Core Belief: The answer to life is not a what – it’s a who

I wanted to document some of my core beliefs – both to share and to help me articulate these myself.  One of the fundamental things that’s unique about Christianity is the focus on a who instead of a what.  It is in God himself that we find the meaning and answers to life – not in a set of behaviors or beliefs (not that those aren’t important).

This became more clear to me when reading “A Case for Faith” by Lee Strobel – a book. A book that explores some of the common objects to believing in the God of the Bible.  In his first chapter Lee Strobel answers the question about suffering – how can suffering exist if God is good?  Personally this is one of the more difficult things in life to understand – seeing all the pain and injustice in the world.  Strobel interviews Peter Kreeft – a philosophy professor at Boston College.  In Strobel’s unique style he interviewed Kreeft from both an apologetic and personal perspective.  There are many answers that Kreeft gives but the one that struck me was that the answer to suffering wasn’t a thought, a philosophy but was answered in the person of Jesus.

Life is answered in the person of Jesus – the one who was despised and broken for us – died on the cross and was raised again.  One who knows what life is like here on earth – not just impersonally as the God in heaven – but as a person who walked dirty streets.  It’s answered in the one who loved deeply enough to weep for others, to eat with sinners and outcasts.  To confront the proud and comfort those with shame – the one who died on the cross to save us from ourselves.

Interestingly this message was given long ago – in the book of Job.  The book of Job is one famously known as a study in suffering – as we watch Job struggle with his loss.  It’s a lesson in how to be a friend – KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT.  But it’s also a lesson on handling suffering – as there’s a gem at the end of the story.  After Job and his friends have their “fun” discussion God steps in.  He basically tells Job that he is God – and you’re not.  Job’s response is this:

Then Job replied to the LORD :

2 “I know that you can do all things;

no plan of yours can be thwarted.

3 You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?’

Surely I spoke of things I did not understand,

things too wonderful for me to know.

4 “You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak;

I will question you,

and you shall answer me.’

5 My ears had heard of you

but now my eyes have seen you.

Job’s response is I saw you – I experienced your presence – and this was enough for me.  And fortunately for his friends Job prays for them to keep God from wiping them out (he wasn’t too pleased with them).

If you take a large scale view of the Old Testament you can see how God doesn’t just send down rules – but seeks a relationship with the nation of Israel.  He wants them to be his people – for them to choose him as their God.  It’s in the old Testament that things become very personal – as God arrives in the flesh.  Not a prophet or an angel – but God himself shows up.  Look at how he doesn’t just teach – but he develops relationships.  And then he does the unthinkable – God sacrifices himself for us.

Christianity is not just a call to holy living (which is important and the best way to live).  It’s not just a call to serving others – which is also an honorable and wonderful way to live.  It’s not understanding life, understanding our universe, not removing ourselves from it, becoming immune to it – or being better than others (in terms of our behavior and beliefs).  It’s a call to relationship with God himself.  The creator of the universe seeks to call us into a relationship with him – one where he redeems us to bring us to himself.  It’s about a who – and not a what or why (it’s also not 42 – sorry Hitchiker’s Guide to the Galaxy Joke).

I’m grateful that in the storms of life I have something that’s not a cheap answer, not a platitude, not even a biblical phrase/teaching – but I have a God who loves me deeply and comforts me.  As much as I seek after him the seeks after me even more strongly.  Jesus teaches that the comforter (Holy Spirit) will come to us.   I’m grateful there is presence – not just words – from a God who ran.

Categories: Core Belief

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.