So I was having a conversation with a friend. Good conversation - deep & meaningful conversation .... about life & suffering & how God fits into all of this. We have these conversations often & they always challenge me. I enjoy it. I never have the answers & I become very aware of my questions which forces me to dig & question what I believe. It's always a frightening moment to wonder if my faith feels a little shaky at times. But I'm not afraid to ask the questions & ultimately I find that the foundation is firm.. This person asks questions about suffering in the world & how when we see all the hurting & injustice that it is hard to believe that there is a good God who is taking care of things.
I get that.
It is hard.
Things seem unfair. And I can argue that "who sets the bar for what's fair?" because we all see things from our own point of view - but that argument doesn't hold much for me when I say it outloud. My friend says that he is sure that there must be evil in the world & ultimately thinks that there must be some greater power - but he has concluded that that greater power must not have much control.
All of these questions - many of which will go unanswered forever....in this life...are fair questions.
So with my questions in hand & the challenge from another friend to read the Bible in a year - I take it to the Scriptures. I read the Scriptures as history - for that's what they are. Just as I read history books - events that I was not there to witness....but I trust that they are true. This is not a great big 'let me explain the universe & all it's workings to you" kind of entry :). That's not an entry I would ever attempt to post...but these questions are real & I like real questions that make me dig & dig & get a little uncomfortable.....so I'm thinking outloud....sort of.
So as I read the Bible & as I sit silently asking my questions...often times frustrated that things won't just get better for everyone...I hear nudgings in my heart. Almost little whispers. And guidance - words popping out at me from pages I've read before.....clarity in some ways...for now. For I know that my mind cannot ever comprehend all that God is.
I can say that I have had some hard moments in my life.....but I can't even really focus on them because they seem petty in comparison that what other people go through....but I know this, I have been an instrument in some people's lives ONLY because of those struggles. I am able to link arms with people simply because I have been down a road that hurt similar to the way it has hurt someone else. So it gives my "suffering" purpose. I don't believe that we are meant for this world but that we have a heartbeat inside of us that longs for forever. And I think that we are eternal beings. I don't believe we are promised an easy life. I believe that having more often makes things harder - but having nothing would certainly be much more painful. And there are those with nothing. And there are those with nothing that choose to cling to hope. I don't understand it but in the gospels after Jesus in baptized by John - Jesus is tempted in the desert. satan says something to the effect of "all of this is his to offer" - what? this world is his domain? Satan's domain? Freaky. But it sure makes a lot of sense out of some things.....
Because if this world is damaged, which I think we can all agree that it is, then my hope is in a greater something that I will be a part of. I believe heaven is that. Hope. And if I hope for that ... believing that I am just passing through this damaged world & that I won't stay....I hope that I would not simply acquire more & more to make myself comfortable here....but that I would focus on the future. And hope that all would know that & stand on that also.
I have this longing to go to Africa....& I've had to figure out why. I used to think I could make a difference there - but I don't think that's really why I want to go. I think I want to go because there are people with nothing - that choose to believe in the hope of more. That kind of hope must be real. So instead of feeling sorry them - I want to feed them, love them & most of all....I want to learn from them. Because that's what it's all about. The stuff of this world is temporary. But this heartbeat in me - this spirit - feels like it will certainly live forever. But here's the deal....if we feel like we have been dealt a "fine" hand in this lifetime....that all has been hunky-dorey. Then we are missing the need for more. We have become comfortable & saitsified with where we are. If we don't feel the need then I think the search for more will come to seem unnecessary. And it's not unnecessary. We have just decided that for whatever reason - we get to make that call. To say "I'm happy & I choose to not bet on the hope for more" - I don't even really understand that. If this world is corrupt - wouldn't you side with the hope for justice & peace & love? It's the most redeeming story I have ever heard & I don't get why people have such a problem with hearing about it.....but it even reads in the Bible that people will violently oppose this idea that there is a Savior from all of the pain. If you see that others are in pain - wouldn't you want to be able to tell them that there is more - to hold on because your life has a purpose & God PROMISED to make this right. Wouldn't you want to give someone that hope....rather than ......I don't know, the alternative? To believe that this is all for nothing? That seems so cynical. What is the fear in believing that there is a God & that He made things right so that if we want to - we can jump on board & have justice, peace & love forever & ever?
Are we afraid of being wrong? BEcause, maybe it's just me, but I'm ok with that. My belief is just that.....belief & faith. And I believe I'm right - or I wouldn't believe. And if I'm wrong.....well, then I lived a life with a lot of hope. I choose to believe that my life has a purpose & that everything I think & do is important for my heart, for the people around me & for the people not around me.
What do you think?