Smile at Eternity

[Edit 11/07/08]

As I read, I find more and more to further what I wrote below a couple weeks ago. All of my comments were, of course, pre-election in the United States. What do I think of Obama? What do I think about Prop 8 (California)? My point all along was that it's not about the people or the propositions -- it's about a group (a remnant people) that has always broken away from the world (first, the remnant in Israel and now the church today) and followed, trusted, and hoped in God. Can you look at your life and say, "I am apart of that remnant." Or, like so many church-goers, are you getting worried now that evil is showing it's face in the world? The bible warned against that so many times. Here is just one, in Ephesians 5:15-21:
Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. And do not get drunk with wine, for that is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, addressing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with your heart, giving thanks always and for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, submitting to one another out of reverence for Christ.

There was a common theme in the New Testament writers' books and letters that evil will be present in the world. The church is to follow Christ in spite of that. The church is to declare him to all nations in spite of that. The church is to have hope in Christ's return in spite of that. The church is to long for heaven because of that. In Ephesians, Paul is making a clear distinction between the days being evil and making the best use of our time. He's saying, "Look, the days are going to be evil. We know that. But you, church, make the best use of your time." What does it look like to make the best use of our time in Paul's eyes? He ended up in chains, preaching the gospel to jailers. He considered that a joy because it advanced the gospel better than him not being in chains.

[Original Post 10/18/08]

C.S. Lewis says it so beautifully when he suggests:
The Christian doctrine of suffering explains, I believe, a very curious fact about the world we live in. The settled happiness and security which we all desire, God withholds from us by the very nature of the world: but joy, pleasure, and merriment, He has scattered broadcast. We are never safe, but we have plenty of fun, and some ecstasy. It is not hard to see why. The security we crave would teach us to rest our hearts in this world and oppose an obstacle to our return to God: a few moments of happy love, a landscape, a symphony, a merry meeting with out friends, a bathe or a football match, have no such tendency. Our Father refreshes us on the journey with some pleasant inns, but will not encourage us to mistake them for home.

Our Lord, with a similar message, confused Pilate:
Jesus answered, "My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world."

The world is waiting to see a group of Christians whose lives are in keeping with what they say with their mouths they believe. We say we believe in a Saviour who came to serve and get nothing in return, and yet we decide to fight for political issues. We say our hope is in God alone -- yet the world sees us worry, just like they do, about which candidates will be "in control" of our country.

I can be optimistic, not because of a man elected to office or a bill that does or doesn't get voted in. No. I can be optimistic because, while the world and many "Christians" are fighting for, worrying about, and trusting in candidates, bills, and economies, I have my eyes set on heaven where God reigns. He is letting evil run wild for a time. But, as Lewis so wonderfully reminds me, this is so that I long to be in heaven with Him.

Don't settle for the futile strivings of this world. Keep your bags packed. You're just visiting. You never belonged here.

I'm going home.

Never Forget You

Lord, give me what I need to survive today. Don't give me too much lest I forget about You and think I received it on my own.


(Proverbs 30:8-9)

I Want to Be Like Abraham

No matter what the world says
I cannot be convinced of anything beside the Truth
Since I will gladly die for it, living for it comes naturally
When the Truth meets opposition, then it is tested within me
The Lord uses people to test if I really believe what I say I believe
I'd much rather know one great thing about God and live and die for it
than to know all there is to know about God and his laws and do nothing for him

- - -

For years I've prayed — asking God to do whatever it takes to make me be on fire for Him. I begged for that to come. Whatever it takes. Because I have to be on fire for God. "What's the point," I would ask, "of believing in a passionate love but not being passionate about that love?" Recently the Lord has asked me the simplest of questions — he's posed the simplest of challenges to me. It seems harmless, really. He has used other people and circumstances to ask this: "Nate, would you back down only slightly from your calling in life? Just a little bit, even?" When the Truth I know to be true is challenged, would I give in and live a safe life? It seems like a insignificant thing to do, really. It's only backing down a little bit, right? It's only conceding small truths about my God. It's really of no harm, right?

