbed by the Regina Leader-Post); The interview published in the Nov 19th 1885 Regina Leader took place some time during the week preceding Riel’s execution on Monday, Nov 16th 1885.  In ‘Execution of Riel’, Saskatchewan Herald (Battleford), Nov 23rd 1885, it is reported that the Nov 19th Regina Leader interview was held two days before the execution. (This corresponds with Louis Riel’s death on Nov 14th 1885)

[13] Koester, p. 65, p. 215; Davin the Politician, a play by Ken Mitchell, NeWest Press, Edmonton,1979, p. 7 “After smuggling himself into the condemned man’s cell dressed as a priest – a most enterprising journalistic exercise – Davin wrote of Riel as a man of ‘genius manque’ who, had he been gifted with a finer sense of judgement, might have done much for his people and for the West.  On the other hand, Davin had no sympathy whatsoever with those who advocated the commutation of Riel’s sentence…” (note: CB Koester wrote this foreword to the play); Mitchell, p. 37 (excerpt from the play) “Davin puts on a dark black coat and a cross. He holds up a Bible to Saunders. Davin: Je suis Pere Andrew. L’ancien confesseur. Oui?  “If I do return, we will have the interview of the century.”; Mitchell, p. 38-39 (another excerpt from the play): “Davin appears in the robe and hat, but with the addition of a false beard and a large silver crucifix…Riel: (clasping his hand): Your name is Davin!”;  Mitchell, p. 42 (excerpt from the play: the final imaginary conversation as if Davin the proprietor/editor-in-chief had been the disguised ‘priest’) “Kate (to Davin): ‘The whole town can talk of nothing but your interview. The Mounties are probably on their way to arrest you.’  Davin: Let ‘em come!”

[14] Regina Leader, Nov 19th 1885, http://bit.ly/eitTWy

[15] Regina Leader, Nov 19th 1885, http://bit.ly/eitTWy ; In the March 31st 1885 Regina Leader Newspaper, the heading is ‘The Leader, then below it NICHOLAS FLOOD DAVIN, Editor-in-Chief’. http://bit.ly/eUhMU3  In the heading of the Thursday August 6th 1885 Leader newspaper (and every other date of which I have a zeroxed copy), it says “Nicholas Flood Davin, Proprietor and Editor”.  http://bit.ly/gZvuBp The evidence is clear that Nicholas Flood Davin, being the proprietor, editor, and Editor-in-Chief, could not be the very reporter whom he commissioned to get the interview.

[16] Regina Leader, Nov 19th 1885, http://bit.ly/eitTWy ; As to why Kate Simpson-Hayes (a.k.a Mary Markwell) was code-named as Saphronica, it is quite likely a reflection of both Kate and Davin’s common involvement in plays like those by Shakespeare.

[17] Koester, p. 66 “Yet for Davin there were two Riels: the one, the rebel, the cause of death and anguish to white and Metis alike, he had condemned in the strongest language; for the other, the strange man who was the victim of his own undisciplined imagination, he felt compassion.”  (quoting the Nov 18th interview as if it was done by Davin).

[18] Koester, p.122 “Davin was now in his fifties, and Kate was some fifteen years younger….Consequently the daughter (born Jan 11th 1892) was placed with a private nurse and when this proved unsatisfactory, given over to the care of nuns in a Roman Catholic orphanage at Saint Boniface, Manitoba.

[19] Koester, p. 129 “On July 25th 1895, he married Eliza Jane Reid of Ottawa…shortly after the marriage, Mr Davin’s six-year old ‘nephew’ Henry Arthur entered the Davin household.  …Davin’s daughter could not be found.”

[20] Koester, p. 207

[21] Davin the Politician, a play by Ken Mitchell, NeWest Press, Edmonton, 1979, p. 11


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TAPS for 9/11: Life after Death

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

On Sept 11th 2011, many remembered the 9/11 tragedy ten years ago, and wondering about what lies ahead.  9/11 strikes home for me, because my parents were having lunch on top of the World Trade Tower just two days before the planes struck.

