Friday, June 8, 2012

Branches Fall From Trees

If you’re not a Christian, you’ll find this really depressing, but life here on earth is full of missed chances, failures, Pyrrhic victories, testing, challenges, decay, death, destruction, rot, theft, war, disease, and it’s over in the blink of an eye.

If you are a Christian, you’ll take solace in the following: that even though all of the above is true enough, God is big enough to fill bottomless holes, His life provides meaning and context to what appears to be insanity, and you’re not stuck here. You’re a sojourner. That means your citizenship isn’t here. It’s elsewhere. Somewhere safe, let’s say.

These things were running through my mind the other night on one of my walks. Normally my time spent with God is pretty lively. There’s a lot of idea exchange going on, lots of dialogue. But not this time. This time it was quiet, and I told Him, look, you don’t have to say anything, and I’m not asking for anything. I just want to be near you. So we just hung out as I did laps around the track.

I reflected on how so many of my friends are going through fire right now, be it marriages ending or the loss of a loved one—or helping an elderly person finish with honor at the end of a long and fruitful life. Whatever the case may be, people are going through the fire right now. The economic outlook is rubbish, jobs are hard to come by, and the American family has never been under more direct frontal assault. I reflected on all that, and it distilled into the first two paragraphs of this article. For those who are not in Christ, good luck: you’ll need it. You may want to consider making up your own mind about Him rather than swallowing all the usual lies whole. For those of us who know from experience, He changes random coincidence into orderly miracles. And it happens every day.

Yeah, branches fall from trees. People sometimes get hurt. More often we hurt each other, and that’s shitty. There’s really no other way to say it, because that word fits like no other right there. I’m here to tell you that there’s more. And that’s all. And I’d like you to be encouraged.

Because in Christ, all that pain and suffering is not pointless. What we do for Jesus Christ is not in vain. It doesn’t have to be as big as a Billy Graham Crusade. It can be Mother Teresa small. It could be as simple as standing firm for your young family and scraping for yet another dead end job, because if that’s what God has provided for you in this season, He’ll also help you understand how to find joy in it. Satisfaction. Contentment. It’s not something you settle for, it’s something for which warriors contend, and the most awesome of these is the single mother. She is a fearsome thing, let me tell you.

So stand strong, all you Christian Warriors. Life here can be pointless, sure. Certainly from our limited perspective it is. Branches fall from trees, there is no warning. But from the other side, coming from where we can’t see, there’s meaning and life and love and the deepest empathy. We caterpillars, toward the end of our first lives, are drawn into the chrysalis and changed. When we emerge, though… triumphant… everything will be different. Like nothing we’ve ever imagined.