I've realized, however, that this is exactly what I prayed for. I prayed for these challenges to make me sink or swim with what I believe. I didn't know where they would come from, but I knew they would come. I'm so happy that my prayers have been answered and that I can stand here now with a more determined focus on my mission in life, a more passionate love for the lost, and a heart that is beating more in time with my Saviour's heart. I am so grateful that the Lord has made it clear that I have passed this test.

To a small extent, I feel like Abraham when he was asked to kill his son Isaac. Without hesitation he drew the knife to slay his son whom he loved because he knew there was something far greater. He had to be right about his relationship with God. He couldn't forsake his Love. I cannot forsake my Love. I am passionately, actively, and eternally in love with my God and I will pass any test for him.

A Unique Love Letter

It is so simple, yet so many people miss it. It is right there, yet so many people ignore it or are preoccupied with other things—"good" things like church and family. Yes. Church and family, as good as they are, can keep you from seeing it—from getting it.

Some people just get it, though. It's easy to see when someone gets it and it encourages me not to become distracted with the insignificant things of this earth (as "good" as they might sound.)

I'd like to look at one man in particular who got it. I've come to learn a little more about him over the course of the past couple years and the way he planted himself in heaven and lived on earth encourages me to live likewise. His name is Adoniram Judson. Read this selection from a letter he wrote to Mr. Hasseltine (Ann Hasseltine's father) before seeking his daughter's hand in marriage:

I have now to ask whether you can consent to part with your daughter early next spring, to see her no more in this world ? whether you can consent to her departure to a heathen land, and her subjection to the hardships and sufferings of a missionary life? whether you can consent to her exposure to the dangers of the ocean; to the fatal influence of the southern climate of India; to every kind of want and distress; to degradation, insult, persecution, and perhaps a violent death? Can you consent to all this, for the sake of Him who left His heavenly home and died for her and for you; for the sake of perishing, immortal souls; for the sake of Zion and the glory of God? Can you consent to all this, in hope of soon meeting your daughter in the world of glory, with a crown of righteousness brightened by the acclamations of praise which shall redound to her Saviour from heathens saved, through her means, from eternal woe and despair?

Talk about getting it. It brings tears to my eyes even now, though I have read it hundreds of times. Apparently his soon-to-be father-in-law got it too, because Miss Ann Hasseltine soon changed her name. Here is Adoniram's New Years letter to Miss Ann during their betrothal period:

January 1, 1811. Tuesday Morning
It is with the utmost sincerity, and with my whole heart, that I wish you, my love, a happy new year. May it be a year in which your walk will be close with God; your frame calm and serene; and the road that leads you to the Lamb marked with purer light. May it be a year in which you will have more largely the spirit of Christ, be raised above sublunary things, and be willing to be disposed of in this world just as God shall please. As every moment of the year will bring you nearer the end of your pilgrimage, may it bring you nearer to God, and find you more prepared to hail the messenger of death as a deliverer and a friend.

By the grace of God, Adoniram Judson got it. He realized that life was but a vapor that was seen for a moment and vanished the next. Life is like a log you see floating down the river—it's there for a moment and then it disappears. Three people got it in this story: Adoniram (for placing his trust in the Lord,) Mr. Hasseltine (for having the trust in the Lord to see the value of Adoniram's crazy faith,) and Miss Ann Hasseltine (for having such faith to see and be attracted to young Adoniram's correct view of eternity.)

I have loved this story for a while, and, as you might have guessed, his love letter to Miss Hasseltine was the inspiration for the name of this online journal: above sublunary things.

Adoniram was in love. Sure, he loved Ann Hasseltine, but there was a love that was far greater than any love he could have for a girl. He had an all-encompasing love for God. He was in love with God. He didn't need Miss Hasseltine to fulfill any desires in his life. He didn't need to be content in her or anything she could give him. No. He was already fully content in God. He was in love. He had the kind of love that matters—the kind of love that makes you do something about it. A man living, walking, and influencing others by faith is a beaufitul thing. Adoniram gave up everything, even his "love," Miss Ann, for the one he loved.

