The most fundamental teaching of Christianity is that God made man for a personal relationship. Creation and angels weren’t enough. He wanted a being that could chose to love or not, to be devoted or not, to worship or not. He came up with man – seemingly the most advanced and most flawed of His creations.
Adam and Eve had a good friendship with and appreciation for God in the Garden of Eden. Yet God made man for something more – a deeper relationship of love and devotion. However, this deeper relationship has to be earned. So, He allowed the Serpent to enter the Garden to tempt man and lead him down a path from which man could not recover on his own. Centuries later, God Himself returned to rescue man from his self-willed, deteriorated condition – a condition from which man could not save himself.
Now man comes to God through Jesus Christ in deep gratitude for providing what man cannot do by himself. He comes in devotion and love to respond to the sacrifice on Calvary. He comes with a history of experience and knowledge confirming that man is not capable of saving his own life. He comes with the experience of faith in God that leads him in the narrow path to life.
Unfortunately, the path is murky, clouded by a fallen world. It’s a struggle to follow the quiet small voice of God’s teaching on right and ethics. It’s difficult to act against the practice of culture to honor the God of eternity. The way is often uncertain and only a few find it. Yet the few who follow it, honor the Creator. He takes pleasure in their courage to be counter-cultural, to be generous in a world of greed, to be kind in the face of self-will and ego, to be helpful and protect the needy. These few shine through the glitter of man-made structures to sparkle a light into eternity.
Recently, I struggled with the reversed role of taking care of my aging parents. The pieces weren’t all in place. I needed to work through what was around me to find a path that would work. We couldn’t do everything ourselves. We couldn’t afford to pass off the responsibility. We struggled just to do the right thing by them. It wasn’t pretty or glamorous. No magic check floated down from heaven. We simply prayed and worked through our options and the opportunities found, as best we could. Then Dad passed.
We held a quiet ceremony of family and friends. Yet somehow God was honored. I think He prefers the grass-roots movement of His children, helping people at an individual level in their world. It was nothing anyone on earth would brag about. But I think it’s what God wanted. I don’t understand it. I just know that it’s how I’ve often seen God work.I elaborate on this struggle in a book that I am about to publish. - forthcoming book.