I went to Gap to buy a dress one night a couple weeks ago, and on my way to the store, a fire truck pulled out of the department and onto the street. I followed it down the road for about four miles, its lights sparkling red and blue under the cloudy overhang. The truck's sirens were off, and I watched it in the silence as cars pulled to the side to let it by or slowed and started again in front of me. It struck me as strange that I was going to a shop to browse through racks of cotton drop-waist and shirtdress, and someone else in the world was trying to find their cat in a smoke-filled room or hauling their soot-covered children out to the curb. It's odd to think of that---the amount of souls passing back and forth from earth to the supernatural every minute. For every person that is dying right now, in this instant, someone else is being born and beginning a new and richly deep life. If I think too much about this, my brain gets heavy. One thing that's comforting, though, in all this coming and going, is the fact that our bodies are only houses for our souls, and our souls go on forever. We always have that hope.
I read this in a book last month:
In 1971, John Lennon released the song 'Imagine.' In the lyrics, Lennon calls himself a 'dreamer' who imagines a world without nations and without religion. Without these, he says, there would be 'nothing to kill or die for.' Once ideas about heaven, hell, and God are removed, it becomes possible to 'imagine all the people living life in peace.'
To me, there is nothing less peaceful than this idea. I don't think the problems plaguing the world could simply be solved by this---there is always human nature and history to reckon with.
No matter what angle I look at it from, I always come back to this: In Jesus, there is always hope. He brings peace into a busy mind buzzing with worry, reveals beauty and depth in everything, fights for, rescues, and loves ferociously. There is something scary beautiful about the way He made people in His image and what that means for humanity.
When all feels lost, sin is running rampant, everyone annoys you and no one seems to like you or care what you think, it's refreshing to know that Jesus' death has conquered it all, and we can fully trust Him to come through and help---even if it's not how we would have expected it. Be open to it happening in a different way than you might have planned.
Just remember, you're not alone. There are people who care. And there is Someone who is ever so mindful of you.
[Art by Oliver Jeffers]