I stopped writing in this space months ago to focus on putting together a book that has been incredibly slow going.
I haven’t given up on the book, but my progress is depressing to me. It’s easier to think of jotting down my thoughts within the confines of several hundred words here than in the thousands upon thousands of words required at book length.
I’ve been wrestling with bitterness and heartache on top of that. A large financial loss and the continued shambles of my relational life have had me wandering through dark and desolate places.
I’ve turned to old wisdom that has helped me in the past, and it’s proved helpful again, but the pain in my heart lingers. Gratefulness is so important in life and something I admittedly have struggled with, though I’ve learned true gratefulness in all things doesn’t mean you have to force happiness regarding terrible things that happen to you, but that you look to see how even the horrific and inexcusable evil that can victimize you can have kernels of positive outcomes ripple away from the dark center, and we should focus on those things.
An important Christian voice died tragically today, Rachel Held Evans, who was exactly my age, 37. I didn’t always agree with her, but she was a light to many people who felt marginalized by the Church, and losing her so young is beyond heartbreaking. This life is full of loss.
In my own bleakness, I wrestle with what God wants me to do with myself. I’m tempted to light fire to what I perceive to be a life drenched in failure and disappointment and start completely from scratch, but my situation prevents me from such drastic measures. I have responsibilities and people who depend on me, so no grand upheaval is realistic.
But the weight of perceived failure and relational detritus often feels overbearing. Ultimately my life isn’t about me and I shouldn’t be mindful of my legacy as a Christian since it’s supposed to be I who die and exalt Christ in my stead, but I suppose it’s my deep insecurities that have always driven me to long for some sort of positive notoriety.
As I go through life day by day, I’m burdened by the thought that once I’m gone, I’ll be forgotten in a matter of years, and while there is love and goodness in everyday living, to me it so often feels like the things that are negative overpower all that is good. Evil, injustice and entropy feel like they win more than they lose.
And it’s in moments like these that I try my hardest to pray that God helps my heart hold on to the Christian hope in redemption and resurrection because, in this dark and confusing world, it really is at base the only true hope there is. Without it, everything – as the author of Ecclesiastes readily recognized thousands of years ago – is utterly meaningless.
At the end of all things, at the end of my intellectual edifices to justify belief in the Christian faith, this is really the thing that keeps me going in it. I have nothing left if not hope in Christ because I recognize that life, otherwise, legitimately has no genuine hope. That’s it.
The tragedies of the Rachel Held Evans of the world become the final say in all matters of life, and I refuse to believe that’s true. There are too many good signposts along the way that point to there being more than this, and that faith, hope and love just have to have the final word.
They have to.
Help my hope remain, Christ, and be with those who suffer and have none. Give us rest and peace in you and in the knowledge that you will bring all things together and make them complete in the end.