A Picture and A Thousand Words

On July 29, 2012, in Personal, by july

Some say that a picture is worth a thousand words.  What they often forget however, is that two people can look at the same thing and see it differently.  Others find love before the cross.  Others, forgiveness.  Still others, combination of different emotions put together.

Twenty seven years into this life may seem so much to some while so little to others.  For what is twenty seven years in eternity’s stretch? Yet when one looks at the poorest in Africa, some children aren’t even named lest they reach the age of five.  The lifespan is so short a journey that even a child is deprived of his own identity.

Some pictures are indeed worth a thousand words, but there is a Word that’s worth beyond what pictures can express.  What meaning has life apart from the Word? Indeed, some may see the Word as the literal means through which meaning is revealed.  Others see the Word figuratively.  The Gospel of John begins by saying that “In the Beginning Was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”  Thirteen verses later, he added, “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.”

The year was 2007.  The day and month, I cannot remember.  Bending one’s knees to a higher being is not an easy task.  How can one surrender his future to a being only told to him in stories and anecdotes? Who knows if the story of Noah or Moses are historically accurate? Is Jesus even a historical figure to begin with? Those questions are beyond my desire to ask.  All I wanted then, was a Savior.

The pressures of life often find itself snapping at a time when all hopes but one is lost.  Just as the tides of woes threaten to sweep you away, one begins to see the basics of life—a daily choice that is almost automatic, one thinks of it only in matters of offshoots.  Every day is a question between life and death.  Every action one makes pushes him closer to either end.  Of course, external circumstances are unavoidable at times.  Yet when one is reduced to simply choosing between the two… when all the complications of life are stripped away… he begins to see the single choice from which all others hang on to—life or death?

That time, I chose Life… and while over the course of that journey with the Life, not life, I reluctantly admit that it is not a smooth sail.  The Life that is Christ has many tricks up His sleeve.  While on some occasions it cannot be denied that circumstances are more than flowery, others are completely the reverse.  It can go so good as if heaven is within reach while on some others, hell seems to tear into reality.

This mix of joy and sorrow is an interesting soup that brings the limited mind into awareness of reality.  The happiest times I had with Christ is where I am most pleased.  The most difficult, are those that I am grateful for.  Yes, gratitude… but the appreciation is never immediate.  Neither does it occur during the process of agony.  In school, the lesson is given prior to the exam.  In life, the exam is given prior to the lesson.  I learned more from the latter.

Over the course of my twenty seven years of God’s gracious sustenance, I have come to see that every act of grace He pours on me is a picture.  A picture of reality I would not otherwise see, apart from the grace that touched my limited understanding.

Philip Yancey wrote a book entitled “The Jesus I Never Knew.”  It was a book exhorting the various parts of Jesus’ life.  I bent my knees to the only one I know is worthy of it.  The depth of one’s love is measured by the level of one’s sacrifice.  For how can one believe that God loves if He dares not touch the evil that is among us?

Jesus died for my sins.  And His death opened the doors of forgiveness through which I can walk towards eternity.  What bigger action can God make to show His love than to die on my place? “There is no greater love than to give one’s life for the sake of his friends,” says Jesus.

Forgiveness painted a vivid picture of what genuine life is like.  For any man may claim that he knows the way to heaven.  Yet only Jesus came from above to tell man which, among those “many” ways is the real way… and Jesus complimented it by saying that He’s the only way.  I’d rather trust a guy from heaven than others who force fit their worldview into the unknown domain.  How would they know the way to heaven if they were never there?

Five years into the realm of Christianity, I never starved myself of the intellectual side of things.  A constant stream of studies in atheism and comparative theology has done nothing but enhance my confidence in Jesus.  The more I dig into the vaults of knowledge, the more convinced I am that the need of the church today is not simply to share God’s love through actions.  It should, as it always should be, guided by wisdom.  The twenty first century is an age where information sits atop any other systems.  At a time where data is most relevant compared to the centuries that came before, Christians should also be equally equipped to present them when needed.

For years I have pondered what role God wants me to be in the ministry.  The more I study these things, the more evident, it seems to me, that he wants me in the field of teaching.  No, not preaching… but teaching… teaching Christians to love the LORD with all their minds.  Knowing why they believe what they believe is vital… and that’s where I think, God is shaping me.

And now, a thousand words was written.  a pleasant ending to my birthday. :)

 

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