The Prayer for Me

Dear friends,

Pray also for me that I may realize my true purpose in life — that is, to live every moment in light of my eternal home. That I will understand, but not merely understand, what it means to belong to another country while simply visiting an earthly world. Ultimately, pray that I would desire to know the will of God. It is easy to say, but, when the ramifications are pondered, very hard to actually want.

Finally, I know the Lord has great things for me to do in and with my life. I just know it. I do not worry a bit about what I will do or who I will become because I am resolved, without an ounce of wavering, in the way I will live (therefore the how will follow.) But, pray that I will live in such a way so that, as I live, and — yes, more importantly — when I die, vast numbers of people will not know the name Nate Hanson or fall in love with me, but will know the name of Jesus Christ and fall eternally in love with him.

Bought with a Price

We Christians say things such as, "I gave my life to Christ" or "He bought me with a price." Well, if you gave your life to Christ and if he bought you, doesn't he own you — not only you, but also your desires, wants, passions, future, plans, skills... everything? I would encourage you to know not what you want to do with your life — what a selfish thought — but rather to realize who you are in Christ already. There is a calling on your life that will take your whole life simply because of the association to Christ and his country that you have. There is no time to worry about what you want to do with your life because of the business the Lord has called you to be about. Be busy in that and then come to the end of your day and the end of your life and see if you have any time left over for you.

I'm going back in time...

"I'm staring hard at these forgotten memories... I'm going back in time, I'm going back in time..."

If I wasn't headed somewhere great, I wouldn't be traveling with so many amazing people. If I wasn't obsessed with One great thing, I wouldn't be so strongly united to others by it.

On this, the marking of the 21st year of my life, I am overwhelmed by the amazing amount of family and friends who are traveling this eternal journey alongside me. The constant and gentle prods of challenge, encouragement, and insight have been far from human -- they are supernatural. They are the brushes the Artist uses to paint my life's masterpiece.

If my eyes weren't fixed on a blinding Light, I wouldn't be so full of joy at the companionship of my fellow light-seekers.

My Life Is Yours

My Life Is Yours

I recently came across a recording of a song I wrote when I was probably 14. Now, the song only has a few notes in it, but I'm trying not to judge the poor songwriting skills I had as a 14-year-old, since I consider them stepping stones. The quality of the recording is comparable to that of an answering machine message. The lyrics are kind of bland and the creativity in singing was lacking. All this to say, I was laughing pretty hard when I listened to it. But, as I was laughing about the song, how my voice has changed (I like to think, at least) and how I wasn't quite on pitch for all of the notes, I was also encouraged by the words I wrote when I was just 14—nearly 7 years ago, or a third of my life.

In reflection, the Lord has been so faithful in leading and guiding me to this place in my life. While I barely remembered that this song existed and while I certainly don't remember what caused me write it, I do remember, in a general sense, the uncertainty I felt when I was 14. What would my life be? How would I live it? What makes some people live a life that is fully devoted to God? It's strange because, while some of these questions have been answer for me at nearly 21, I'm still asking some similarly large questions. Why do some people's lives look absolutely crazy and others don't, though they say they believe the same thing? Is God happy with followers that ask how little they can do and make it to heaven, or is he happy with those who ask how much they can do because of all they've been given? If I've seen a Treasure in a field, how can I justify not giving my whole life away?

The questions haven't changed and I pray they never will. I may never find answers, but I know, if I keep asking these questions, I'll find the Truth.

There is nothing else I can live for

"The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field."
(Matthew 13:44, ESV.)

Does that accurately describe your relationship with the Lord? Do you just say, "Whatever, Lord. I've seen this treasure, so take everything, I don't care anymore. Here, take it all, because I can have YOU!"

Notice the man didn't go sell all he had and then walk past an electronics store and see a nice plasma television and think to himself, "Hmm, that's pretty nice. Actually, I think that's greater than the treasure I just saw. I'll get this instead." No! There was no weighing, no deleberating, and no sadness in the face of complete sacrifice—because, the man realized he was "sacrificing" nothing! It was clear. It was obvious. Anything or anyone else compared to this Treasure is a joke! Do you live like that? Do you live like nothing else matters compared to this treasure you've seen? If you don't, maybe you need to consider if you've actually seen the treasure and all it's great worth. Because, once you see the treasure, there is no way you can leave and live a normal life.

