Life: A Perilous Journey

Another Reflection by Patrick Miron

My friend, have you ever considered, or pondered just why we exist? I suspect that most of us have, even if only momentarily.  Many of us though have not given it deep thought, careful in depth consideration; perhaps concluding it’s “too profound,” or simply a waste of time?

Yet not knowing, not understanding the purpose of our existence is self-defeating. Even a “copout.” What we don’t know, can hurt us.

The Bible itself gives hints; like:

1Cor.9 Verses 20 to 27
“To the Jews I became as a Jew, in order to win Jews; to those under the law I became as one under the law — though not being myself under the law — that I might win those under the law. To those outside the law I became as one outside the law — not being without law toward God but under the law of Christ — that I might win those outside the law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak. I have become all things to all men that I might by all means save some. I do it all for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings. Do you not know that in a race all the runners compete, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.
Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Well, I do not run aimlessly, I do not box as one beating the air; but I pommel my body and subdue it, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified”

Jesus Himself gives some helpful {and at times, frightening hints}:

Matt.10: 38 “and he who does not take his cross and follow me is not worthy of me.”

Mark 8:34 And he called to him the multitude with his disciples, and said to them, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me”

Luke 9: 23 “And he said to all, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me”

Which seem to contradict the following:

3John.1: 4 “No greater joy can I have than this, to hear that my children follow the truth.”

Jas.1:2 “Count it all joy, my brethren, when you meet various trials”

Heb.12: 2 “looking to Jesus the pioneer and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God”

Phil.2: 2 “complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.”

2Cor.8:2 “for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of liberality on their part”

Rom.15: 13 “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”

John.15:11 “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

Awhile back it came to me that a brief, but accurate description of “Life”, can be explained as being “The God Test.”  …. Humanity and the Universe are simply to complex, too profound not to have a reason for their existence.

Paul describes life as a “Race”, and Jesus interjects that “Life” will have its “crosses”, its trails and test.

From this we can conclude:

  1. There will be winners and losers
  2. That Life is by intent a challenge; a test
  3. That there are expectations {a sort of “do and don’t do guide.}
  4. That we are expected to be active participants; actively engaged in this endeavor; not mere spectators, but engaged participants.

What might Jesus mean when he tells us {repeatedly} to “take up OUR crosses?

Phil.2: 8 “And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross Luke.9 :23 And he said to all, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.Mark.8: 34 And he called to him the multitude with his disciples, and said to them, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. Luke.9: 23 And he said to all, “If any man would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me. Luke.14: 7 Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me, cannot be my disciple.”

The First thing we must recognize is the literal message of these teachings. If we choose not to permit God to be in complete charge of our lives; we are unnecessarily, even foolishly adding to the burdens of our crosses.

Like choosing right verses wrong, good or evil or as Deut.30:  19 tells us: “I call heaven and earth to witness against you this day, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse; therefore choose life, that you and your descendants may live” {meaning spiritually: Eternal heaven or hell.} Our choice.

It is because Life is “a God Test” that “crosses”, that is trials and hardships are to be expected. It is then our “test” to see if we are willing to accept them. If and when we do, without complaint; turning to our God with  humble trust: “Thy Will be done,” please give me {us} the grace to accept your Divine Will for me {us} at this time, that we open ourselves to grace, and even, if God wills this cross for me;  in humility, and in benign acceptance seeking God’s help in actually bearing whatever that cross might be.

Consider this reality:

Nothing, no matter how seemingly insignificant, to those occasional life-changes events that occur; not one of them takes place without God’s permission. There simply is no such things as “luck” {either good or bad}, or coincidences. Everything, yes everything that passes our life path and everyone we meet even briefly are a part of God’s life-plan for us. ….. A part of our “Life-Test.”

Take the people we meet for example. Every one of them crosses our path so that they might influence us, or that we might influence them, either for good, or for evil. ….. We may never know what a smile meant to some stranger, or a “God Bless you”, or even a “thank you”. …. And even within our families and workplaces we need to be aware that we are constantly on display, on stage as it were. Does this awareness then hold the potential to change our actions, our thoughts, our responses? It should.

Our words and our actions hold the potential to help someone, or to hurt someone; and we may not even be conscious of it.

Everything that happens to us, has a reason. It is either caused or permitted by our God.

1.    Permitted for God’s Greater Glory, or

2.    Permitted for at least the possibility of God’s greater Glory And our possible sanctification.

God is Glorified each time we make the “right” choice. When we choose good over evil.

But consider this: God is also Glorified even when we mess up and choose evil over good. How can this be?  ….. It is because God chooses to give to humanity alone, in all of the Created Universe, the opportunity to be sanctified {offered His grace], by giving each Soul an attached mind, intellect and freewill, thus enabling us to choose for ourselves, good or evil. So then by being enabled to freely choose, we are thereby obligated to choose wisely.

That exclusive ability to freely choose is what makes Life such a perilous journey.  ….. Take time to ponder just why humanity exist.

Isaiah 43: verses 7 & 21

[7] Everyone who is called by my name,
whom I created for my glory,
whom I formed and made.”

[21] The people whom I formed for myself,

      that they might declare my praise.

Heb.6: 10 “For God is not so unjust as to overlook your work and the love which you showed for his sake in serving the saints, as you still do.”

Rev.2: 23 “and I will strike her children dead. And all the churches shall know that I am he who searches mind and heart, and I will give to each of you as your works deserve.”

1 Peter 1: 17 “Now if you invoke as Father him who judges impartially according to each one’s works, conduct yourselves with reverence during the time of your sojourning, “

“ Matt.19: 17 “And he said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? One there is who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” 

Rom.2: 13 “For it is not the hearers of the law who are righteous before God, but the doers of the law who will be justified.”

God Bless you, and may He be permitted by us to guide our life’s-path!

Patrick

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