Every day people wake up. For many people, they prefer to ease into the morning. Rub the fog out of their eyes. Engage with the realness of the world again. The dreams that had just occupied their rest quickly forgotten. They begin to recognize what's familiar in their living space. They feel a sense of place. But, for others, this is not their morning routine.
Some wake up with a jolt. Breath held in just short of exhalation. This is not where they want to be. The person next to them in bed may as well be a continent away. Home, and spouse, and realness have a different meaning. Their dreams are horror stories that are not quickly forgotten. The bad dreams follow the dreamer into the waking world and fill in reality around the margins. Some people are scared all the time, whether awake or asleep.
Should we live long enough to count up the years, we will recognize more and more often that everything is temporary.
However we wake up, whether we want to choose bits and pieces of the world or take it all in, reality is there with us. It is the pillow, the coffee mug, the moisture on the window, and the traffic. It is the deadlines, quarterly earning reports, struggle to pay the mortgage, and marriage falling to pieces. It is complaining about hurt feelings, laughing about nothing, and suffering so the kids can eat. It is the pathetic sicknesses and gut-punch diseases, secret addictions, and self-justified perversions. It is the reality of knowing that the world will not miss us when we die.
And over the years, should we live long enough to count up the years, we will recognize more and more often that everything is temporary. Our life, everything that breathes, is a dust particle suspended in infinity. We can define life, refine it, and demand it return to us again and again. We can dig into reality, drift through it, and be bored or hurt by it. However we come at it we will discover that our way of life, whether we ease into it every morning or it jolts us awake, is always being brought to heel by reality. And sometimes, in between the living and the realness of life, we get lost.
We even think to ourselves, "My God, my whole life is right here in front of me, but how did I get so lost?"
This feeling is not unique to any one kind of person. It is the natural state of the old Adam. We get lost in between living and the realness of life because we cannot control reality. We try to save ourselves. We struggle to get back what has passed away. We know we are all crazy in our special way, but that is because we are trying to find the truth, uplift our hearts, and make up for the lost time. We travel thousands of miles, up, down, and back and forth to defeat our fear of living and dying, and having it mean nothing.
And yet, with a simple turn, we discover an alternative that offers both meaning and identity for everyone. We turn our attention to the crucified One and, the irony of ironies, the One who dies is Life itself. All things were created through him. In him, we live and move and have our being because God chose us before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless in his presence.
This One, Jesus the Savior of all sinners, died and was raised from the dead to define life and realness for the world. So now, when we ask ourselves, "My God, how did I get so lost," he answers, "I am the God who comes to seek and save the lost in the power of my resurrection. Come to me, you who are weary, and I will give you rest."
We do not have to travel thousands of miles, up, down, and back and forth to defeat our fear of living and dying, and having it mean nothing. We just have to go to the nearest church where the gospel of Jesus is preached, sinners are baptized, and Christ's body and blood are delivered for the forgiveness of sin, life, and eternal salvation. And that, simply put, is as real as it gets.