Wednesday, April 24, 2013


This too shall pass.

Though used by medieval Persian poets before her, in Jewish folklore, and Abraham Lincoln before her, this is one of the pearls of wisdom my mother instilled in me.  Although the same holds true for good times, she usually drug out this handy phase when things were not going so well.  Feeling down in the dumps about a girl?  This too shall pass.  Experiencing troubles?  This too shall pass.  Acne?  This too shall pass.
The fact is, we exist in this world for a flash of time as absurdly as a May Fly that lives for a day and dies.  Our trials will pass; our joys will pass; and ultimately we will pass.  Are you depressed about this?  That, too, shall pass one way or the other.
But right there is the joy of being a Christian.  It doesn’t matter.  We weren’t made for this world.  And when things are going well we have someone to thank and be joyful with.  When things are bad, we have someone to cry out to for help (or be angry at.)  When we need hope we have someone to Whom to look, when we are a lone we have someone to call upon, when things seem to be meaningless, we have Him to look to give even the most mundane aspects of our lives incredible and significant meaning.


If there is no God, I can only thank fate or luck, which is to say, there is consciousness to thank.  (Even if there is a person to thank, what luck they were there.)  When things are bad, there is nobody to blame but myself and no help to cry out to.  There is a gamble that things might get better, but there is no hope beyond luck, gumption, and surviving.  When life seems meaningless, it is because it is; we live, we die, and so will, ultimately, the world with nobody to remember it.  The only good in life is the pursuit of happiness which when pursued directly is not ultimately satisfactory.  (This is why you cannot joke with an atheist about death on his death bed.  There is nothing hopeful about it.)
I look at this gravestone from a local grave yard.  It is very interesting from a historical point of view.  The deceased did a lot of good and accomplished some amazing things.  If there is no God, I find this gravestone exceedingly sad.  Considering how old the universe is, in a flash this stone will disintegrate and not even the casual passerby with a camera walking his dog in the cemetery will ever even know he existed.  The only joy the man it describes experienced was the feeling of doing good with the thought that in the future someone might be happy because of his works.  He’s not even sure anybody will remember him.
But if there is a God, what incredible significance the information on the stone is!  Our efforts are not gas in the wind, but everlasting monuments even if this stone is not.  That our joy will echo in eternity.  That there is a consciousness, a Person, with Whom and in Whom we will know and celebrate after our time here is over and that these actions may lead others to share in this joy for which we were made.  Therefore picking up a used gum wrapper in the park is not a good deed that may or may not be noticed by anybody, but may stretch through eternity if it is done in love.
There are those that point to God as a crutch and a fantasy to get through the rough points of life.  I believe evidence points otherwise.  But even if it turns out to be false, having dealt with the dying who believe and of those who don’t, I would rather believe and be wrong than not believe and be right – to die in some amount of hope and joy rather than the heavy burden of passing into non-existence and meaninglessness. 

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