At the heart of the quest for faith is our need and our desire to live in the real world. We are all facing the full force of it today. To be human is to try to make sense of it. We need to find a story that captures the fullness of this world in all its complexity, absurdity, messiness, beauty and glory. We are not robots. We cannot buzz mindlessly past the smiles, the sunshine, the freshness of coffee, the aching muscles, the broken hearts, the dripping rain, the fresh fall breeze, the warmth of an embrace or the dancing fire.
Look around. What is this place? Who am I? What am I doing here? Even if we don’t realize it, we are asking these questions every single day. We are turning to the thousands of answers that are floating around us. Taylor tells you to “Shake it off”. You are what you want to be. Don’t let the critics in. Dance and shake till the questions and doubts fade into the background. Donald tells you that no matter what you say or do, you can feel great as long as you keep telling yourself you are. That coworker who refuses acknowledge your presence tells you that you are nothing.
And no matter how wrong or crazy any of them are, we can’t just shake any of it off.
We are always weaving our stories to help us feel like we “fit in” to the world we inhabit every day. As if we weren’t made of the same dirt. Look at your social media accounts, your receipts, your favorite coffee shop, your desk at work, your break room table, your church, your bookshelf, your man cave, your closet, your makeup collection. These are all places of identity. They are the places that remind us who we are and that we belong.
It’s a joke really. And yet we do it every day. Over and over.
But sometimes we have to pull over and stop and think. We have to try to put all of it together. The reason we often feel so disjointed is that we try to live a hundred different mini stories without ever finding the one that is both true and crazy enough to bring them all together. What message is big enough to fit such a world?
No matter how I turn this Rubik’s Cube over and over I see one simple fact: No other story in history comes even close to its ability to really capture the real world like the Christian one does. God made all things. God who was and is before all things. Matter matters. The weight and beauty of the physical world point to the fact that we are not alone here. We were made to think, to perceive, to feel, to reflect and to experience it all for a reason.
God has tied himself in love to this world that he created, a world that so clearly rebelled against him. Love is at the heart of everything. He came into his own creation to save us and tell us about himself, to reconnect us back to the life he made us for. Every day matters. More specifically, people matter. Because we are different from the trees and the squirrels and the raindrops. We were made to know our Father and to see his goodness and love in everything. If there is no infinite-personal God, all is lost. The biblical narrative is the only one that speaks of this God.
And yet, I know I cannot prove any of these things. At least not in the final-definitive-scientific-laboratory kind of proof. I can tell you that this is the only story that truly deals with all the facts of the world as they are. And yet it’s not just in the logical arguments that I think Christianity wins. At the end of the day, I know that it is real because it tells the story of the real world, as it actually is. It unmasks me even as I try to unmask it. It is the product of my daily fight to live in the real world and make sense of it. And it feels like freedom.