It's important to note that this is not just a response for the overly "spiritual" or "godly" people in the church as we might be inclined to believe. This is the standard for a response to the treasure (Matthew 16:24.) This should flow as naturally as would an answer to the question, "Hey, do you want me to give you a billion dollars?" Would you have to think about that? Would you have to weigh that? Would you have to consider if you wanted to trade all you had to get that billion dollars? No, because you see it's worth. Imagine a treasure of far greater worth—one that would make you look billions of dollars in the face and say, "Whatever... Keep it. I don't even care. I can have God!"

A radical treasure calls for a radical response.

The Train Station

The Train Station

And then I turned and found myself in a busy train station of seemingly endless size. I was sitting on a bench and as far as I could see to my left, right, behind and in front of me were hordes of people each purposefully going in a different direction. Each person I saw was headed somewhere—but where was I headed? If I didn't know, how would anyone be able to tell me? Why couldn't someone just take my hand and lead me out of this mad place?

I stood up. I lifted my right foot and placed it a short distance in front of my body. I did the same with my left foot. I repeated this process and, before long, I had begun walking quite briskly. I started dodging those determined people as I tried to figure out where to go. It was then I noticed something peculiar that I hadn't noticed at first. Almost everyone I saw was headed the opposite way I was. They were all quickly pacing the direction behind me. It seemed definitely worth at least a quick look as to what everyone was so interested in. Once this realization came to me, I quickly spun around and began walking with them. I noticed there was a bright shining light far off in the distance. It was such a long ways away, in fact, that it was quite blurry. It looked pretty, and I figured it must be what everyone was heading towards. I kept walking for a while in this direction and, Lo!, it was very beautiful. Quite possibly the most stunning and amazing light I had ever laid eyes upon. The closer I got the more it sparkled—and the more it sparkled, the more my heart desired it.

As the masses drew closer to this light of many colors, I noticed people around me pushing. Some people were starting to get rather rude about the whole ordeal. It was as if each person wanted to get to this jewel first. I kept walking until I felt two strong hands shove me from behind and I fell and slid on my face a few feet. I snapped to my feel and spun around and punched the man square between the eyes. He flew back and whipped out a handful of people behind him on his way to the floor. What had come over me? Why did it feel so good to retaliate? I noticed that I wasn't just pondering this thought—I was walking possibly faster than I had been walking the whole time. I was getting closer now.

It was at this moment that I noticed two or three people lifting an old man up off the dirty, sandstone floor. On the floor you could see little specks of sand, dirt, and pieces of garbage. I remembered the floor feeling like sandpaper when my face had slid on it. The old man had a hole in the right knee of his pants and the threads were long past the point of fraying on both his pants and his white shirt. One lady had a washcloth in her hand and was tending to his wounds. The other man was straightening the older mans torn clothes and pointing back the opposite direction as he murmured something to the old man. The woman began to nod her head in agreement with what the younger man was saying. Before long, the three of them began walking the opposite direction. I looked over my shoulder at first until they were getting far enough away that I needed to turn around in order to see them. Where were they going? How high on the drink must you be to turn away from this light and the hordes of people heading this direction? Were the mad? Perhaps they had fallen one too many times and they couldn't think clearly anymore. Everyone was heading towards this jewel light, why would they go away from it? How could anything be better than this?

Before I could finish this thought I heard the deep and echoing scream of a man and then felt the blow as he ran me over—smacking my head against the stony floor. I came to my senses what must have been no longer than five seconds later because I pulled my bloody face up from the cold floor to see a blurry figure of a large man bounding off towards the diamond-like light. My head then collapsed back to the hard floor in pain. First I figured he must be the one who ran my over—but this was quickly erased with the question of why my eyes were so blurry? I blinked my eyes a few times in hopes my old vision would return to me but it was no use. As I lay on the sandy stone floor, I reached my right hand up to rub my eyes. This didn't do a thing either. The thought came back to me: where had the old man and his helpers gone?

