As a nine-year-old child, I experienced an uprooting where in a few days everything that was familiar vanished. Days after my father survived an assassination attempt, we abandoned our home country of Peru and arrived to Augusta, Georgia with one suitcase each. When all that is familiar can suddenly disappear, what then is the one constant in life? When a fellow human being I do not even know wants my father dead, and my family crushed into pieces, what is the purpose of exposing one’s vulnerable heart to the risky reality of love? Life suddenly becomes absurd – and Jean-Paul Sartre appears to be correct.
When I was fourteen years old, my older brother died five days after Christmas. Years later my extended family fell apart. My father died of cancer when I was twenty-one years old, one year after surgery revealed his illness was incurable. Can life be reduced to a series of vacuous moments loosely linked by the fact that I am the subject of each one of them? Is belief a fairy tale or wishful thinking for those who are weak and find it difficult to cope with the harshness of life? Belief suddenly becomes the opium for the masses – and Karl Marx appears to be correct.
When I was a child, I believed because my parents believed. I received my looks from them, I received the language I speak from them, and I received the context of my life from them. During adolescence however I began to believe because I chose to believe. My experience validated what I had received, my thought molded it, and my faith set it on fire. In early adulthood, I came to believe with profound conviction when I experienced the soothing balm that Jesus Christ offers not only to the world, but to every single soul that believes – including my own.
I believe because experience has taught me that life is not absurd, and that love demands a risk that is always worth taking. I believe because when words and explanations fail in the face of inconceivable tragedy, an innocent man hanging on a cross provides unmatchable comfort deep within who I am. I believe because invoking a merciful God brings true consolation and provides firm hope for the future.
I believe because “we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who has similarly been tested in every way, yet without sin (Hebrews 4:15).” Christianity posits a God who has created all things, and who out of love, has taken on the nature of one of His creatures. A God who has experienced all things human beings experience, without excluding weakness, pain, suffering, and even death. His grace always enters through a wound – like the new life of a baby who enters into world causing painful labor pains to the mother, but after the pain comes the beautiful presence of the new born child. God is near and can be found. He heals the wounds of a broken world and of every distraught heart in the same manner that His defeated body rose from the dead and gloriously walked out from the tomb.
I believe because despite the wretchedness I have experienced and seen in life, the goodness and beauty that love generates are palpable. The pierced heart of Jesus Christ aches along with mine and with a fallen world that groans, longing for redemption. In the midst of the tempest, Jesus Christ, in His glory and in His weakness, stands strong anchoring all of creation, announcing that to love is always worth the risk. I believe because God has revealed himself to me as a God willing to risk everything for love, and I have risen to that same challenge.
1/14/2022 1:33:42 PM