The sadness of life is that everyone and everything passes away, to be forgotten, to be replaced by someone else; the young replace the old; new ways of doing things replace old ways of doing things; soon, we are living lives we never dreamed of.
We look for tradition, we hold onto it; we look for what is constant, but the only thing constant in life is change. One minute we’re new, the next we’re teenagers, the next we’re adults; life moves on whether we want it to or not.
We all complain too much in the West, the rich countries; maybe this ‘credit-crunch’ is a time to take stock of what is really important in life; family and friends, faith, God, a roof over our heads and just a full fridge of food; maybe if we all counted our blessings now and again and were just grateful for the small comforts and small mercies in life, we would all stop clamouring and yearning for what we haven’t got.
Part of Christian living is to be content with what you have and not be carping and complaining about what you don’t have. Of course, I’m not suggesting you accept wretched poverty or anything like that, no one should live in any kind of poverty, even if some people in the West sadly do. No, I’m saying that most of us, neither rich nor wretchedly poor, should first count our blessings before we do anything else. It’s not a cop-out to say that if a person is suffering serious poverty, the first thing they should do as a Christian is to pray for help and guidance.
The goodness of life is that we can all play our part, whoever we are. And just because society can be hard and unyielding and can be tough on ‘failures’ and ‘losers’, someone like me in fact, God is ultimately merciful; He will hear you out and He will give you a second chance.
To say you fully understand life and all it means is to make yourself a liar because no one I think fully understands life and all its complications, but surely one of the most important things in life is to be happy. I have struggled against depression, unhappiness, unemployment, disappointments and toxic friendships for chunks of my life; if anyone can talk about happiness and its value, then surely I can!
We need each other! There, I’ve said it, the bloke who’s a Christian but doesn’t go to church! If life is a big puzzle, and making sense of it certainly isn’t easy, then we all have a piece of that puzzle; together we can put the puzzle together and make sense of it all.
Years seem to fly by when you’re an adult; why is that? Are we always expecting something that never comes? When we were kids summer holidays seemed to go on forever; is this the eternity God promises us, not worrying about anything, but having childlike trust? Is believing in God believing in a kind of magic, magic that for some of us we lose as we get older? Maybe we need to look again at what we believe.
‘Remember the deeds performed by our ancestors, each in his generation, and you will win great honour and everlasting renown.
Was not Abraham tested and found faithful, was that not considered as justifying him?
Joseph in the time of his distress maintained the Law, and so became lord of Egypt.
Phinehas, our father, in return for his burning zeal, received the covenant of everlasting priesthood.
Joshua, for carrying out his task, became judge of Israel.
Caleb, for his testimony before the assembled people, received an inheritance in the land.
David for his generous heart inherited the throne of an everlasting kingdom.
Elijah for his consuming fervour for the Law was caught up to heaven itself.
Hananiah, Azariah and Mishael, for their fidelity, were saved from the flame.
Daniel for his singleness of heart was rescued from the lion’s jaws.
Know then that, generation after generation, no one who hopes in him will be overcome.
Do not fear the threats of the sinner, all his brave show must come to the dunghill and the worms.
Exalted today, tomorrow he is nowhere to be found, for he has returned to the dust he came from and his scheming is brought to nothing.’ (1 Maccabees 2: 51-63 NJB)