In reflecting on 9/11,  I was struck by the appropriateness of the bugle song Taps.

“Day is done, gone the sun

From the lake, from the hills, from the sky

All is well, safely rest;

God is nigh.”

What gives us hope as we remember the heartache of 9/11?  Our past is gone, never to be retrieved again, except in our memories.  But we can safely rest, for God is nigh.  In the uncertainty of the unfolding future, we can say ‘It is well with my soul’ for God is nigh.  In the pain of grief, tragedy, and unexpected suffering, we can say that there is hope, because God is nigh.

The bugle call was written in 1862 by the Union Army Brigadier General Daniel Butterfield, an American Civil War general.

Taps also replaced “Tattoo”, the French bugle call for “lights out.” Within months, Taps was used by both Union and Confederate forces.

The Taps bugler continues:

“Then goodnight, peaceful night;

Till the light of the dawn shineth bright.

God is near, do not fear,

Friend, goodnight.

Taps is a very sad bugle song. Few songs touch our hearts more deeply. That is why it is so appropriate at military funerals.  At the 1999 Taps Arlington Ceremony, Chaplain Colonel Brogan said the following:

“Lord of our lives, our hope in death, we cannot listen to Taps without our souls stirring.  Its plaintive notes are a prayer in music–of hope, of peace, of grief, of rest…  Prepare us too, Lord, for our final bugle call when you summon us home!  When the trumpet of the Lord shall sound and death will be no more.”

At the heart of Taps is an assurance that the light of the dawn will shine brightly.  Light is always stronger than darkness.  Love is stronger than hate.  Life is stronger than death.

Taps reminds us that there is life after death.  Sometimes we experience smaller deaths like the death of a job, a marriage, or a relationship. Other times we experience the finality of a loved one’s funeral.  Taps reminds us that even in great pain and tragedy like 9/11, “God is near, do not fear’.

 Life can be very hard, sometimes heart-breaking.  May you find great comfort that there is life after every kind of death.  Jesus on the cross assured that.  God is near.

 

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

– previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

-award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, #102-15168 19th Ave, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #102-15168 19th Ave, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5.

For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


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Curse God and Die

By the Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

There is a time in every life, comments Stephen Lawson, when all hell breaks loose.  Suddenly.  Unexpectedly.  Cataclysmically.  All hell breaks loose.  One day, life is sunny. Calm. Clear. Predictable.  Your job is secure. Your children behave. Your health is good.  Then out of the blue, like a violent, angry thunderstorm blowing across your landscape, tragedy strikes.  You’re hit hard.  All hell breaks loose.

 

Why do bad things happen to good people?  Why does tragedy strike those who love God the most?  Why do the good die young?   One of the most famous sufferers on Planet Earth asked all these questions.  He suffered so deeply that his wife couldn’t stand it anymore.  She said to her husband Job: “Curse God and die”.  In other words, get it over with.  It’s no use.  There is no future.  You could almost see Job’s wife as the first Euthanasia advocate.  Yet rather than choosing suicide, Job clung tenaciously to life.  Often human tragedies like the loss of career, family, or home leads to an even greater tragedy – the denial of any meaning to life.  This was the great temptation that faced Job, and that faces each of us at least once every 18 months on average.

Job went through horrendous suffering for 42 chapters, and yet he never once gave up.  He was tormented by insults from his friends, harrassed by their insensitive advice and browbeaten into admitting wrongdoing that he never committed.  Under attack, Job groaned, he wailed, he doubted and fell into deep depression, he lashed out like an infuriated animal….but he never cursed God.  No matter how discouraged he was, he clung to his integrity.  He never gave up his rock-bed conviction that he was not to blame for his terrible illness.  Thousands of years later, we modern, scientifically-sophisticated people are still often blaming people when they become sick.  Even in 1997, we can too easily be just like Job’s three comforters who just made their friend feel worse.  “Oh, you’re sick in hospital with cancer…Obviously you are not thinking enough positive mental thoughts, or jogging enough, or eating enough granola.”  One way or another, we can slip into psychosomatically blaming others for their illnesses.