My vision was leaving me. I could no longer see the great light that everyone was fighting to get to. A tear ran from my eye onto the floor. Shortly, my eyes began to weep. I didn't even know what to do now. Why should I run to this great light if I won't even be able to see it? It was at this moment that I almost thought I heard something. It was hard to notice with all the clamoring of feet, jeering of voices, and yells of pain from other fallers like myself. Perhaps it wasn't anything. Perchance it was just another old person falling to the floor. Wait. For a moment I think I heard it again. It wasn't coming from the direction of the sparkly light but rather from far off in the distance—in the direction I had almost forgot I was heading what seemed like years ago. How long had it been since I began heading this direction?

Now on my knees, I looked down into the puddle of my tears. I could hardly make out the picture of my face with my terrible vision. But, the mirror showed a bloody and sad man. From what I could see, there were purple and blue bruises on my face and I felt a large cut in my neck. How could it be that I looked so bad? Why, just a few minutes ago I was young and full of life with the chance to go anywhere in the train station I wanted to. How long had I been pacing towards the jewel light? Before I could get too saddened by the puddle mirror's reflection, I heard that sound again. This time it was a bit louder. I could tell it was a voice now. It was calling my name. The smile that broke on my face reminded me that I had been clenching my teeth in a frown since I turned towards the jewel light so very long ago. But, I smiled. His voice spoke to me again and the smile grew larger.

I didn't fully understand what the words were saying, but it sounded amazing to hear my voice being called from the distance. As I turned and began walking back towards where I had come from, I started to not care that I could hardly see anything. I heard his voice grow louder and louder, and I began to run faster and faster. I could understand some of what he was saying now. "Keep running, my child. Don't look back. I will clean your wounds and give you your sight." It sounded too good to be true. I ran faster than ever now. All of a sudden, I slipped on something and flew through the air only to land on the cold floor once again. I crawled back a ways to see what had caught my foot and sent my flying. Reaching my hands around, I felt a body of a man lying on the floor. I said "hello" and he answered back, "Please don't punch me, sir!" "Why would I punch you?" I said. "You did so about an hour ago—why wouldn't you do it again?" "You're the man I hit?" I said. "Forgive me for I am heading towards a voice now." "I can hear him calling my name from this way." I pointed the direction I had come from many hours ago. "Is that so?" he said. "Yes," I said, "you can come with me." "Why should I come with you?" It was at that moment the voice I'd been hearing said the name Henry. "Henry?" I said puzzled—trying to figure out why the great voice had uttered this name. "What do you want?" said the man lying on the ground. "Is that your name?" I asked surprised. "Of course it is," said the man. "He wants you too, Henry!" I quickly helped Henry to his feet and brushed off his clothes because I assumed, though I could not see, that they were as dirty as mine had been the first time I had fallen.

At this point, Henry was hearing his name being called by the great voice as well. We joined hands and began running towards the great voice we were hearing. "He said he'll make me alive!" said Henry as we ran. I could hear him sniffling and beginning to cry. We ran on. We both decided that we could run faster if we weren't holding on to each other's hands—and so, our bond was broken. "I'll see you later," Henry yelled as he ran on ahead. I could run faster now, but I also began to bump into things. It was getting much harder to see anything at this point and it seemed to be getting darker and darker too. I began to get discouraged and slowed down to a walk. I then brushed my knee on something. After a moment I realized it was a bench. It was the bench I had sat on many hours ago. I sat on it once more now as I contemplated my suffering vision. I looked over my shoulder back towards the jewel light. It sure was brighter in that direction. I could barely see the direction I was headed now. Maybe I should turn around and head back? What was so bad about it, after all? At least, in that direction, the light would help me see. I'd be much happier if I went back towards the jewel light. Why would I trust this voice I heard, even if he was calling my name?

