“I know without hope I’ll only sink not swim.”
In reading an atheist’s view regarding the profundity (or lack) of faith in God in light of reality, I am struck with the thought that so much of our existence is based on what we can see. Reality is what is before us and it can be verified to some degree by anyone around. Naturally, a pious person who believes in a God that he can’t see is often viewed as a heretic by unbelievers. Even for those who believe, this can be a stumbling block.
And so, reality becomes the barometer for those that are strictly of this world and must have concrete answers that are steeped in reality. This is not to suggest that believers exist outside of reality; instead it is just the opposite. It takes someone steeped in reality to recognize the existence of a creator. Order comes from reality and a solid grip of it. Chaos comes with a loss of reality and explains a great deal of secular beliefs as unbelievers struggle to find order in their lives. (Luke 11:29-36)
Paul claimed order by following the law and look where it got him; blinded on a road to Damascus. Paul truly believed that the order in his life was controlled by the law and anything outside of the law was chaos. Paul was consumed with getting his way, which was pointing out the flaws of Jews and Gentiles alike. The idea here is that Paul was absolutely convinced that there was no other way to live and anyone outside of that purview was worthless and should be condemned and thrown away. Paul had yet to understand the power of grace, and in his shortsightedness, he, like so many Pharisees, believed that order was managed only by following the law perfectly. For Paul, there was a fine line that one had to walk in order to find God, there was no grace; there was no Jesus. My friends, that is indeed the very essence of chaos defined. Paul was chasing a tail he could never catch, but he was bound and determined to crush and kill anyone who did not chase the same tail. Paul needed a wake up call and he got it. I think too many of us are in dire need of that same wake up call and need a good blinding in order to see.
Galatians 5:19-21 points to where we end up when we become obsessed with chasing the same tail that Paul (Saul) chased; “all-consuming-yet-never-satisfied wants”. Losing sight of reality forces history to search for alternatives to explain circumstances and justify order. Scientific study was literally born out of a conflict with reality. Mankind fought order and in doing so lost sight of reality. Even as God sent His son who explained what was required to get to the Father, men denied reality, fought to explain order by a law they clung to, and to this very day men and women argue that scientific law is the only rational way to explain order amongst chaos and to further justify this creation we see.
When we let go of all the trappings of this world in order to recognize what we could have in the next, all of reality shifts for us. A reality set on this life, in this place, is headed for disaster every time, but not always in the way that so many think. Too often, Christians buy into the idea that life somehow gets better once saved; that, in fact, is losing sight of reality. Maintaining focus indeed means that while your eyes are set upon eternity, there will be times when chaos reigns. Not because of an acceptance of a life based outside of this earthly one, but because this place is home to original sin. The reality of this life is accepting that not one thing on this planet is eternal. We must embrace that in order to die to this life.