Job was covered from head to toe with putrid boils that never stopped itching.  His feverish body hung limp on its frame, his eyes sank back into his head, and his ribs protruded from his skin.  Job’s three friends lacked the courage to feel Job’s pain, and respond rather than just react.  Job didn’t need a lecture from his three friends; he needed love.  He didn’t need a sermon;  he needed sympathy.  He didn’t need criticism; he needed comfort.  When we are struck down by tragedy, we need to know that our friends really care.  And we need to know that God cares, God really listens, and God will never leave us.

Why is it that so many famous writers, poets, philosophers, and scientists have turned time and again to the book of Job?  Perhaps because it easily takes its place among the masterpieces of the world’s literature.  The author of Job was a poet of rare genius who powerfully expressed our deepest feelings and thoughts.  Sooner or later, we all identify with Job because suffering is part and parcel of life.  We are bonded to Job through our common experience of pain.  Many reject God, but no one rejects Job.  Simply by suffering so greatly and hanging on for dear life through it all, Job has won our hearts.

As Stephen Lawson puts it, heaven is often silent.  In such times, the only answer God gives is a deeper revelation of Himself.  We learn that He is the answer we seek.  Ultimately we must not trust a plan, but a Person.  There is something about our questioning minds that longs for answers.  If we only knew, we reason, we could handle our pain.  Yet placing God’s infinite wisdom into our finite brains would be like trying to pour the Atlantic Ocean into a Dixie Cup.  It just wouldn’t fit.  It’s too vast and deep.

Job’s faith wavered.  He mourned.  He cried.  He protested.  He questioned.  He even cursed the day of his birth.  But he never cursed God.  In the face of adversity, he remained firm in his only hope – God.  When our world falls apart unexpectedly, we must  not dwell on why but on who.  Only God’s disclosure of Himself is powerful enough to heal the heart and relieve the pain.

Job in his sufferings, said Mike Mason, resembled Jesus on the cross.  The only person who has ever endured more than Job was Jesus of Nazareth. We do not need to have nails driven into our hands and feet to know what a cross is.  A cross is a cross.  To be crushed is to be crushed, and we all have had a taste of this.  Job in his suffering was looking for what could only be found in a manger, on a cross, in an empty tomb.  The key to Job’s sufferings, and indeed to life itself, is the cross.  Jesus did not rise above suffering; he went through it.  Jesus let himself be captured by soldiers, tried by legalists and bureaucrats, condemned by a mob, scourged by mockers, and finally pinned and exhibited like a specimen insect… No amount of suffering could shake either Jesus or Job from their rock-bottom clinging to God.  Though he slay me, said Job, yet will I trust in Him.  We can either curse God and die, or bless God and live.  May we choose Life today that we and our children may live.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird, BSW, MDiv, DMin

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier/North Shore News

 -award-winning author of the book Battle for the Soul of Canada

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form.

. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook. It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5.

For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca 


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Why Me? – When bad things happen to good people

By the Rev. Dr. Ed HirdJob picture

Have you ever heard of someone described as having the patience of Job? The person referred to is often either the long suffering wife of an alcoholic or the mother of a large family of nonstop high energy boys. Job, of course, is the most world famous sufferer of inexplicable illness.

Do you know when I have most needed the patience of Job? In 1980, I lost my voice for 18 months. That was a very painful time. But in a strange way, almost equally painful are the times when our car breaks down. I feel very attached to our Chevy Minivan, and whenever it breaks down, I feel personally insulted (can anyone reading this relate??). I’m a very ‘up” person, but one of the few times that I feel depressed (usually for about an hour) is when our car becomes unfaithful.

It’s times like that, when I start to really appreciate Job. Like Job, I ask: ‘Why me??” I mean, couldn’t my car break down at a more convenient time? Have you ever noticed how much car Mechanics resemble doctors? You go to them for One problem, and invariably they find two others. I tell you, it’s enough to drive you to God.