I stood up with every intention of heading towards the jewel light as the voice spoke to me once again. "I am the rest that you need. I am all that you're searching for. The plans are in my hand and you cannot see the whole picture." If this were true, it would change everything. I believed this voice, so I pressed on. It was much harder to see now, but the great voice began talking to me more than he had before.. "This way! To your left!" I ran to my left. "A little more to your right… Keep running!" I ran harder than ever now. "You're almost here... Press on, child!" He was leading me.

The more I ran on towards the great voice, the less people I sensed around me. In fact, as I called out questioningly, I noticed that no one was anywhere near me. I kept running and I think I passed a couple people on the way, but why were so few people heading this direction? The voice spoke again, "This way child!" My legs were growing tired. I collapsed to the floor once again. I couldn't stop moving towards the voice, though. "I'm close now, child. Press on." I began to crawl as I listened to direction from the great, kind voice. "Over the little bridge that is coming up, child, you're almost there." I felt my way to a small wooden bridge and pulled myself across it. The wood was smooth to the touch and felt soft to my aching knees. The water below was a beautiful rushing river. It was blue like the sky and the falls were whiter than the clouds. The warmth of the sun felt like a blanket to my frozen body.

At this moment I realized that not only could I see, but also I could see beauty upon beauty! The luscious green blades of grass sifted between my toes as I was now running through a meadow. I saw a gathering of people up ahead by a large dock in the river. I could see now that the river led to a great sea just off in the distance. A boat was docked there and the great and ever so friendly voice was speaking to everyone. The few people in attendance listened intently. He was the most amazing thing I had ever seen! He was immeasurably brighter than the jewel light I had seen before. I couldn't stop looking at him. I didn't even care about the beauty of the place anymore—I could see him! He asked, after seeing his face, who wanted to go back to the jewel light we had all seen a ways back? I found myself bursting out laughing with all of those around me. It was as if he had told the funniest joke we'd ever heard. Who would trade this glorious light—this light of unending brightness, joy, and hope for the dull sparkle we had seen earlier? Absurd!

He welcomed us all on to his ship. One by one we poured on. As each of us entered the ship, The Great Voice would call us by name, saying: "Well done, my child. You saw the jewel light in the place back there, but you pressed on for something greater. You fought the fight well, my child. Welcome to my ship. Welcome to eternal wonder and mystery!"

with all my heart

Jeremiah 29:11-13
"For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart."

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the LORD with all your heart
and lean not on your own understanding;
in all your ways acknowledge him,
and he will make your paths straight.

Joshua 1:9
[after Moses died and Joshua was charged with leading the people across the Jordan...]

Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

Psalm 31:14
"But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord;
I say, 'You are my God. My times are in Your hand."

time to go, time to go

my earth is trying to hold you
but it's time for you to fly
time for you to experience life
experience joy
experience me

this earth has housed you for a while
your lungs were made for so much more
the air you breathe is not desired
your father knows
your father knows

you've been visiting a country
that was never made to be your home
the time has come for us to meet
time to go
time to go

[1/8/08 - 9:30 p.m.]


[things I'm working on]

I am in love
in love with your light
won't you hold on to me tonight?
Capture my heart
Romance my soul

Take everything
I give it away
Down at your feet is where I lay
all of my treasures
and I will take a chance
with this divine romance

The Sun and God: A Comparison of Light

The Sun and God: A Comparison of Light
January 29th, 2008

It takes a power outage to realize just how much we rely on lights in our day-to-day life. When all the lights suddenly shut off and it is dark, the only light we can see is the light of the Sun. When there is power, however, we try to fill up our homes with the imitations of the Sun. We use lamps and light bulbs to imitate what the Sun gives us. But, none of these imitations could come close to the brightness of the Sun. We see this comparison differently with a power outage when we see just how much brighter the Sun is. That’s hard to see when our homes, offices, and schools are filled with imitations of its light.

