Angst. Restlessness. Despondency. These feelings find me awake and heading to the grocery store at o’dark o’clock on a Sunday morning. Well that, and the fact that WinCo will be so empty I can browse as slowly as I want, and hear myself think.
It was a serious miscalculation on my part to watch news programs all week, when all I really wanted to do was to track the impact of hurricane Matthew. By week’s end I was in despair. Add to that my awareness of the difficult times, pain, and heartache being experienced by so many friends and family members, and I have to admit I was beginning to understand why so many choose escapism; alcohol, legal and illegal drugs, ladder-climbing, mind-numbing entertainment…, religion?
Instinctively, I felt the need to “have a little talk with Jesus”, but never being one to choose an easy lie over the tough truth, I had to consider, was this just another way to escape? Some people presume that Christianity is just another way to escape the harsh realities of this world; that Karl Marx was right when he wrote in his Communist Manifesto of 1848 that (all) “Religion is the opiate of the people.”
You’d be amazed at the conundrums one can work through while walking practically empty aisles at WinCo which is how I settled that Marx was right AND wrong. If my ‘religion’ consists only of the ‘spiritual rituals’ of church attendance, singing, reading the Bible, and so on, it may be true that all I’m doing is numbing myself, choosing escape, denial, and the proverbial “pie in the sky when I die” over life in the trenches of human frailty and failure.
I’m a Christian because I have made an informed decision to believe that God, the Self-existent One, inspired 40 people over 1600 years to write and compile 66 books that reveal truth without contradiction, and with continual scientific and archaeological discoveries, supersedes every challenge to its accuracy. And if you don’t think that’s impressive, try getting the same story from two different people who saw the same accident three minutes ago.
In His book How Now Shall We Live, Chuck Colson writes:
“We must show the world that Christianity is more than a private belief, more than personal salvation. We must show that it is a comprehensive life system that answers all of humanity’s age-old questions: Where did I come from? Why am I here? Where am I going? Does life have any meaning and purpose?…”
“Why are you cast down, O my inner self? And why should you moan over me and be disquieted within me? Hope in God and wait expectantly for Him, for I shall yet praise Him, Who is the help of my countenance, and my God.” Psalm 42:11 Amplified Bible
My ‘religion’ is not a mind-numbing drug, it is an ever-evolving relationship with the Self-existent One that has me leaving WinCo with hope and confidence, back into the trenches …just living the thing.