By no means do I have all the answers. Sometimes I get so swallowed up in loneliness and my bed seems my only friend. Sometimes I feel used and hurt and even manipulated. Sometimes I wonder if God is there, and if He is, I wonder if He’s listening. Sometimes, my beliefs seem far from everything that I am, and sometimes I cling to them as if they are all that I am. I long to live life with joy, yet at every turn I find sorrow. The romantic ideas of “living” seem so far from the life that I lead. Deleted emails speak of children living life in a carefree way that adults forget about, famous sayings tell us to “stop and smell the roses”, and people often speak of having a life, but rarely ever living. This elusive ideal – “living” - makes me say “yeah, that’s what I want” but then a minute later I am in a bustle of activity that I don’t want to be doing, but it seems that there are no other options. I find that I get tired of activity and long for the next stage of my life, as I’m rolled through the mundane bustle of everyday activity. I get tired of other people complaining at how much they have to do. Many people say, “Life sucks, but you just have to learn to live with it.” I’m sorry, but I can’t live with that. I often wonder, what these people are going through that I’m not. Granted, my life is good. But I still cannot imagine circumstances in which I would proclaim that this life is so bad, and there’s nothing I can do about it.
I am amazed at the difference perspective makes. I am convinced that even through sorrow and despair, that life can still be good. That there can be joy and hopefully at the end of life, it will have been a life well lived.
My grandmother was just diagnosed with a very aggressive form of cancer. She is one of the most amazing women I know. Anyone who has met her cannot leave without being touched by her wisdom and love. But her feistiness and spunkiness have also lent to the wonderful life that she has lead; one that has been full of laughter and sorrow, but is ending in great peace.
I can’t imagine that’s she’s not scared. And it hurts me to think that she is. But when I talk to her, while I sob on one end, she speaks with comfort to me, full of peace and strength, and not least of all, hope.
Who am I to try to reconcile the idea of a loving and good God with the fact that there is pain, and hurt, and even injustice in the world today? I have only lived a relatively short life so far. I have only a little knowledge and even less wisdom. I fail in most of my attempts at self-discipline. (But there is one thing I know, and that I base my entire beliefs upon, indeed, even my very life. And that is that God is good.)
Good does not seem to capture the hugeness and vastness of God. It does not seem to describe his infinite knowledge, his perfect capacity for love or even his mercy. But maybe our definition of good is too small. David says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good.”
Sometimes this is easy. We are so in love with God that it is almost as if we are tasting His goodness. Life, although it is in no way perfect, is easier somehow. God is in control and His presence is near and sweet.
However, times like this are rare and it seems the older I get and the more people I come across, these times are only what children feel as they live their carefree lives. We even look at them enviously sometimes, longing for our childhood, when life was good and God was so clear.
But then, if God is good, and life is a gift from Him, then shouldn’t life be good too? Why, then, do we so often feel that it is not? How can we live this life to the fullest and at the end of it, look back with an overwhelming peace, realizing that we did indeed really live?
Philip Yancey asked some of his respected Christian friends the following question: “If a seeking person came to you and asked how your life as a Christian differs from hers as a moral non-Christian, what would you tell her?” As I read through their answers, I began to wonder what I would say. “I feel so unqualified to answer this question. I have seen so little of life and have dealt with only a small amount of pain. Because of this (and hopefully in spite of this), I am tempted to say that with God there is joy. This I believe, however, it is something of which I cannot always personally attest. So, what I would say is that with God there is life, in all senses of the word. Without God, there is no life at all. He breathes it into all His creatures and without Him, there is none. But It goes deeper than that. He promises life to the fullest. In Him, we find satisfaction, fulfillment, and a sense of our own identity. Yes, there are some longings that this world cannot satisfy, but with God, we can enjoy the fullness that life with God can bring.”
There are no answers here. I can only pray that my faith will increase as much as and more so than the trials in life.