Yesterday, I sat at my desk going over paperwork, estimates and emails. It was morning and I had just read a particularly frustrating email from someone who has no clue what he is talking about, yet I suspect that as he wrote his email he did so with a sense of arrogance, despite his 4 years of experience vs. my 15 years in the industry I work in.
I called my friend Robert to talk about it. Robert says, "Dude, my brother-in-law just got into an accident, he's in critical condition at Jackson and they don't know if he's going to make it".
Perspective. Everything else falls away. The only thing that matters is a friend at a loss for words and emotion, and a broken man lying on a hospital bed hanging by a thread.
I went to the hospital just to be with my friend and spend some time with him as he struggled with what just happened to his loved one. The whole thing, as always, gets you thinking about life, death, finality, and our existence; why we're here.
Now my friend Robert is a Christian who like me, is a bit rough around the edges. But he believes. He struggles. He falls and gets back up. Still he is a child of God. Yesterday, he said twice, "That's it... tomorrow, I'm gettin' Baptized".
It always happens. Death stares you in the face, and the questions and doubts come flooding in all at once.
Recently another friend walked out of the hospital with his dad, who had almost died. As he walked out, he tells me saw another son, who would not walk out of the hospital with his dad. The son held his head in his hand, saying "I won't have my dad anymore."
Perspective. While these are somber moments of reflection and questions, I find it sadder still that it takes these moments to make us ask these questions. The rest of the time, most people just walk around in a semi-catatonic state (called life), thinking that these questions are just too complex and "heady" to be thinking about.
My faith does not ask me to "just believe". My faith asks me to think; to love my God with all my heart, soul and mind. My faith asks me to analyze & reflect -- constantly; to be vigilant always.
Some think I take my faith too seriously. I think some people take their unbelief too seriously.
A few months ago, a guy who was working on my house told me how his brother goes to church every Sunday, but he on the other hand does not. He held his brow very high as he said this. He went on to tell me that it wasn't because he didn't want to go, it's just that he "doesn't really think about that stuff". I didn't tell him he should go to church, or repent of his sin of unbelief, or that his brother is a better person than him. NONE OF THESE ARE TRUE. I simply told him that one day, God would bring him to a place where he would have to think about that stuff, and that just because he doesn't think about that stuff, the stuff is still there, waiting for him to think about it.
He was confused. So was I.
I know I say this a lot, but I'm so glad my faith is not about going to church on Sunday, being a good person, repenting of sins, and being nice to people. I'm so glad it's about so much more than that. I'm glad that my faith is about God's grace, and the assurance that when faced with those questions, I can know that I have the answers. The pain is still there, but the questions and doubts are answered beyond "hey guys come on... he's a fighter and he's gonna get through this. "
"Love's as strong as death, my love. Unyielding as the grave." - Rich Mullins
PS - my friends brother-in-law is doing better. Thankfully, it appears he may come out of this one.