Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Myths, Dreams and Wishful Thinking vs the Adventure of Real Life

In this past year, I've increasingly noticed the depth and relevancy of David French's contributions to National Review. The piece he wrote yesterday I found especially moving -- and I think you will too.

For a little background, understand that David French is a Harvard-trained lawyer who serves now as a Senior Counsel at the American Center for Law and Justice. He is also a husband, a father of two, a former law professor at Cornell, the author of several books, and a Captain in the United States Army Reserve who was awarded a Bronze Star for service in Iraq.

In other words, he is a fellow well worth reading and his article from yesterday's NRO is an excellent case in point.

...The Christian world has become pretty darn good at selling a religious version of the “if you dream it you can do it” message of not settling for less than awesome. In this new world, if you’re not starting nonprofits, building wells in Africa, and engineering social justice in a blighted community then you’re not “radical.” (To borrow the name of a popular book in Evangelical circles.)

Ecclesiastes is an under-read book — the author, likely Solomon, had all his heart desired yet declared it “meaningless . . . a chasing after the wind.”

We don’t tell kids that the wind can’t be caught. We tell them that they are the masters of the wind. And then one day they wake up, they barely know their kids, work is stressful, the bills have piled up, and they realize — with shocking suddenness — that they’ve likely already peaked. They won’t do better in life, and in their quest to fulfill their dreams they’ve often ignored the voice that calls them back to modesty, to focus on doing one’s duty — to God, to family, to country. The quest is not to “have it all” but instead to have what God provides to do the work He calls us to do.

There was a reason why the Apostle Paul declared, “Far be it from me to boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.” That completed work on the Cross is what gives us meaning, and it is the act that ultimately wipes out – decisively and eternally – our record of dismal failures, our sickness, our sadness, and our defeated expectations. 

It is also an act that renders insignificant even our great successes — it is the ultimate source of both hope and perspective, that we can never fall too far for the Cross to reach, and we can never succeed enough to impress the One who was present at Creation.