I spent a wonderful morning with a dear friend whom I met a couple of years ago at Deaf Camp – that’s when a group of hearing people come together, turn off their voices and communicate with sign language for a week. Susan (not her real name) and I immediately clicked, although I must admit, we violated our vow of silence when we talked one afternoon during free time! There was something unique and attractive about her, although at the time, I didn’t have a word for it. Now I do.
Susan’s life and her relationship with Jesus has taught her resilience. Her story is painful but from my perspective, she lives out this healthy balance – teetering between choosing joy each day and yet fully recognizing the limits that this world can offer and intensely looking forward to heaven. She embraces the truth that this world is a vast smelting oven – a place of refinement – practice for heaven.
Almost twenty five years ago, Scott Peck, then an unknown psychiatrist, began his book, “The Road Less Traveled” with these words; “Life is difficult.” This book went on to become the second best-selling nonfiction book of all time after the Bible. These words are truth. They resonate in all our hearts. No one gets through this life on earth unscathed.
I have often wrestled with the biblical exhortation to live in this world but not of it. How do I live with one foot on this earth and the other in heaven? As Christians, this is definitely not our home. We have a high calling to live abundantly and joyfully, one day at a time, lovingly and sacrificially, dependent on God – but life on this earth IS difficult and there are times that we fail miserably – at least, I do. I know, without a doubt, that I am incapable of making my life work without God.
I want my life to be genuine. I have surrendered to the reality that I live in a fallen world that pulls and pushes, batters and bruises yet I want to bask in the special moments that many days on this earth bring; like wedding anniversaries, funny stories, big hugs, family celebrations, great food, inspiring friendships, memorable holidays, feel-great-after-the-fact workouts, my grandson’s smile, my kids’ accomplishments, delicious chocolate, candles and chai tea and warm scarves and good books and holding hands and… you get the point.
Living on this earth does hurt at times, doesn’t it? It has a way of defeating and wearing us out. Yet, God wastes no experiences in our lives and when we nurture this amassed storehouse of resiliency, it strengthens us from within to outwardly live in a balanced way; persevering in the moment and hoping for eternity.