The Asterisks of Faith

A piece published on The Glorious Table

I was embarrassingly old when I finally realized how asterisks work. I was probably even older when I learned they’re called “asterisks,” not “that star on the keyboard.” I’m certain some well-meaning teacher taught me about that cute little mark, but for whatever reason, I missed the lesson. You know when it finally all came together? With prescription drug ads.

Sometime during my high school years, advertising laws changed so drug companies were required to list all the possible side effects of their prescription drugs as well as promote the desired result of taking their drugs. TV commercials depicted pleasant scenes, like a woman running in a field with her dog, clearly able to enjoy the blue sky above and flowers below because of her helpful prescription for allergies. Then, as the happy duo took a seat on a rock at the edge of a hillside, the woman scratched behind the dog’s ears while a kindly voice overlay said to contact a doctor if a rash-headache-earache-toe ache-blurry-vision or hives-nausea-ulcers-amnesia-hallucination-spontaneous-combustion developed.

Okay, I’m being a little extreme, but the lists can be simultaneously terrifying and hilarious.

This very same law extended to print. This is where my asterisk ignorance finally lifted. “Ah-ha!” I said. There it was, that cute little star from the keyboard, placed neatly beside the desired intent of the prescription. My eyes then traveled down to where it showed up again, now preceding the long and unwelcome list of possible negative side effects. Oh, I realized, the asterisk is all the stuff we don’t want to talk about. The stuff we would rather leave in small print at the bottom of the page. The stuff we really hope never happens, but sometimes it does.

So today we’re going to talk about one more asterisk—the one we never put in print but at times exists in our minds: God is good.*

Ouch. It was hard to even type that.

My dear brothers and sisters, sometimes, in our humanity, “God is good” doesn’t end with just a period.

Head on over to The Glorious Table to read the rest.

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