Change

Change is difficult.  Change forges new pathways for us to take whether we want to walk those pathways or not.  Change can be a dark alleyway with surprises lurking in the shadows, surprises we could not have foreseen.  Or it can be an open highway of both celebration and happiness.  Whatever your change entails, I assure you it will be both exilerating and terrifying.

In a world that demonstrates change so often, why are we as humans so scared of it?  Even nature displays change on a daily basis, whether it be through seasonal weather or the change of the tide.  Everything around us screams for change but we strike back with complacency.  We enjoy the comfort and consistency that surrounds us.  When a new opportunity is dropped in front of us we run and hide, rather than greet that opportunity face to face.  Why?  Because change hurts.  Change rips our world apart and fills it with something foreign.  It clouds and confuses our previous image of the world.  Change, regardless of how big or small, essentially creates a new existence for us.  A new state of being.  We lose control of what we thought we knew and instead are taken on a new journey lacking any control.  Change has brought me to tears and will surely do so again in the coming months.  It has buckled me over with pain and flattened me with heartache.  But when facing change, one must remember what comes of it.  A discovery of one’s new self is inevitable as change makes you cast your old self to memory.  Memories can be cherished for an eternity.  Self-defining change may come just once in a lifetime.  “When we are no longer able to change a situation – we are challenged to change ourselves.” (Viktor Frankl).  And let us not forget the ever present consistency with us through all our change.  Christ.  He remains, without change.  A rock among leaves.  His love, mercy and grace are unchanging, and given without being deserved.  Through change, we must cast our eyes upon Him.  Fear nothing, for He is with us.  Fear no change, for He is God.

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” Hebrews 13:8

Death

Death.  One of two experiences every human being on this earth shares, the other birth.  It is something inevitable to us all, something which we cannot escape.  It may happen after five years of living, or a hundred.  Despite how long or short we may live, we all face death.  Why then do we all fear the inevitable?  Why do we fear something we know is going to happen?  I fear death, oh, how I fear death.  It isn’t the pain or human emotion that I fear, but rather, the absence of life.  The absence that, we as living beings, know nothing of yet think about every moment of our existence.  Every culture and religion that has existed in history has been distraught over what happens when we die.  Do we simply cease to exist or do we transition into a “Heaven and Hell” where we will either spend eternity in either pain or happiness?  Being a follower of Christ, I believe in the latter, that by belief in Jesus’ death and forgiveness we are saved and will spend eternity with Him in paradise.  However, despite this, I still fear losing the life I so cherish on this earth.  Even so, I would argue that we fear a life wasted far more than a life lost.  Will I be remembered for what I did, rather than for what I didn’t do? Did I even make an impact on the lives of others, or was I merely chasing after my own selfish thoughts and desires?  It is these questions that strike the fear into our hearts.  But rather than ask ourselves these questions, we should be out living because since we all do indeed die, why waste time fearing what is to come?  A friend once told me this, “Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out and proclaiming, ‘WOW!  What a ride.'”  Take up your cross, and get out into the world God created.  Don’t let the the inevitability of death stop you from living.

“Jesus said to her, ‘I am the resurrection and the life.  He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.  Do you believe this?'”  John 11: 25-26

Loneliness In a World of Billions

The world we live in has roughly 7.1 billion people on it, and this number is increasing every second we live.  The United States alone has roughly 314 million within its borders.  How is it then that we can ever experience loneliness on this planet of billions?

