I had a long, reflective post in the hopper for today, but as Ecclesiastes says, “to every thing there is a season”…and today I’m just happy. So I decided to write this instead. Don’t worry: the long, reflective post will be up in the next week or so. In the meantime, this: a brief and honest exploration of why I’m happy that I am a Christian. Feel free to add yours in the comments.
1. God has broadened my world and my worldview. When you’re small, you believe God’s church is just the little one that you attend, that Christians are the ones that you know and love most, and that God is mostly at work in your county/state/country. And then, as you grow, your understanding of who God is and how God works everywhere, all over, grows too. I’ve met so many people – and so many different kinds of people – from so many different countries and circumstances! I’ve had so many experiences I didn’t expect. I love to learn and grow and God never tires of teaching. Being able to grow spiritually and to realize that God and the church are so much bigger and encompass so much more than I could have ever dreamed…it’s amazing. It also means that I’ve come to realize that the church holds multitudes, and is quite capable of holding even those who disagree, who have conflicting personalities, or different cultural experiences and understandings. It’s a marvelous thing.
2. I have a Friend with infinite resources and infinite love to grow our friendship. As I grow older, I appreciate more and more that God is sovereign, infinite, beyond my understanding. I am childishly grateful for a God who never tires of hearing me talk to Him. Who is merciful enough to forgive everything. Who patiently seeks out the 100th sheep. Every time I fail or fall or feel myself running short on patience or compassion or understanding or wisdom I remember that, at the very least, God has an infinite amount of all of those and between us that’s enough. Our relationship is enabled precisely because He has more than all of everything that matters and is willing to give as much as I need – and often more. Love is with me, always, because God is with me, always.
3. My heart has always longed for The Great Story, and that story is true, and that story is mine. As far back as I can remember I have loved stories. I loved the last stand against Sauron in The Lord of the Rings and wept over the Battle of Unnumbered Tears in the Silmarillion. I adored Aslan and Narnia. Reading Stephen Lawhead’s Song of Albion trilogy, I wanted to travel through time to the source of myths and legends and to see for myself from whence they grew. And I have known for a very long time that the ache I feel in reading those is a hunger for what they represent: for what they hint at and acknowledge rests just beyond their boundaries. Knowing Christ is, for me, understanding that the great Hero does exist, and is real. That the great battle of all ages has already been fought, and won. That a glorious land I have never seen before, one that surpasses the hidden paradises in every ancient mythos, is waiting. That the great Love Story and the perfect Lover exists. That there will, indeed, be a happy and joyous ending…one that is another beginning, too. That there is a great and unfolding Story ahead that will last for all time, and I have barely glimpsed the prologue.
4. There is no end. I hate when good things end. I still get the sniffles when we leave Ireland, and when I watch my mom’s car pull out of my driveway after our once-yearly mom-and-daughter weekend. I once put off watching the final episode of one of my favorite comfort-watch series for four months because I didn’t want it to be finished. But for a Christian, there’s no real end. No bad end, anyway. I’ll be happy to let pain and suffering go. But all the good things, every single good and great thing, will go on. And on and on and on and on and on. The promise of that is sustaining and nourishing to me. Ultimately, over the arc of God’s great plan, it is only going to get better and better and better. I love that I love a God who promises that “He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.”
5. I have purpose. I am a person who likes to do. I like to learn; I like to read; I like to write; I love all the different things that I am passionate about engaging in. And being a Christian gives those things both purpose and promise: all the things about me, that make up my gifts and my skills and abilities, are useful not just in the limited-run of Being On Earth but also to and for God. It gives me great joy to think that there will likely be joyful work in heaven: not labor, but the engaged activity of deeply passionate people fueled by love and worship for God. I like that my Christian walk doesn’t demand I become some kind of clone or automaton, but rather the best me that God knows all the potential of and designed me to be.
And really, it’s hard to limit my list to five. I have a lot more. Share yours below in the comments if you like! And have a good day today, if you can.