better men than me
I haven't had a piece of music here for quite a while and I found this one today. It provoked all kinds of thoughts & feelings within me. Included in these there materialised a new and profound respect for my dear atheist friends.
I can't get past it. Lovely people that most of them are, atheists are nevertheless people who are content - as far as I can see - with there being no meaning to life. Oh, they declare they have a meaning that is useful to them, but the trouble is that I have yet to hear one of any use to me that does not include God (ah yes, it's all about me). Yet in all the pain and meaninglessness of this life, these Titans find they do not require anything beyond the material to provide all the answers they need.
Therefore the atheist is a hero to me, a colossus.
Atheists just don't seem to feel the need for a personal connection with the Truth - He who is eternal life. The need that I find within myself does not seem to burden them in the slightest.
Given the equation: what is the source of everything you see, feel and know - nothing, or God? They say "nothing". Similarly the question: "Where does everything return to at its end - nothing, or God?" They ask why it should be expected to "return" anywhere. Again they choose nothing.
To cope with everything that life has to throw at them with the bedrock belief that they came from nothing and will return to nothing indicates a colossal strength of character that I find I am totally unable to match. Hence my undying admiration for them.
Me...little weak me... I just can't cope with the answers our culture offers me for all the pain & futility that life serves up. My wife and I have lost two children; we struggle and work; we've been betrayed and denied by people we dearly love. Too many times. I see myself age, I lose powers I once thought I'd always possess. All around me I see others making mistakes that I think I could help them with, but I seem unable to do so. The world itself seems to be quickly falling into decay and that certainly is too large for me to forestall. My strength fails.
As the psalmist wrote:
As for man, his days are like grass—he blooms like a flower of the field;
when the wind passes over, it vanishes, and its place remembers it no more.
And yet from everlasting to everlasting the loving devotion of the LORD extends to those who fear Him,
and His righteousness to their children’s children
Within me I observe a craving, as St Augustine noted, "You have made us for yourself, O Lord, and our heart is restless until it rests in you." Ah, beautiful. Nothing is more true for me (and it's all about me).
But then I am a very weak man - weak in mind and in strength. I must be to even register this terrible ache within me that I cannot fill with all the baubles and trinkets of this world or with the wisdom of those who feel no need for God. So please don't listen to me. What a fool I am. I have nothing to offer anyone in this maze I have to navigate other than Christ. Only He could fill the vacuum within me.
I don't know about you... I can't say about you...but I just can't understand how anyone endures this ache, this chasm without God. It is simply incomprehensible to me.
Please go and ask one of those clever atheists. They have a hundred marvelous reasons to remove from us the burden of seeking this God who "doesn't exist". A hundred reasons that I seem to be too dull to understand. For regrettably, this life makes no sense to me whatever apart from finding my life in God - and God revealed himself to me in Jesus when I hit rock bottom all those years ago.
Back then I broke the rules in desperation when I cried out to the God that very clever people had always taught me didn't exist.
As another of my heroes, Blaise Pascal, wrote, "The heart has its reasons which reason knows nothing of... We know the truth not only by the reason, but by the heart". Imagine that brilliant intellectual, still so weak he could not make sense of life without God. Even he was a weakling.
So, honour the atheists! They are happy and content without any of this. Better men than me, the lot of them. And I will always admire that kind of strength.
But sadly, for me, I can again only reflect Augustine:
My heart is listening, Lord; open the ears of my heart and say to my soul, I am your salvation.
Let me run towards this voice and seize hold of you.
Do not hide your face from me: let me die so that I may see it, for not to see it would be death to me indeed.