Whilst I was emailing an old friend (a friend from the old days) recently, I suddenly recognised how much water had passed under the bridge, so to speak. In the ten intervening years since we last spoke there had been much change in both our lives; it seemed as though I could write a book (or several books) on the changes that had occurred within my own life.
Then I got to thinking, we pack a lot into life, don’t we? We only live day by day and yet we still feel, think, say, and do so much.
When I first entered university life I was astounded by the size of everything. These ‘bodies of knowledge’ are basically self-sufficient communities in the broadest sense, small cities even, with a myriad of relevant sub-cultures percolating through the community. In a sense, this microcosm of life gets huger than anyone could possibly grasp, notwithstanding a Dean (with all his or her ‘helpers,’ viz the Executive and operational structures to support it all.) The point is something as ‘small’ as a university gets mind-bogglingly massive very quickly.
And life itself gets very deep, very quickly. This is something that smacks the adolescent in the face as they enter adulthood; no one can warn them or prepare them enough for the onset of challenges that is likely to meet them. They have to face them alone, and experience--which is harsh at times--is their greatest teacher.
It’s a bit like the soon-to-be-parent. They can plan the whole pregnancy through; preparing their physical environment, building knowledge, preparing their hearts… but when the crunch comes, when baby shrieks for the very first time, it suddenly dawns on that couple or that mother that things have irrevocably changed. Life gets deeper.
We can only prepare intellectually so much, and then we have to experience this new thing.
And this is how faith is developed; no one is born with faith. Faith can only be grown in the furnace of trial and despair melded with the songs of triumph and bliss.
When we begin to see that knowledge and experience are power in this world, because we’ve harnessed them, we’re tempted to pay tribute to them unduly. We reverence them.
Yet, there is something higher than knowledge and experience, and power and size; indeed, knowledge and experience, and power and size simply call us toward the Creator of everything:
“The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands. Day after day they pour forth speech; night after night they display knowledge. There is no speech or language where their voice is not heard” –Psalm 19:1-3 (NIV).
Everything from the stars to the skies, right down to our own successes (and even our failures) highlights God’s role in Creation. The psalmist above simply describes how incredibly enduring the heavens are, and how they speak for God and his unattainable mystery.
Life, over our life spans, gets deeper and deeper, if we choose to grow, and even invariably often times when we don’t--by virtue of the things we take on, be they marriage and children, an education, or a career. There is One who holds us up and gifts us with these abilities to harness all this knowledge and experience, power and size. He is behind everything.
Copyright © 2009, S. J. Wickham. All Rights Reserved Worldwide.