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Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Life Is Pain, Highness...

One of my favourite movies is The Princess Bride, for its one liners and overall charm. There are simply too many quotable moments from that movie but one of those quotes is "Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something." It's a quote that highlights for me how the humour of the movie rests in the truth of statements made throughout it. Truly, life is full of pain.

This past month we have seen two different types of pain in the Australian community. Firstly the pain for the cricket community with the freak accident that took Philip Hughes. Secondly the pain in Sydney with the Sydney Siege event just this last Tuesday. I myself have experienced personal pain this year with firstly the loss of my Grandmother and secondly the loss of a family and church friend. Life really is full of pain.

To use another movie, The Lion King, "Oh yes, the past can hurt, but from the way I see it, you can either run from it, or learn from it."

I was busy camping when I heard about the Sydney Siege. I could also tell you where I was when the other tragic events happened for me. There's something about tragedy that etches itself in your mind - I can still remember the exact moment when I walked into the living room to see the Boxing Day tsunami roaring across the television screen as a news update.

The thing that touched me however about the Sydney Siege is this: here I was in the beautiful serene natural environment and yet I knew that in the world around me there was chaos and pain and tragedy. It was an interesting contradiction for my mind to think about - but it was also a revelation for me about God.

You see the humour of The Princess Bride is that it takes a variety of nonsensical, tragic and laughable moments and weaves it into a narrative of sparkling romantic beauty. It's a tale that despite death and hardship becomes a 'happily ever after' story in the end, while poking fun at such fairytale stories. Similarly I think that's what our world is like: despite the pain everything is woven together into something more beautiful in the end.

As I stood on a mountain on Wilson's Promontory, I became aware that yes, indeed, my God is a great and powerful God. He is a God who holds an entire universe together and yet bothers to care about my life - about your life on an individual level.

Romans 8:28 (NLT) "And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them."

I saw the Australian Cricket community bond together tightly over Philip Hughes with #putoutyourbats. I have seen the general Australian public bond together over the Sydney Siege with shows of support such as #Illridewithyou. I love that people bond together when this happens: it's a strength of Aussies to rally together as mates in tough times and it's a wonderful thing.

I was lead to reflect however that I need my life to be more than just a single series of hashtags or signs of support: not that I don't want to support a hashtag campaign, just that I want to live a life of support. I want to ride with all people regardless of what events are going on. I want to stand with those who lose a loved one regardless of whether it's a big event in the media or not. One thing that disappointed me about both situations are some people I know complaining and questioning 'what is the big deal.' The big deal is that it's people in pain and no one should ever belittle someone else's pain because it's a personal deal. What you can do is stand and support.

We're almost at the end of 2014, Christmas is in one week's time. My challenge to myself and anyone reading this is to remember if you are a Christian that you carry the eternal restorative power of God himself within you. The power to redeem a fallen world around you: live that out, practice it, live an example of love to the people around you this Christmas. Be like our Saviour was in John 3:16 (NLT) "For this is how God loved the world: He gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life." Be an example of eternal life through love. And as for anyone else? My challenge still stands also to be an example to the people around you: show others that despite life being painful and full of tragic moments that it truly is worth it in the end.

Ecclesiastes 3:11 (NIV)
"He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end."

Life is pain: but it is also beauty and love. What are you going to live out this Christmas and New Year?

Please feel free to comment, share and let me know if you did read this! I appreciate it everyone :)