Epic Poetry

job2The book of Job is a powerful and challenging 42 chapter long poem. it is a true poem, but a poem none the less. Job is a heartfelt poem about the mystery of evil and suffering. This mystery is something that all of us will struggle with, sooner or later.

Regardless of whether we go to church or not, whether we are religious or not, whether we believe in God or not, all of us either have been or will be personally faced with this mystery. There is a best selling book by Rabbi Harold Kushner entitled: ‘When Bad Things Happen To Good People’. That best seller reminds us that sooner or later a tragedy will land at our doorstep, and life will feel very unfair.

Studies show that most of us go through some type of crisis once In every 18 months. When serious illness, like cancer, strikes our family, our whole world may feel turned upside down. Why me??’ … Why them ??”, we may say.

Sometimes in those situations, God may seemjob's friends a long way away. Job’s wife had some practical advice to her very ill husband. She said: “Curse God and die., In other words, she told him to just give up. Job, however, was a fighter. No matter how tough it got, he would never throw In the towel. Job said at one point: “Though God slay me, yet will I hope In Him.’

No matter how unfair life seemed, Job never lost his faith in his Higher Power. Job was powerless over his illness, but he knew that there was a Higher Power who had the answers to all his struggles. That is why Job said In that midst of prolonged suffering: I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth.

Job had a faith in God that not even tragedy, sickness, and death could shake. He’d lost everything  his children, his business, his fortune, his reputation, his health. He had lost everything, everything except his faith In God.

On top of all this, Job had to suffer through the well meaning, but horribly insensitive advice of his four friends. instead of listening to Job and showing that they cared, they blasted him with endless lectures. Their basic message was: “You got what you deserve. It’s your own fault. Anyone who Is sick has done It to himself. God is obviously condemning you for some secret sin. So hurry up and ‘fess up.” The 42 chapter poem made it very clear by the end that Job was not to blame for his sickness, and that we too should not blame others when they are sick.

Jesus on Cross pictureThe unfair and mysterious suffering of Job points ultimately to the unfair and mysterious suffering of Jesus on the cross. The cross shows that God can take everything that is against us and turn it to our advantage. God took Good Friday (the most evil day in history) and turned it into Easter Sunday (the most beautiful day in history).

My prayer for those reading this article is that each of us, like Job, will find the courage to keep on struggling, even when life seems unfair.

The Rev. Dr. Ed Hird

-previously published in the Deep Cove Crier

for better for worse-Click to check out our newest marriage book For Better For Worse: discovering the keys to a lasting relationship on Amazon. You can even read the first two chapters for free to see if the book speaks to you.

 

-The sequel book Restoring Health: body, mind and spirit is available online with Amazon.com in both paperback and ebook form. In Canada, Amazon.ca has the book available in paperback and ebook.

It is also posted on Amazon UK (paperback and ebook ), Amazon France (paperback and ebook), and Amazon Germany (paperback and ebook).

Restoring Health is also available online on Barnes and Noble in both paperback and Nook/ebook form.  Nook gives a sample of the book to read online.

Indigo also offers the paperback and the Kobo ebook version.  You can also obtain it through ITunes as an IBook.

To receive a signed copy within North America, just send a $20 cheque (USD/CAN) to ED HIRD, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5, Canada.

– In order to obtain a signed copy of the prequel book Battle for the Soul of Canada, please send a $18.50 cheque to ‘Ed Hird’, #102-15168 19th Avenue, Surrey, BC V4A 0A5.

For mailing the book to the USA, please send $20.00 USD.  This can also be done by PAYPAL using the e-mail ed_hird@telus.net . Be sure to list your mailing address. The Battle for the Soul of Canada e-book can be obtained for $4.99 CDN/USD.

-Click to purchase the Companion Bible Study by Jan Cox (for the Battle of the Soul of Canada) in both paperback and Kindle on Amazon.com and Amazon.ca