Mick’s Memo – Tiny Tim
Last night Betsy and I had the opportunity to watch a very elaborate production of Dickens’ A Christmas Carol in Worcester, MA proudly observing our granddaughter, Addie, portraying the youngest daughter of the Cratchit family. I confess that this fictional tale captures my attention in almost any of its multitude of forms.
Last night’s version started with after-the-fact narration by an unknown adult character and closed with the reveal of that character’s identity—the adult (no longer) Tiny Tim. It dawned on me for the first time that Scrooge and Tiny Tim were linked by their needs and the catalytic effect on one another. Scrooge’s dilemma is his enslavement to greed, bitterness, self-absorption and isolation with eternal doom on the impending horizon. Tiny Tim’s is a physical malady that is progressively taking over his body with physical death on the immediate horizon. Among the many scenes Scrooge visits in his past, present and future, it seems to me that Tiny Tim’s fate arrests his attention most. He sees the error of his past callousness toward his clerk, Bob Cratchit. He grasps the consequences to Tiny Tim if he remains locked in his disregard for the family’s fate. Tiny Tim’s innocent faith and goodness, coupled with his suffering, is instrumental in transforming the heart and eternal trajectory of the gnarly Scrooge.
But Tiny Tim is also transformed. He receives the medical care that only Scrooge could afford. The physical degeneration is arrested, and he lives well beyond the next Christmas.
One of the great questions that both dedicated believers and skeptics confront is that of suffering. Why does a loving, powerful and good God allow it? I believe Tiny Tim’s story is an example of how God can and does use suffering for good. When we see the Tiny Tim’s around us (and there are multitudes of them!), it is an opportunity to infuse our lives with a purpose beyond our own, becoming agents of God’s goodness. When we experience suffering ourselves, we can face it with faith and submission to God’s will and point others to God.
Which character best fits your circumstances? I think most of us are, like Scrooge, well-resourced but probably a bit unmoved by others’ suffering. May the Lord give us eyes to see and a heart to act. Some of us may be experiencing a stretch of suffering or even chronic suffering and wondering why. Maybe, just maybe, our expression of enduring faith can be used by God to melt hard hearts and point callous people to the opportunity for joy and eternal life.
I want to thank Steve Case and the entire cast, crew and tech team for the many hours of preparation involved in presenting Letters At Christmas last weekend.
This weekend we will explore the 2nd installment of our advent series, “What Do You Give a God Who Has Everything?”. Praise is the gift! Mary, Zacharias, the Shepherds and the angels exude praise at Jesus’ birth.
Betsy and I wish you a blessed Christmas!
Looking forward to seeing you Sunday and Christmas Eve!