We have the most interesting dinner conversations with our boys. I love the way their sharp and sometimes twisted minds think. What is the definition of “good”? What if this is all just a simulation, and we are test subjects in an experiment? If God created everything then He must have created Hell, so what does that say about Him? Am I a bad person because I am uncomfortable around certain people?
Trying to define “good” and thinking through deeper topics can sometimes shake me up and I often end up revisiting some of my long-held beliefs. How can I really claim to know what truth is, or pass judgment on what is good and bad? It’s in those moments, when I can feel the unsettling rumble of my foundations being shaken, that I thank God for the storms in my life. Because that is where I learned.
You don’t know that people can be two-faced and manipulative until you experience it. You don’t know that there is a special place in your gut for the pain of not being able to provide for your kids until you lay awake with it all night long. You don’t know that you are stronger than you think until you are forced to face down your worst fears – and you come through. You don’t know that loneliness won’t kill you until you learn to make peace with it. Like a diamond, there needs to be pressure and heat for it to form. It was in the dark, scary, cold and painful places where I learned what I believe, where I settled the debates once and for all – about the BIG questions.
Want to know what those were? Here’s what I’ve got so far…but I’m not done mind you.
Yes, there IS a higher power, a creator, and He (or She, I’m not claiming to know) is GOOD – all the time. Even when I don’t understand. And my Provider and Helper – as I call Him – cares about whether or not I have enough groceries to feed my kids, whether or not I am feeling trapped, whether or not our latest foster dog finds a good home. Nothing is too small for His care, and nothing is too big for His power. I rest in knowing He is always listening and always present. He is my rock. He has proven himself in the darkest places and I would be a fool to make Him do it again and again. I remember.
Yes, there is good and evil in the world, and we do have a choice. First we need to not be idiots and learn to recognize evil in its many different forms. We are NOT to cower and bow and give it a place of honor in our homes, as some blindly suggest. Do not make deals with it. Do not hope it will follow through this time. Evil is sick, crafty, self-seeking and will leave behind nothing but pain and emptiness. Know what you are dealing with. STAND against it. Chase it from everyplace in your life. The battle against evil starts in our own minds and hearts – keep them clean and healthy!
Yes, one person can make a difference. This may all be a simple test, or a bigger version of the Truman show, or an experiment run by mice, but while I am breathing and others are hurting I CAN make a difference. I can add value to the world. I can care and engage and reach out to those who have less than I do – because there are always others worse off. I don’t have to be perfect or have it all together to be a blessing to another. It can start with a smile and the courage to be vulnerable.
So it’s OK to not have all the answers. There is no need to pretend that we do – even for our kids. They will figure out what they believe – they will someday have their cave experiences and learn in the storms, like me. But in the meantime I will not let someone else’s doubt shake my foundations. I have settled the big questions, and that’s enough for me to have peace, even in uncertainty.