We do not live to ourselves, and we do not die to ourselves. If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord; so then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord’s.This came into my head today at a time when I was thinking that life is really hard--hard for all of us sometimes, and unbelievably hard for others too much of the time. Sometimes it's the external stuff that makes life hard, circumstances, misfortune, poor health. Sometimes it's our inner stuff that fails us, distracts us, so that we descend into despair.
And yet, even there, "we are the Lord's."
I am not talking about personal despair--no need to email me, worried that I'm heading for a crisis. But I am trying to tease out hope, invoke it, because I am hoping hard right now, hoping for someone else, beyond all the cliches of hope, beyond all the hackery of religious comfort, beyond God-talk, beyond logic, way past wishful thinking.
Where does God live? How far away in time and space and abstraction? We often try to make God immediate and like ourselves--father, friend, footsteps in the sand. A companion we speak to, an answer-book for what to do and how. But those images may not hold faith enough for strong hoping, not when self-loathing and other tortures separate people from God.
Though even then, "we are the Lord's."
For it is written,‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall give praise to God.’ So then, each of us will be accountable to God.
With every knee bowing, every tongue praising, every one is in relation to this Lord, who is sovereign, everywhere greater than we are, from deepest space to the micro-spaces between the cells in our brains and bodies.
We are the Lord's in these places. So hope--come forth.