I wake up every morning and immediately begin to go through what must be done in the 12 hours of daylight I have been given.  Most of the time, I have a couple classes usually followed by a practice or some other type of commitment.  Being on a campus of 40,000+ college students, I am constantly surrounded by people each of these 12 hours.  However, when my activities and scheduled commitments are through and I lie in my bed ready to sleep, I am alone.  Certainly on a planet as large as ours, one cannot “be alone.”  But we are.  We are stuck inside the chamber of our own minds, desperately fighting the demons within.  I walk through campus passing lonely individual after lonely individual, each with their headphones in, ironically seeking isolation to fill the void of loneliness in their soul.  Rather than seek community with one another, we run to fill our lives with more appointments and more commitments.  But love is the only way to destroy our pathetic loneliness.  Christ created us to love one another, not entrench ourselves in lonely isolation and busyness.  When I lie in bed, wallowing in self pity and loneliness, it is only the love found in community and Christ that can raise me out of myself.  We walk past one another on the street and smile as if our lives are perfect, but never think to bare our demons to another passing soul.  Why must we put on this facade that our lives are swell when inside we are dying?  Love endlessly and partake in community with one another, for this is the only true remedy for squelching our loneliness.  But most of all, love and be loved by our Father.  For when we are lonely, He is there with an eternity of love, designed specifically for each one of us.

“Be strong and courageous.  Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you.  He will not leave you or forsake you.”  Deuteronomy 31:6

Identity Crisis

Never before has one’s self worth been so strongly defined by their “identity” than in society today.  The epitome of the college student today is what they will be remembered for, what they will do to change the world and what they will be doing in the future.  These three concepts are so violently thrust upon us that we have no choice but to succumb, to allow these things to define who we are on this earth.  In fact, we arrive at college with a preconceived notion of who we are, of what we enjoy and who we want to become.  This is what high school was essentially, four years of finding your niche, only to have that niche struck down immediately upon entering a brand new environment.  But instead of attempting to truly discover who we may be on the inside, many a student will begin rebuilding the crutch of identity they so desperately clung too.  Organizations garner new members, corporations begin scouting new recruits and classrooms fill with wide-eyed, scared students who don’t even know the purpose of the class that they themselves are sitting in.  There is no room for self discovery in the typical American university.  So what can be done?  The answer is truly quite simple, but hardly revolutionary.  We turn to Christ, to His Father, the one who created us.  In Him, we can find our identity as children of God.  Nothing more and nothing less.  What greater news is there to be heard then that of which I just said?  Cast away your fears, troubles and insecurities in who you are and what you identify yourself with.  So many lost souls that must only look towards Christ to be found.  What kind of world is possible if we all identify ourselves in Christ, and Christ alone?

“Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.  Set your mind on things above, not on earthly things.  For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.”  Colossians 3:1-3

Our Existence

My soul feels lost, like that of a dog without its owner.  I jump to a world without His existence, a world where my every human desire can be met in an instant.  As if this world can cure the longing in my soul.  I continue to run in the opposite direction, away from Him.  I run and run and run.  I tell myself that I can do what I want, can do whatever fulfills the gaping hole within me, but I am lost.  Forever chasing something that can not be made to fulfill a longing, I am a hamster running on a repetitive wheel of sin.  Being a male, I lustfully look towards women to satisfy my desires.  I drink on the weekends to allow my soul to “open” up to other lost souls.  But what does a lost soul tell another that has anything of value?  We run to fellow man hoping, no, even praying he has the answer we are looking for.  After another wasted conversation, a wasted breath on this earth, we find they have no answer to our longing.  No response to stop the fulfillment we so desperately seek.  Somehow through all this confusion, all this sin and pain that we inflict upon ourselves, the Lord shines through.  He breaks us down when we are most lost.  For me, this doesn’t come through the church, or any other conventional way of “connecting” with God.  It comes through His creation.  The literal place that we exist in creates wonder within me so much so that I cannot even fathom not following Christ.  Every aspect of His wondrous world drawing me nearer to Him even when I, in my never ending sin, continue to fight it.  With so much of His creation laid out before us, I find it comical that we ever looked elsewhere.  Nothing outside of our Creator will we find the fulfillment our souls so desperately desire.

“O God, You are my God; I shall see You earnestly; My soul thirst for You, my flesh earns for You, in a dry and weary land where there is no water.”  Psalms 63:1