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Posts Tagged ‘faith’

An insurance commercial that is on TV has captured the zeitgeist of our times:  a dog has a big bone that he keeps moving from one hiding place to another for fear that a bigger dog might come and take it away from him.  He buries it, then digs it up and stashes it, then transfers it to another hiding place where he stands guard over it through storm and rain.  The insurance’s umbrella appears, cover him, and gives him relief! Oh really!

I do not find that insurance gives me that much peace of mind.  We have life insurance—but the premiums go up to a billion dollars a year if I don’t die young! We have home warranty insurance—but we have been denied coverage as often as we have really been able to use it.  We have house insurance—with a huge deductible unless the house burns down! We have car insurance—but about half of the drivers in the state don’t, so what happens if you are in an accident with another person??  No, I don’t find insurance to be that reassuring!

We were in a conversation the other night when someone raised the question of why all the great classics of literature are dark and/or tragic!  Lots of films are that way as well. When was the last time a comedy got the Best Picture Oscar?

I used to deal with that question a lot as a professor of literature. Especially students don’t want to see Hamlet die or the whole fish disappear in Old Man and the Sea.  I bet you have never shown your kids Old Yeller because you were so scarred by watching it as a child! Even Bambi is on the banned list, isn’t it, because Mama Rabbit dies—and we don’t want our kids to have to deal with tragedy.

My answer to my students was that life is absolutely tragic—if you are not a believer in Christ raised from the dead!  Take away Christian hope and there is no relief from loss!  You lose your youth, your health, your wealth, your loved ones, your family, your achievements, your memories! Fifty years after your death you are only remembered by a handful of people and 75 years later they are dead too, so you are virtually forgotten except for your name on the tombstone.  Another hundred years and even your engraved name may be worn off or covered in moss.  You lose everything—eventually!

I once heard a little dialogue that went something like this:

Did you hear about the rich guy who died last night?

No, how much did he leave behind?

He left it all!

If you believe in eternal life through Jesus, these losses are just momentary discomforts.  You know that you have life, that you are loved, that you will be with all who love God, and that you will never cry because of loss again.

The Christian faith is not insurance; it is assurance!  Big difference!  

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Fallen Monarch in Mariposa Grove

After you park in Mariposa Grove in the southern part of Yosemite, you walk past a sequoia that probably fell over three hundred years ago, which today is called the Fallen Monarch. White people first saw it in 1857, but the tree was already on the ground. The bark contains chemicals that help it resist decay, not eternally but for much longer than average trees.

What if next Sunday, visitors to the park came, parked in the parking lot, reading their usual park material, walked to the edge of the parking lot and saw this huge tree standing upright, roots in the ground, leafed out completely, and apparently growing again!  If they ran to tell the park rangers, the rangers would think they were crazy! If they published pictures on Facebook, people who had seen the dead tree would think the pictures were forged.  What would it take to convince the world that this tree that had been dead for 300 hundred years was now alive????

What if over 500 people told you that they had seen the tree alive?  What if they wrote accounts about it and published them on the internet?  Would you believe it then?

I keep thinking about the people who don’t believe that men ever landed on the moon or that JFK is alive on the top floor of Parkland Hospital in Dallas—or that the president was not born in Hawaii. To believe that something is true requires more than evidence; it requires faith!

What happened the day after the resurrection of Jesus from the dead?  I know that the priests and the elders paid off the guards to spread the story that the body was stolen, so whoever talked to them had their disbelief confirmed by “eyewitnesses.”

I don’t know how the high priest explained the ripped curtain in the temple, or how the people in Jerusalem who saw those bodies of the godly men and women who were raised and who had wandered into the city and “were seen by many.”

Even the remaining eleven of the inner circle had trouble believing.  Mark reports, probably as Peter reported to him, that Jesus “rebuked them for their stubborn unbelief because they refused to believe those who had seen him after he had been raised from the dead” (16:14)!  And Thomas held out at least another eight days!

How much harder must it be 2000 years removed to believe that Jesus rose from the grave! But for those of us who do believe it to be true, it changes everything—absolutely everything!

So the question for today is why do you believe in the resurrection of Jesus? If you only give me “evidences,” then I think your faith is vulnerable to rational attack. If your belief, however, includes “the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen (Hebrews 11:1), then you need have no fear that you’ve been tricked!

God gave life to the tiny seed that fell to the ground 2000 years ago that became the giant sequoia. He was there when it fell over. God is not only the First Cause, He also creates the essential Effect of every cause.  I believe God caused the Virgin Mary to conceive and give birth; I believe that Jesus was killed on Friday, and I believe with all my heart that He not only was raised on Sunday but is just as alive today. It’s my choice to believe. But I can choose to believe because God gives life to tiny seeds!

Next: What does the resurrection on Sunday change about Monday for you?

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