the wider life

an excerpt by J.R. Miller –

We should never be content with a narrow life. We are made for breadth and fullness, and we rob God when we fail to reach our best. 

Some people assert that Christianity’s ideal for life, is narrow. They say it cramps and limits us. It has no place, for example, for physical or intellectual development. It says nothing about art, music, science, or the many phases of human activity. It presents only the moral side—conscience, obedience to heavenly laws, spiritual attainments and achievements.

The answer is that while Christianity may not definitely name the things of the intellect, or distinctly call men to noble achievements in art, in exploration, in invention, in research, in the culture of the beautiful, it really includes in its range everything that will add to the fullness and completeness of life and character. It excludes nothing but what is sinful: disobedience to law, impurity, selfishness, uncharity, and these only narrow and debase, do not broaden and enrich life.”

on hardship and ease

Shatter the myth that easy is good,
and hard is bad

we all want a comfortable life,
bathing in ease and luxury.
at least, that is what we think we want.
if comfort and pleasure is the main (unspoken) aim
of life –
to enjoy nice things and to not have to worry about anything –
then we would be Epicureans.

and then when we finally have all these
material possessions that we want,
we wonder why we are not happy,
and feel a certain void within,
a certain meaninglessness.

Vanity of vanities, all is vanity

we were not made just to pursue
a comfortable existence,
but for God our Creator.

The persecuted Christians
who had nothing,
and really nothing,
no savings, no house, no future –
landed up and died in jail –
those that ‘wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins;
being destitute, afflicted, tormented;

know more about solid joys
and lasting pleasures
than men whose main aim
is to live as comfortably as
they possibly can on this earth.

if we try to insulate ourselves
from the vissicitudes of life –
“bubble-wrapping” –
however well-intentioned these efforts may be,
we will never develop true
strength, courage, grit.

it is the hardship and the pain
that forges our character:
why do we try our best to avoid
any form of pain and discomfort?

but if we have a purpose
that extends beyond just eating and drinking
before we die –
and we do –
comfort is not a priority.

Ease is not good,
and hard is not bad

floral reflections

I love, no,
I love love flowers.

Maybe because they’re fragile, easily blown away by the wind –
and I empathize with them.

Maybe because they’re beautiful –
and I appreciate beauty.

But on a deeper level,
their very existence shows that while not useful
in the strictly utilitarian sense
(unlike corn and wheat),
these fragile beauties occupy a place in God’s creation:
a reminder that things need not be purely practical.
Beauty’s not a waste – not if it comes from the Source of all beauty.

conquering self-will

As self-will is the root of all sin and misery, so whatever cherishes this in children ensures their wretchedness and irreligion: whatever checks and mortifies it, promotes their future happiness and piety. 

This is still more evident if we farther consider that religion is nothing else than doing the will of God and not our own; that the one grand impediment to our temporal and eternal happiness being this self-will, no indulgence of it can be trivial, no denial unprofitable.

Heaven or hell depends on this alone. 

– Susannah Wesley

what I’m thankful for

It’s just my bad habit to fall sometimes
into a mood that is “doom and gloom”,
but as I learnt on Sunday,
I must rejoice evermore
and in everything give thanks.

I’m thankful for sprinkles of joy
today:

hearty laughter with my students,

Oreo cupcake,

wandering alone about the neighbourhood after dinner,

chancing upon and being able to buy a Christian book I have always wanted,
Let Me Be a Woman –

I shall resolve to be sunny
one day at a time.

the training school of pain

Every now and then,
Pastor will talk about the differing trials
that God allots to every Christian.
Some face fiery trials in the beginning of their Christian walk,
while others face theirs in the middle,
and yet others only at the end.

A few of them, he says,
face them all throughout.

Inwardly, I cringe a little –
“let it not be me” –
my flesh desiring a smoother,
less rocky
path after 10 long years of
persecution and affliction.

(The start was fiery,
and surely now my rest comes?)

Then,
the Lord reminds me of

the refinement these fiery trials have wrought –
a stedfast conviction of the truth of God.

If the journey does grow easier,
I might grow more afraid
to confess
Take the world, but
give me Jesus,

more afraid to sacrifice all.