Saturday, July 18, 2015

What Do We Make of the Frailty of Life?

Life is so short, so fragile. We can pretend it isn’t, but then some tragedy strikes to confront us with how little control we really have. Then you can start to think about how vast the universe is, and how long it has been, and how long it will go on without you, and you feel overwhelmed. Broken. Worthless.

If there is no God, this is a desperate situation. We get a few years, in which we make no difference, leave no mark, enjoy very few things (finding fulfillment in none), and are eventually forced to give it all up when our bodies cease to function. All of this, with a mind that tells us there has to be more.

But fortunately, there is. As C.S. Lewis pointed out, every need has an end: water for the thirsty, food for the hungry, sleep for the tired. If we have a desire for something beyond the physical world, something eternal, it stands to reason there is something there to desire.

The wonder of Christianity is that the something desires us, as well. And the something is therefore a someone, a person who can think and feel. That is God, the One who made us so we could be with Him. We mess that up with the way we pretend we are the end-all and be-all. But even so, He still wants us so much that He made a way for us to be reunited. Jesus’ blood wipes away our pretentions to be in control. His death and resurrection make it so we can approach God, if we admit our limitations.

As a Christian, I do not have to pretend to be so great. I can admit life is short and full of struggle. But I don’t have to do so in despair. The value in life comes not in what I can do, but in who I am in God’s love. God is there for us, as the resurrection of Jesus so supremely proves. He is there beyond our limits. When our strength fails, when our ignorance is proven, when our time runs out, we can rest in His arms and know that He will hold us forever.

That is what He wants from us. He desires us, and that we should desire Him. And when we do, we do not have to be afraid. We can face the realities of life because we do not have to overcome them. Jesus has already done that for us (John 16:33). All we need to do is lean on Him.

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