Thursday, July 01, 2004

so that i may be reasonably happy in this life

i like that word 'reasonably'. very grounded, realistic. i can live a pretty ok life being 'reasonably' happy. my friend was giving the lead at our recovery group the other night and talked of how she was a pessimist, glass 1/2 empty. that got me thinking. i don't think i'm either a pessimist or an optomist. i'm a realist. it is what it is. i'm okay with that. contentment with today. taking it for what is is instead of what i wish it would be.

one of the problems of that the overemphasis of the rapture, end times and heaven had in my upbringing was that it left me very unprepared for 'this life'. give a depressed christian a reason and they'll tell you how they can't wait to get to heaven, how this life 'down here' is so horrible, how they just wish jesus would come today. that was me. i really never understood that my eternal life starts today. here. now.

in this life - not just waiting for godot. i'm really beginning to think that this theology has a lot of flaws, not because of biblical 'proof texts' or anything, but really because of the way it leaves it's adherents so ill prepared for 'this life'. and i'm not talking about 'so heavenly minded that they're no earthly good' kind of mystical christians - just people who really don't give a damn about the here and now. it's almost an excuse not to care. 'jesus is coming back soon' is a great excuse not to reduce, reuse and recycle, or there will always be rumors of wars, so praying for peace is nearly seen as unbiblical.

i have come to believe that 'this life' is precious, important and meaningful. i don't believe it's just heaven's waiting room where we're supposed to fritter away our time in 'rapture practice'. so many times i have excused myself and the western church for our complete lack of global perspective. for truly not caring for the poor and the oppressed, the widows and the orphans. i believe when we finally figure out that there is truly a purpose 'here and now' then we will begin to change the world.

i had the honor of hearing gary haugen speak at a national youth workers convention a couple years ago. he is the founder of the international justice mission. he explained how the church of the past systematically introduced the world to health care, evangelism, feeding the hungry and clothing the poor in each consecutive generation. he said that this generation of young people that we work with were going to be the generation that brought the world justice.

they have a t-shirt that i proudly wear. it says 'seek justice'. this ministry fills a deep place in my soul. they assist the poor and oppressed in legal issues all over the world. they free bonded laborers in india, storm into brothels and rescue 6 year old girls from forced prostitution in asia.

they are doing for others what couldn't be done for me. by supporting them financially and in prayer i am able to 'seek justice' on their behalf. it brings me great peace. peace like i never thought would exist. there's a large part of step 12 in this for me. i know i'm not the one taking the message, but someone is taking the message of freedom to them. to those baby girls forced to have sex with strangers 15 times a day. to those families trapped in generations of slavery. to the rape victim who has no one to stand up for them, they do, and they do it well.

it's been a huge part of my recovery, and played a great role in helping me to be 'reasonably happy in this life'.

father, just for today help me to be content with reasonably. help my reach not to exceed my grasp. help me to remember that i am on this earth for a reason, not to wish this away with thoughts of escape. keep me grounded in this perfect present. amen.

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