Similarly, we fill up our homes and lives with imitations of God. Whereas the Sun brings us light of no comparison, God brings us peace, joy, hope, security, pleasure, beyond anything we could imagine. But we try to imitate these characteristics. We’re taught that we can gain those things for ourselves—we can create them. If we work hard enough at our jobs, we can make our own security. If we plan for an early retirement in the tropics, we’ll have peace. If you make enough money, you’ll be able to buy a new car, which will definitely bring joy. If you’re free enough to travel the world—that will bring you pleasure. Do you see what we’ve done? Just like the lamps and light bulbs, our imitations of God could never compare with his characteristics. If we were asked to compare the brightness of a lamp and the Sun, we would laugh at the absurdity of it. There is no way the lamp could ever come anywhere close to competing with the Sun.

There is no way that jobs, retirements, cars or travels could ever compete with the peace, joy, hope, security, and pleasure that is our God. The comparison is a joke—and yet, every single day, we compare them in our minds and—here’s the sad and scary part: after comparing them in our minds, most of the time we pick the imitation.

The Words I Remember

The Words I Remember

There are very few times in my life when I’m honestly listening to and focused on the words someone is speaking. I can think of a couple off the top of my head: One of the times is when I’m talking with a friend or family member. Another time is when someone is telling me directions to a location. There is, however, one other time when I’m truly listening and its existence caught my attention today. While finishing up my dinner tonight, I suddenly remembered a phrase that a teacher had said to me over a year ago. Now, fortunately for me, this isn’t the first time I’ve remember something a teacher has said. This particular instance was different. Sure, in the past, I’ve remembered test answers or lines such as, “Never place a quote and let it stand; always use it to your advantage,” which was something an early writing teacher of mine had told me. But never had the words of a teacher echoed within my head so resoundingly like this specific line did. Perhaps it’s because I wonder if it’s true; or, perhaps because I know it isn’t. But when Mr. Amacher said, “Truth. What is Truth? That’s just it; no one can ever find it,” I was left wondering.

A Quest for Truth
Have you ever had one of those moments where, as you’re hearing something, you know you’re going to remember it forever? Now, I don’t just mean the words—I’m talking about remembering where you were, who was with you, and the context in which it was spoken? This was one of those moments for me. Sure, there are right and wrong answers to test questions—but that’s not the kind of truth I’m talking about; that’s not the kind of truth Mr. Armacher was talking about. What if there was a truth that unlocked everything and let the whole world make sense? Picture a kind of truth that held the key to true joy, true love, true peace, and true life. Imagine a kind of truth that, once you held it, you distanced yourself immeasurably from the people who didn’t have the truth—yet it was so simple to get. This was the kind of truth my teacher was talking about. It’s the kind of truth most people don’t believe exists.

Do I believe it exists? Do you believe it exists? Before we answer those questions, we must understand that, if it does exist—if there is a Truth that holds true joy, love, peace and life in its hands—it changes everything. We can’t discover something this beautiful—this great—and walk away saying, “Hmm, that was cool. Where’s the closest Starbucks?” If there is a Truth in our time that, once held, makes all the difference in the world, and if this Truth is so hidden, yet so simple to get, wouldn’t we seek to know it with all our minds and hearts? And, once we had a glimpse of this Truth—this Truth that no one believes could possibly exist—wouldn’t we be so eager, so willing, and so enthusiastically ready to show the world that it did exist and what it means for them?

Two Questions
I’ll leave us both with two final questions. Because the Truth is so important, these two questions mean everything for you and me. First, what does it mean to believe in something? Perhaps a better way to look at this is by saying: How does believing in something change the way you act? For instance, I’ve yet to meet someone who didn’t believe the sun would rise in the morning. How does this change the way they act? Well, they’re banking on the sun rising. They’ve planned everything around the sun rising in the morning in such a way that, if the sun didn’t rise and tomorrow didn’t happen, they’d be totally ruined. They don’t sit around storing up Vitamin D just in case the sun doesn’t rise—they’re completely banking on it happening. This is what it means to truly believe in something. If you’re not willing to put all your eggs in one basket, then you don’t truly believe. Now that we know what it means to believe, I’m led to my second question for us both: Do you believe in the Truth—the Truth that most people don’t believe can ever be found; the Truth that most people will never find?

"I am the way and the truth and the life"