Ya know, the thing of it is, I'm not even really all that Christian. I've had some tragedies, you see, and being actually a somewhat small man, I haven't been able to recover all that well from them. Loss, grief, injustice, regret, futility -- all these things can come our way, and we must bear up under them or be overwhelmed. I was overwhelmed.
I'd have to believe in God, because evil so clearly exists.
And my oh my, was I attacked. Not more than some other man, but viciously for all that. I will not speak of it, but its effects have left me cowering in my spirit like a beaten dog. I thought I'd be protected. But it surely does not feel that way. Fathers are supposed to protect their children. But all I felt were blows.
Whom God loves, he chastens.
And I haven't pretended to be a humble man.
So there's that part of it, that I get. And I have grown in insight, at least. I was always tenderhearted, but I've learned, surprisingly, to just keep my mouth shut. That's humility. You might not think so from this site -- then again, you're invited, but you don't have to come.
In times of deepest grief, only silence will do. But when communication becomes possible again, there is this little parable:
At the end of his life, a man walks with Jesus along the shore of a great ocean. They follow a small pair of footprints. "This is you, when you were very young," says Jesus.
"Whose footprints are those?" asks the man, pointing next to the child's.
"Those are mine," replies Jesus -- "I walk beside every child."
They follow the shore, over rough places and smooth, over troubled spots and calm. At one spot, the two sets of prints come side by side. "This is where you first saw me," says Jesus, "and where we became friends."
"Yes, I remember."
Further along, the man's footprints become chaotic, staggering with weakness and confusion. "Oh," cries the man, "I remember that -- so much pain, so much pain!"
And then there is only one set of prints. "Jesus!" exclaims the man, "Jesus! See? I am alone. You left me alone in my greatest trouble."
And Jesus smiles softly, softly, with such compassion. "No, my dear friend. I never left you. This is where I carried you."
There are no words to say it. As I love my son, my only son, and my other sons now gone, so much more does He love me. And if I have lost what I have loved, isn't that what God did, with his Son? If my path has been troubled, how much more the suffering of the cross. If I am overwhelmed, well, this is why Christians are always talking about a Savior.
As I say, I'm not really all that Christian. I would be more.