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This year, we celebrate the 100th anniversary of one of man’s follies in trying to put himself beyond God’s reach.  The great Titanic was touted as unsinkable.  It was supposed to be the crowning achievement of man’s ingenuity and would prove that man is a god by showing mastery over the elements.  There are many other examples in human history where we tried to exalt ourselves and find ways to be beyond God’s grasp, many additional chapters or footnotes to be added to the long list beginning with the Tower of Babel.  Many have foolishly tried to enact this control on a smaller scale in their own lives.  We have seemingly countless stories of men in history that sought to place themselves beyond God’s grasp and beyond His influence.  It seems that I hear a new one every week.  We remember the famous story of God’s hand as it wrote Belshazzar’s fate on the wall in Daniel 5. 

In his pride, Belshazzar thought he had placed himself beyond the grasp of God such that he could violate with impunity God’s ceremonial laws for the use of the goblets from the temple.   And we have stories continuously in history up to the modern era, such as the bizarre story of Howard Hughes, whose life is a revolting metaphor for our generation.  After the wild successes of his life, all the money, the beautiful, glamorous women, the high-living, he became a victim of his success as he increasingly saw himself as a god, trying to control his own fate against all threats.  The crazy, obsessive stories about Hughes are numerous, and people have attributed several factors to this long, slow train-wreck, but I can sum it up in a couple of words, sin and pride.    

So, certainly, it is good to want your children to have a better life.  But it is foolishness to think that you can protect them or inoculate them from the major challenges of life.  When we try to protect ourselves and our children from the messiness of life, we set up our own destruction that assuredly comes when the reality of life crashes headlong into the cherished illusions (or delusions) that we’ve built up, and each time we are bowled over as we stand flat-footed, unprepared for the brutal force of the unexpected.  

In the movie “Parenthood,” the main characters try to negotiate a string of disordered events that constitute the normal, everyday life of parenting.  The overarching message is that life is always unavoidably messy, but that the chaotic messiness is acceptable, maybe even enjoyable once you take on the right mindset.  This chaotic disorder is part of the package that comes with each infinitely unique and creative human being, which is each and all of us.  In fact, one of the critical moments of the movie is when Gil Buckman, played by Steve Martin, finally reaches an epiphany and gives up the desire to control, accepting life in all its disordered glory.  In that scene, he imagines himself in a roller coaster, a metaphor for life’s ups and downs, and simply accepts the fear and the thrills that come with the ride. 


 


Comments

12/06/2016 5:46am

I think man can have success if he or she has faith in God.If God is with you than you can have success in all fields of life.This post is really awesome and the examples used by the writer are really very accurate.

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    I'm a retired soldier, having spent 23 years of my life serving our country, actually 30 years when you count the reserve and National Guard time as well.  I believe in servant leaders, following the example of our Lord, and I believe in giving back to the troops once one has attained a certain status or level of success in life.  But I also believe in fighting back against corruption and incompetence wherever you find it if it hurts people.  Our national values were worth dying for.  They are also worth living for.  A man or woman can actually live a life by these principles of humility, service, love, duty, and honor, and have a significant impact on the world around them...if you have the dedication to see it through. 

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