Friday, June 01, 2007

Response To A Friend...

The following paragraph is quoted in its entirety from the blog post “Wondering and Wandering.”

Sitting in the house of my Grandparents wondering if this is what they wanted. Is this what their childhood dreams were? Wanting to be cooking vegetable soup, taking naps, enjoying the sit down mower, and coming up on their 58th annerversary. I love them with out an inch of doubt but do they love their lives without their grandchildren or just love their lives because they have grandchildren to make them forget. I know my parents are unhappy... are my grandparents? College - My Uncles were the first in their family to go to college just like my Dad. My Mamma and Papa wouldv'e loved to go to college but never had the oppurtunity. If they couldve done it instead of getting married would they? Wandering around this house filled with memories and questioning the faces in all of the pictures. Are you happy? Are you more than satisfied? I don't think I will ever get those answers if I'm asking these questions. I love my family but what If I want more than marrige and kids? I don't want to get married. I don't think theres anyone whos out there and i dont want to wait if there is. What if I want life? Does someone have the answers my grandparents refuse to give.

-posted by a friend on 5/31/07

I came across this blog post today and it struck me so deeply that I dropped all that I was doing and focused all my attention on responding to the words written above which I think will resonate with almost anyone (based on the fact that they resonate so strongly with me). I am deeply thankful for the sobering candidness of such a blog post. Now here are my thoughts:

To enjoy life is part of what it is to be human. It is how God created us. Before the fall we enjoyed God, we enjoyed each other, we enjoyed ourselves, we enjoyed the world around us (or more accurately, Adam and Eve did).

[Marriage, since you brought it up several times, existed BEFORE the fall! This is key to understanding marriage. It was there in the, love, children...all of it...and God said it was good.]

Now, with that in mind, a person must face the reality that the description of the world in Genesis 1 and 2 is vastly different than what we experience today. We live a life broken by the effects of the fall (Gen 3). This means that though there are still good things in life to be enjoyed, they all fall short of what they once were and what we rightly wish them to be. We are broken, the world is broken, and the result is suffering. Yes there are times of joy and happiness, but suffering exists alongside even the greatest joys of life (childbirth is a prime example). Everything decays. Every relationship suffers: with God, with others, and even within ourselves. This is reality. This is hard.

All people acknowledge the pain, the suffering, the brokenness, if not verbally, at least in the way we live life. We run after things to numb the pain or we chase something with the expectation that it will fix all of our problems. People go to Dr. Phil because deep down we all experience that something is broken.

Often these "fixes" we seek are truly good things. Family, marriage, friendships, art, hobbies, work... None of these things are bad in themselves. The problem is that they will not bring salvation from our brokenness! (This is why you want more than just marriage and kids, soup and a “sit-down mower.”) Only the finished work of Christ on the cross will do this.

Still, even for those who have trusted Christ, a present happiness completely free of suffering is not an option...but this is not the eternal state of things. For those who put their hope in Christ to take away their true moral guilt before God and restore them to what they were created to be, for those people, there is hope. It is the believer in Christ who can honestly and with good reason say, "this is horrible...but it will not always be so." This is because redemption is not complete. We are not fully restored and in our new bodies...we groan for them, and know that our life is hidden in Christ (Col 3:3) and that what we will be has not yet been made known (1 John 3:2), but it will be when He returns. This is reality.

So how do we live in our present circumstances?

First of all it is crucial to keep in mind that as humans, we are created for a relationship with God himself, and that this is more about His glory and pleasure than ours. Thus whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God (1 Cor 10:31). This is what we were created for and therefore it is only in this context that we are able to truly enjoy ourselves, to enjoy each other, to enjoy God, and to enjoy the world He has created...ultimately to be truly human.

Then, in light of all this, don’t make your decisions solely on the criteria of whether or not something will make you happier. This will in no way bring “life” as you referred to it in opposition to marriage. Furthermore, God has made it clear that there are times when it is good or even necessary to deny ourselves valid sources of happiness for the sake something more important or eternal (see Phil. 1:29, 2:4, Mark 8:35; and in regards to marriage Matt 19:12 and 1 Cor. 7). Keep an eternal perspective and actively remind yourself of the reality that our enjoyment of anything will be broken to the extent that we and the world are broken until Christ returns and restores creation to what it was in the beginning...."good."

Finally, don’t make the opposite mistake that many “religious” people make. Do not AVOID those things that you enjoy! (1 Tim. 4:1-4) Just realize that our basis for enjoying them is not found in the things themselves but in God's original design for us and for those things. Get married if the right person is there and you wish to do so! Stay single if you wish! Go to college; go to Africa; go and enjoy life and know that this glorifies God who created you!

As for your grandparents (since their lives were the examples and the basis for the questions you brought up in your blog), they are right to enjoy their marriage, but they would not have been wrong to not marry. They are also right to enjoy their grandchildren, their soup, naps, mower, and other good things. Furthermore they are right to mourn over the pain in life, the loss of a child, the hardships of aging, and many of their unfulfilled hopes or dreams. It is also right to acknowledge their personal responsibility in every decision. To deny them any of this is to deny the truth and to deny their humanity. To deny it for your self is to do no less.


Post a Comment

<< Home