Wednesday, January 19, 2011

How would I respond?

Today my spirit was uplifted by the following newspaper article.

I encourage you to read it all, but the long and short of it is that notwithstanding being hit by a drunk driver, notwithstanding almost a year of rehab, and notwithstanding living in constant pain, Bruce Reid is a happy man.

He contains no bitterness towards the driver who hit him.  He holds no anger or malice for the events that transpired.  And he even believes that there is a greater purpose to be found in the horrific crash which almost cost him his life.

How can this be?  And if it had been me, how would I have responded?

You see, I lead a blessed life.  I have never known grief.  I have never known loss.  I have never known any real level of pain.  Furthermore I am healthy, I enjoy my work, and I love my family.  I am abundantly blessed.

But what if events transpired to change all of that.  What if tomorrow I was hit by a drunk.  How would I respond?

Well let’s take Bruce as a case study and examine why he responded the way he did. 

The following sentence says it all, “a Christian, he believes the crash wasn’t an accident.”

Ah, Bruce is a Christian.  Bruce therefore believes in God.  Bruce must even believe Romans 8:28 when it says, “and we know that to them that love God all things work together for good.”

Fundamentally this is a worldview question.  It is because Bruce views the world through the lens of a Christian worldview, that he can still be happy even after going through so much pain.  Let me explain.

Having a Christian worldview gives Bruce assurance that in comparison to eternity the events of this life are but a fleeting moment.  Having a Christian worldview also allows Bruce to understand that there is a bigger picture that only God can see, and subsequently there is a purpose in what happened to him.  And finally having a Christian worldview allows Bruce to know that no matter what he is going though God cares, and God understands, for He in the person of Jesus Christ endured much more than Bruce ever had or will have to endure.

So I hope you can see why it was that my spirit was uplifted as I read this article? 

For even though I have not experienced Bruce’s ordeal, I now have even more confidence that the faith I have chosen, and the worldview I ascribe to is the real deal.  To my mind there is no other explanation for the happiness and peace that Bruce and his wife are experiencing in the midst of their storm.

And how do I know that I am not just reading too much into that one line about Bruce being a Christian.  It is because I have had the pleasure of working with Bruce for the past 12 years.  And his life has been a testament of God’s grace and provision not just over this past year, but for the entire time that I have had the privilege of calling him a colleague and a friend.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

What would I have said?

Yesterday, my heart broke as I read the suicide note of a young man named Bill Zeller.  Twenty-seven years old, a talented programmer, and a Princeton grad student, but with an inner turmoil so great that he felt the only answer was to end his life,

He emailed this note to his friends early last Sunday morning and then he killed himself.  I can’t remember ever reading a suicide note before, but this one ended up being posted on tech blogs that I frequent so curiosity got the better of me and I decided to read it to find out why he had decided to end his life.

After reading it, I began to wonder what I would have said to him; had I known him, and had I known his intentions.  Considering he expressed resentment towards his parents because they were “fundamentalist” Christians who hated everything, I wonder if he would have given me the time of day.

Now I don’t know his parents so I am not going to comment on their faith, but the following two verses came to me as I read the Bill’s note.

From the book of Matthew Jesus says, “whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”

Bill mentions that he was raped repeatedly as a child.  I would say to him that the guilty party will not go unpunished.  The bible repeatedly states that God is a God of justice, who hears the cries the neglected and abused.

And again from the book of Matthew Jesus says, “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you.”

I would say to Bill that I have met a lot of judgemental Christians as well, but the words of Jesus are clear, leave it to God to judge, for he is God and we are not.  Don’t forsake Jesus because of what man has done, judge Jesus on his own merits.  He invites you to “taste and see that the Lord is good.”

Most importantly I would need to address the root of his turmoil.  The inner darkness as he calls it.

In the book of John Jesus says, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”

Now I admit that I have no way of understanding what Bill was experiencing, but I find it interesting that Bill referred to his struggle as one against darkness.  The bible also uses this terminology when it describes the epic battle between good and evil as a battle between light and darkness.

Thankfully the bible doesn’t leave us hopeless and in despair, for there is hope.  The way to combat darkness is by embracing the light.