And we don’t understand a lot of things. But we learn that people are very disappointing, and that they break our hearts, and that very sweet people will be bullied, and that we will be called to survive unsurvivable losses, and that we will realize with enormous pain how much of our lives we’ve already waste with obsessive work or pleasing people or dieting. We will see and read about deprivation and barbarity beyond our ability to understand, much less process. Side by side with all that, we will witness transformation, people finding out who they were born to be, before their parents pretzelized them into high achievers and addicts and charming, wired robots.
I’ve only lived 30 years but I have seen my best friend survive an unsurvivable loss of her mom at 52. I’ve seen and heard countless news stories of abuse I cannot fathom, stories that keeps me up in my bed, sick inside over what can happen to the innocent. I’ve seen a friend so tender and sweet bullied and betrayed by fellow believers for the callous cause of juicy gossip. I’ve wasting hours worrying about pleasing people who will never be my salvation, whose opinion matters not one iota in eternity.
But I’ve also seen people whose lives were plodding along in selfish monotony interrupted by the beauty and presence of Christ–not to glorious popularity, but just to a 180 degree turn in a God-ward direction. I’ve seen people quietly give from meager means to help others without pomp and circumstance, thanks, or recognition.
I’ve seen marriages last a half-century and more until edges are worn and blurred and two really do become inseparably one. Babies born, beautiful and fresh and so perfect. Friends who give up country, family and all that is familiar that others may know about the narrow road and the One Gate. I’ve seen hope reborn green and tender through prayer when all was brown and bitter. I’ve seen lives remade out of the ashes of terrible decisions into sturdy foundations and pillars of truth.
The world can be painful, surprising, and darkly ironic. However, these three remain: faith, hope, and love.
But the greatest of these is love.