Broken heart, shattered dreams, tainted vision. This threefold list is a famous tear-jerker. It’s siblings include the famous “dis” pair; namely disappointment and discouragement. You know what I am talking about. Actually, your heart knows better. You’ve heard enough of them to know that hurting words don’t break ear-drums, they break hearts. You’ve read enough of it to know that bad news doesn’t look ungrammatical on a page, it looks ugly in a heart. We know what it’s like to have a promise broken, a dream shattered and a spirit speared. Our hearts are pin cushions when it comes to pain points.
Yet, that’s life. That’s what makes living, living. That’s society’s definition of “normal”. Pain is part of the package, we’ve been told. No pain, no gain, we quote and quip. But honestly, is that true? That life is just a series of bad things punctuated by “happy” moments? Is despair our default mode? Common sense and common courtesy would urge me to answer these questions with a resounding NO, but experience has taught me better. Look at our society. We celebrate smiles. We calendar mark and calorie map our happy days. Birthdays (not all of them), promotions, Christmas (selected few) and random moments of joy. Our hearts skip a beat in our times of sudden joy. What about hours of sudden grief? Do hearts skip beats or slow down then? No. They beat the same, same rhythm, same fashion. The only thing that varies is the weight of the heart, depending on the weight of the hurt.
So, what do we do now? Do we settle for this? Is this destiny, dancing with despair? Will the rest of our lives be solely composed of making it less painful, less stressful and more bashful? Is home where our hurt is? Or is there more? Difficult questions these ones. Ugly questions even. Oh, the number of times we’ve asked them. We’ve posed them so much that we decided to pause them. We no longer question pain. We’re no longer shocked by grief. our hearts have become numb to hurt. We have master’s degrees stress management and pain numbing. We’ve learnt to live with less joy, less justice and less Jesus.
Yes. Jesus. We love to hate Him. it’s so much easier that way, or so we think. Our society has brought us believing in the light at the “end” of the tunnel. But Jesus offers us a light “in” the tunnel, whether or not the end is in sight. Life has taught us to brace storms, curse life and nurse wounds as we wait for calm seas. But Jesus offers us a savior in the midst of the storm. Jesus let’s the storm rage, the war wage and the only comforting words He leaves us with are, “Do not be afraid.” and “Behold, I am with you, till the end of time.”
Our hearts want to shout to the former, “Too late, Jesus. We’re already sinking in fright.” and to the latter words we respond arrogantly, “We don’t want you to be with us, we want you to take us out of here.” What’s the point of joining me in a fire if your purpose is to save me from the fire? That’s what we ask, from deep down. It doesn’t make any sense. The worst idea you could ever have in trying to save a drowning man is suggesting he scooch over in that deep well. But apparently, Jesus doesn’t think so. He’s been known to waltz through fiery furnaces and sleep in storm-tossed boats. And what’s even worse, listen to what he says about suffering to believers, “In this world you WILL face persecution.” That’s so encouraging Jesus. Don’t wait up, I’ll find my own way out. We often want to say, and apparently we mean it. We find ourselves backsliding and sin-kissing before we know it. The Holy way is not the only way, there’s a wholly different option. One with “less pain”, and we make that our default mode.
And that’s exactly the problem we’ve let The Fault mode to be our default mode. We’ve settled for sin, and it’s been downhill ever since. Yet Jesus offers us, not hope for the moment only (which we’d much rather settle for) but hope for eternity. He has His eyes set on our future. While we battle with scales of myopia, Jesus is tilting the scales of life and death. And he wants to give us life, abundant life, eternal life. Will you receive it? Eternal life.