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Sunday, October 26, 2008

Joy Comes...

Sometimes it doesn't seem like the sadness and tears will ever end.

I know two people who, within the last 6 weeks, have both lost their jobs with no idea of what they will do. Loss of a dear one, illness, wayward children, finances, frustration -- and don't forget the war, the stock market, natural disasters, the upcoming election...

This world is a discouraging place. Happiness is in snatches, yet troubles are constant. It comes down, I think, to what you believe: that this world is random and without sense, or that we are *all* making our realities and need to think more positively (tell that to victims of oppression trapped in China or Africa, or wherever), or that there is a Loving God who is helping us through this mess we've created, and will one day restore us.

CS Lewis said in a presentation (transcribed in the volume God in the Dock) that "Imagine a set of people all living in the same building. Half of them think it is a hotel, the other half think it is a prison. Those who think it a hotel might regard it as quite intolerable, and those who thought it was a prison might decide that it was really surprisingly comfortable. So that what seems the ugly doctrine is one that comforts and strengthens you in the end. The people who try to hold an optimistic view of this world would become pessimists; the people who hold a pretty stern view of it become optimistic."

Most people *sense* there are forces beyond the natural in our world -- angels, a universal force, or even a Creator-God -- but how can one know for sure? And does it matter?

Christians believe that God one day will redeem the world, and there is surprisingly much objective evidence to support Christianity as being true. I myself came to faith through in-depth study of these issues, although when I started I desperately wanted to disprove it all. Christians believe that difficult times now can train and teach our spirits, if we will let them. As it says, "For his anger endures but a moment; in his favor is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy comes in the morning." (Psalms 30:5, AKJV)

If you ask WHY do these things happen?, I hope you might consider asking God, whoever or whatever He might be, to make his truth clear to you. If you ask this sincerely and with an open mind, you may be surprised at what you find.

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