Suddenly, my problems felt so small as I listened to him cry to me over the phone. His grandfather had passed away. Died crying out in pain from the symptoms of his Leukemia. I listened to him the best I could trying to understand his words as he sobbed. Eventually he decided he needed to get off the phone and be helpful. I let him go, offering my condolences and feeling quite helpless about everything.
I had just spent two hours at the walk in clinic taking care of an eardrum perforated by a tube that had fallen out of the eardrum that I had stupidly shoved back into the eardrum with a q-tip while cleaning my ears. It was removed, and I had planned to fill in my boyfriend who only an hour before had asked me how things were going. When he answered I knew something terrible was going on. He was spending time with his Grandfather on weekends these days. His Grandfather had refused all treatments including pain meds, and had spent the last few days in pain already. For a few weeks prior my boyfriend was expressing the same agonizing frustration about his Grandfathers condition, wondering when the end would come. Wondering if he would be in pain for much longer.
It was not a peaceful way to go. Not the way most people would like. There was no quiet sedate state. There was no pain management. Not even in a hospital.
The worst part for my boyfriend was the state of his grandfathers soul. To his Grandfather there was no God. No hope for life after now. Just the silence of a life that felt meaningless and empty. No comfort for the family either. None of them felt there was a God, but my boyfriend and I, and we seem to mourn much more deeply and openly because of our faith.
He and I both believe that death is unnatural. Yes, everyone faces it, but our theology indicates that death was not created by God, rather a byproduct of the free will he gave his angels and humans, and often creatures with free will and selfish agendas (which was also chosen by us, I recommend Genesis) are going to make mistakes when tempted by other creatures with free will and selfish agendas. We fear it because it is a result of mistakes manifested into a fear of the unknown. But we also believe that even though death exists, God offered a way out of eternal death by offering us forgiveness. Forgiveness for making the wrong choices with our free will. Redeeming us. All we do is choose to believe that grace was offered to us though the death and resurrection of Jesus, the Son of God, and accept it.
Of course, that hope isn’t perceived as instantaneous. Our lives don’t suddenly get better like our selfishness wants. We see that hope after death, and in small glimpses in our lives. Moments where we had something good happen. Moments where something bad didn’t get worse. When things are as bad as they get, and we do not struggle alone.
Judge the preachy part of my post softly, I don’t expect everyone to agree with us, because it can seem unbelievable at times. Some Christians really suck at being Christians. Some are spiteful because they are in conflict with their own selfishness. They want to play God. They are imperfect people trying to get along with other imperfect people.
We believe because of all the historic accounts of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, and how much sense forgiveness makes in a world that needs a lot more forgiveness. Not to mention the many accounts of much of the history portrayed in the Bible in other ancient texts in lands distant from those lands that the events occurred. It makes the best sense to us. To live for others. To let go of individualism for a more collectivist approach. It’s not a belief that derives out of need of comfort, because everything about being told to forgive in an unforgivable world, and love in a loveless world is very uncomfortable. To talk about something that people want to ignore is difficult. To be told you are wrong by people who are living dissatisfied and broken lives without realizing their is a faith designed for just that kind of persons problems and offers hope. To be told you might die for this, but to love your enemies anyway, is a struggle. To be told it’s a myth, when there are plenty of cultures and historical documents that affirm it happened. People forget there are miraculous things happening all over the world, because we are bogged down by our own selfishness. Our own problems. We won’t step outside what we know to see what we don’t know.
Today, my problems seem very small in light of such uncomfortable comfort.