By Emily Salerno-Oswald
We all struggle with something that seems to be beyond ourselves, a problem that is too big for us to fix, be it a recurring sin, an ailment, mental illness, grief or even our own temperament. And yet, we keep trying to fix it on our own. If the problem starts with me, why on earth would I be the one who could fix it? Why do I think I can “fix myself”? Why does everyone on this planet struggle with problems too grand for them to fix on their own? Doesn’t it suggest the existence of a more powerful Fixer?
Why do we crave order when our lives are so tragically disordered? Is our existence nothing more than cruel irony, a series of longings that exist only to go unsatisfied and to culminate in a postscript of nothingness without end after this life? Could that be all that there is? And if so, why are there things like conscience- and why does anyone care about right and wrong for that matter? Why is there beauty? Why is there love? To what end is it all we are just hurtling toward an endless void anyway? If a void exists after this life, and it never ends, then that means that infinity is possible. And if infinite nothing is not so far-fetched, then why would an infinite something be? An infinite, divine Something, to which everything else leads and from which everything else comes. Why is that idea so absurd?
I think the crisis of this day and age is that the world believes that truth and reality are not good, but rather disappointing. Truth, in this vision, perhaps falls short of what we would ideally desire but we must accept it and come to terms with it. If reality is, in the end, a giant let-down (and if truth itself is a giant let-down), then what could make this life worth living? Why would anyone want to pursue supposed “truth” if it only just falls short of what the heart most deeply desires?
Many who reject God are afraid to believe that something so good could actually be true because when they’ve put their faith in human beings, they’ve been let down and they don’t want to be let down again. They fear that if the One who is supposedly greater than man also lets them down, then they’ll have nowhere else to go. Essentially, they’ll have no hope. So they preserve their hope by not taking the risk of actually hoping, for fear of losing hope altogether. Hope, like the potential energy that exists before an object has been set in motion, remains only hypothetical and is never fully tapped into. Fear rules the day.
I think what truly sets the Christian worldview apart is the essence of Christian hope. Christian hope challenges the jaded concept of things being “too good to be true”. In this world, we are used to being let down. Some might argue that the existence of an infinite, all-loving Creator who brought us into existence, who sustains us day by day, who cares to pursue us constantly and to contrive an infinite plan to save us from ourselves and all of our shortcomings and to provide us with everything we could ever desire in the depth of an unfathomable love is too good to be true. But, what if the truth (in its essence) is good? Then it would be a contradiction of truth itself to claim that something is “too good” to be true; if fact, the more good something is, the more convincingly true it should be. This is what Christians take the risk of believing, in the person of Christ who is Truth; this belief is the source of true Christian hope, light, joy, peace, and love beyond comparison.