Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Love Life: God’s Precious Gift

Every new day is the first day of the rest of our lives. Thank God for every new day because several have not lived to see another day.

As life is a priceless gift from God, there is no justification for suicide, there is no justification for wasting lives with addiction, there is no justification for termination of prenatal lives, there is no justification for cursing our existence and the day we were born. That would amount to the highest degree of ingratitude and crudeness. That would make God cry. To be a winner in the cosmic warfare is to praise, thank and to bless God in all circumstances and to appreciate and thank Him for the precious gift of our lives.

Some people tend to think that their lives are their personal possessions and that they are entitled to do whatsoever with their lives, even to terminate their existence. “Its my life. Leave me alone.” This is typically known as pride of life. We often hear this bravado from the young and old. Unfortunately, a life that is guided by a person’s own human spirit, without the guidance and protection of the Holy Spirit, fall an easy victim to this kind of thinking encouraged by the evil one.

The victimization begins at the level of the intellect. Whether we like it or not, we are caught in the cosmic forces of the good and the evil. When we do not have the foundation of our lives in God, we are gradually led on to the road to darkness and deeper and deeper into the abyss. Unfortunately, most of the times, we are not even aware that we are led on. We simply tend to think we are exercising our human will. Indulgences and gratifications of all sorts, at the end of it, leave us emptier than when we first embarked on this self-gratifying hedonistic journey.

In fact, the mind is the battlefield. Temptations begin here. Temptations if not controlled, lead to afflictions and afflictions lead to bondages.

Most atheist existential thinkers deny the existence of God on grounds that injustice in the world and human suffering is not commensurable with the existence of a benevolent God. They opine, since life is short and full of sorrow and since a man is born by chance and no one can escape death, after which he is never remembered, the best thing to do is to enjoy to the maximum capacity.

The first rule to remember is that God is not the author of evil. In fact, God saves us from evil. His plan for our lives is always good. But the Devil has a plan for us too. “Ungodly people have invited death on themselves by the things they have said and done” (Wisdom of Solomon 1:16). Another grave but erroneous thought that comes to the rationalists is that there is no one-to-one correspondence between human character and prosperity. They feel, evil, on the contrary, prosper. “Look at what happens in the world: sometimes righteous men get the punishment of the wicked, and wicked men get the reward of the righteous (Ecclesiastes 8:14). God’s response to these charges is as follows: “On the day when I act, they [righteous people] will be my very own. I will be merciful to them, as a father is merciful to the son who serves him. Once again my people will see the difference between what happens to the righteous and the wicked” (Malachi 3:17-18). God has set a time for His judgment.

There is beauty and wonder in human existence that can be felt only when we remain connected to God. What does this connection offer us? Peace, joy, security and unconditional love. “I am the tree and you are the branches” says Jesus. When the branch is dissevered from the tree, it suffers from lack of nourishment and withers away. God is truth, God is love, and God is beauty. The beauty of our existence cannot be realized if we do not remain with Him. The joy of faithful, unconditional love cannot be ours if we do not remain in Him. The bliss of divine protection and security cannot be ours if we do not remain in Him.

Every man has a deep quest for a friend who will never betray or desert, who will love him in all situations and in all conditions. Such a friend exists and makes Himself available to those who call on His Name. He has passed all tests of faithfulness and loyalty. He never forsakes us when we are in trouble but stands by us at all times and in all situations. He is never ashamed of us. He doesn’t stand on pride and ego. He even washes our feet. He is the epitome of humility. His name is Jesus Christ. He redeems and validates our lives with His blood and washes us white as snow. He doesn’t make us pay for our sins but He so loves us that He ransoms us with His blood. He is love. He is truth. He leads us on the path of truth and holiness and reveals to us the beauty of righteous existence. He helps us love our lives and to thank God for the gift of our lives. He teaches us the redemptive beauty of suffering and gives us the grace for endurance. Even suffering takes on a different significance when we are connected to Him. Without Him, life is meaningless, a series of routine and mechanical activities.

God created us in the bounty of His everlasting love, in His own image, but did not leave us alone to be devoured by the evil. He has not recklessly given us lives but created us with great care, as per His plans and purposes and His plans for our lives are always good. That He has made each one of us unique is revealed by the fact that no two individuals are alike, no two fingerprints are alike, no two pupils are alike. Our birth is not a chance, cosmic accident. How concerned is God about us? So concerned that he has counted the hair on our head and carved our names on His palm. His concern for us is demonstrated in the free gift of His only Son for our salvation and for the gift of immortal life that is assured to a righteous life. We have but one life to live and no second chance.

Is it really worth living a righteous life and what are the benefits of righteous living?

The road the righteous travel is like the sunrise, getting brighter and brighter until daylight has come (Proverbs 4:18). He protects those who treat others fairly, and guards those who are devoted to him (Proverbs 1:8). As a father is kind to his children, so the Lord is kind to those who honor Him (Psalms 101:13). He will cover you with His wings; you will be safe in His care; His faithfulness will protect and defend you (Psalm 91:6).

We’ll taste the beauty of living in an intimate relationship with God and we will be able to appreciate every year, every month, every day, every moment that He has gifted us. We’ll be able to live each moment with intensity.

We’ll not let our neighbors die in sin. We’ll be good Samaritans and teach them to value their lives as much as we learn to value our own, because life is divine.

Let us pray: 
O God, I thank and bless You for the precious gift of my life.
Save me from pride of life knowing that it is but your generous gift born out of the bounty of Your everlasting love. 
Help me value and cherish each moment of my existence.
Lord, thank You for making me unique in the universe. Help me live with intensity and a passion for life. 
Lord, help me reach out to others especially those who are on the brink of destruction of their lives. Help me to unfold to them your unfailing love and mercy. Help me to reveal to them your burning desire to save them. 
Dr. Nina Caldeira