This I Believe
– Life is a paradox- What sets one person apart from another? What causes one human being to say that life is ordinary and often dull and another to say that life is extraordinary and full of wonder? What is the source of strength to endure great anguish and sorrow in life and still move forward with hope into the future? Living is at once both joy and suffering.
But, when suffering is great and joy seems out of reach how do we endure? This question has been a part of my existence since the death of my son at age 24. People wiser than me have said that through the death of someone beloved there will come joyous gifts. I struggle against this idea and yet I am beginning to believe and sense the outline of Someone greater than myself weaving golden threads of grace into the fabric of who I am today. I am myself and yet not myself: my whole belief system has been thrown into a tangled web.
And yet I still believe:
— Through the Cross one day all will be put right. Pain and sorrow will cease. Darkness will be made light, and our tears will be wiped away. War will be no more and the lion will lie down with the lamb. Not one human being will see himself or herself as ordinary any longer. We will see that we are and always have been unique and elegantly created- set apart from the other primates as well as from each other. We will see ourselves in the splendor of our individual value and worth to our loving Creator. The veil will fall from our eyes and we will be fully ourselves- who we were created to be in the very image of God.
Nevertheless, God does care intensely that we should fulfill our purposes. One of the highest is of course a relationship with Him. Lying within us is the ability to be more than we are if we will take Him up on His offer of relationship. Sadly, we often turn down all talk of faith in God. We offer excuses- we are afraid to probe the depths of our own souls and just settle for mere existence. We allow the fear of living to strangle us. God could have created automatons, but instead we are given the gift of free will. However, this free will comes at a price; we must make choices if we are to live life fully. We may choose God or not. This is truly freedom, and in this freedom of choice lays the impact that we may have on this world.
Life by definition is a struggle and a series of problems. How we approach life’s struggle can humble us with its mystery, or stymie us with its fear. Many people say that faith is outdated. Science can answer the deep mysteries of life. But, the very fact that we can be creating, growing people answers deeply that there is more to life for us, more we were created for, a higher calling than mere existence. If we are honest with ourselves we will acknowledge the longing we have to leave a mark on the world, rather than living without purpose or for ourselves alone.
Viktor Frankl has said that if life has meaning then suffering also has meaning. I believe that what sets one human being apart from another is the tenacity of the human spirit to endeavor to make sense of, have faith in, and press forward towards the God Who holds the world in His hands. Not fearing when pain and sorrow come, not fearing the paradox contained within our lives, but doggedly believing that the sovereign God Who holds the universe will take care of us also if only we ask.
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