Sunday, July 29, 2007

10, 9

10. We all live by faith.

Dear reader, I pose a question: What gave you confidence that the chair in which you currently sit would hold you?

You may reply with physics, that the force of the chair pushes back on you with an equal and opposite force while the feet of the chair exert an equal and opposite force on the earth to uphold the entire system. You may reply that chairs hold people up; it's just what they do. You may reply that this exists as a stupd question and move on to greater intellectual pursuits.

I propose that you cannot have complete confidence the chair in which you sit will hold. Logic and reason may say it will, but you can never know for sure. What if some vile insect has penetrated the wood and weakened it to the point of collapse? What if the wage laborer who helped construct it decided to take a smoke break instead of inserting a crucial bolt? What if your roomie has stealthily pulled it out from under you?

Regardless of all purported logic and reason, you can never know for sure that all the bases are covered, even with something as simple as a chair.

Expand this a little. We eat at restaurants in faith the kitchen remained clean. Yes, the governement inspects, but Hepatitis B still occassionally rears its deadly head. We drive our automobiles in faith that they run as they should. Yes, they always have, but tires still shred. We hop on an airplane in faith that every airline employee has done his/her job correctly. Yes, people work hard so they do not lose their jobs, but I know my work ethic during hour 7 at Borders.

One cannot define life apart from faith. If one lived a completely faithless life, it would drive one mad. Too many uncertainties exist. The details would consume and overwhelm.

I do not write this for fear's sake but to embolden you, loved ones, in faith. If you have entered a bookstore over the past year, you will have noted a rise of anti-faith books written by the likes of Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris, and Christopher Hitchens. They are smart men and compelling writers who purport to argue against faith, specifically in this concept of God.

This is not new. People have always claimed that faith is irrational, illogical, and unintellectual.

Yet faith exists in our everyday lives. One can claim that the term "faith" is mindless. I shall contend that to say we can live daily life completely devoid of faith exceeds this mindlessness. Faith, the hope in things unseen, permeates our entire day. Science may provide evidence for or against faith, but it cannot eliminate it.

What's more, we all must make a decision of faith in terms of death. One can maybe argue that everything in this world has proof from empirical evidence, but no proof exists as to death. Science has no definite answer. Experience has no definite answer. Even religion has no definite answer. As my friend Mr. Phillis put it, death is the "certainty of uncertainty."

So let them not belittle faith. It must exist, if only in this question. If only in this question, though I suspect and argue more, we all live by faith.

9. Good things exist in every phase of life.

I have often heard it said that college was "the best days of your life." This means I have peaked. I refuse to believe this.

I learned this year that pro's exist in every phase of life, even that which exists outside of the carefree days of college (O, how quickly we forget the stress of study, the lurk of loneliness, the pressure of peers, the questioned questions which accompanied those "best days"!).

A few cheap examples from this year:

-I never had a weekend ruined by the ominous cloud of Sunday night homework.

-When I left work, I left work. It never came home with me like class always did.

-I had cash flow.

I have fond memories of college, yet given the good which came with my exit, I remain uncertain whether or not I could return.

In all seriousness though, the difficulty with the "best days of our lives" theory is that it forgets that the best thing in our life remains with us always. His name is Jesus. He is the same today as yesterday as tomorrow.

The Shorter Westminster Catechism asks the universal question: What is the chief end of man?

The response: to glorify God and enjoy him forever.

This charge does not merely apply to youth. It does not merely apply to college students or newly weds or retirees or whatever phase of life one wishes to apply the title "best." In every moment of every day, we have the opportunity to glorify God and enjoy him forever. We do this by seeking the Lord's will, submitting to it, and following in obedience. This is the abundant life Christ promises in John 10:10, and it should not surprise us given that the One who made the rules of the game also made us.

This life is for all ages, stages, and phases. God, the Best, is with us always. What's more, he is with us now. In that sense, now is the best day of our lives.

And this Good Thing exists in every phase of our lives.

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