Monday, August 21, 2006

Hope

I had an interesting conversation on the train on Saturday with a couple of students, who knew each other vaguely. One of them revealed that their mother was suffering from cancer at a fairly young age (except like a lot of people these days, she couldn't bring herself to say the word "cancer").

That sucks. Jesus wept when a friend of his died young - I don't see any reason why we should do otherwise. It is horrible, it is painful, it is not the way things will be in eternity. With that in mind, I'm really sorry if what comes next upsets people. This isn't what I said; this is me looking at some of what was said in a detatched way. This is what I might have said to the student whose mum was not suffering like that, if I'd known him well, and if the other person hadn't been there.

He came up with various "consolations", which were pretty rubbish and didn't really help.

Everything happens for a reason.

It's true! I agree with it! Everything happens for a reason! But the only reason I can believe that is that I know there's a God who is in control, who knows what he's doing even when everything seems to be going wrong, who isn't sitting idly by when people suffer but who radically came into the world as a man, who suffered, bled and died and yet who was still in control then, who used that for good.

But I don't see any reason why someone who doesn't believe in a God like that should think that everything happens for a reason. As far as I can tell, without God, there is no real purpose to anything. Things happen. They cause other things to happen. People die. But there's no real point to any of it without God.

Whatever doesn't kill you can only make you stronger.

Yeah, right. Like cutting both your legs off and giving you a frontal lobotomy makes you stronger.

I'll be honest. I can't see what hope people who aren't Christians can have in this world. Several years ago, I got very depressed. I got to the point where I felt so down about my faith that I decided to stop being a Christian (not because I thought it was untrue, but because I thought it was too difficult psychologically). It took me about two or three minutes before I realised that life seemed completely pointless and futile and I changed my mind again.

Seriously, I know there are some very bright and seemingly pretty well-adjusted people who read this who aren't Christians. How do you cope? Where do you find your hope in life? All that I can see is something along the lines of it's probably pointless, but might as well enjoy it while it lasts.

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