Making sense is for amateurs
To be a witness means to live in such a way that one’s life would not make sense if God did not exist. ~ Madeleine L’Engle Walking on Water, Reflections on Faith and Art
I often need reminding that the only person whose behavior I can control is my own. Same goes for thoughts, actions, and intentions. I can’t cause you to agree with me. I have no control over how you respond to me. I can’t make you do what’s good for you no matter how strongly I wish you would. All I can do is live my life according to what I believe, and believe is best for today. Tomorrow, I begin again.
Witness is such a funny word. We’ve made it a courtroom word, a legalistic word. Who saw the crime? What can they tell us about what they saw? The funny thing is, witnesses are highly unreliable. Detectives and investigators will tell you this.
All the more reason not to listen to what I say. Just watch what I do, because whatever I believe it will be on display there. That’s a big responsibility if I try to control it, and try to make sure you come away with just the right impression. That I can’t do; it’s out of my hands.
Yet, that’s one of the biggest and, to me, best arguments for the truth of the resurrection of Christ. After the disciples saw whatever they saw, they lived differently. What they said and did made no sense unless they believed that Christ’s resurrection pointed to the existence of God.
Would my life, as I am living it today, make sense if God did not exist? I’m pretty sure I could not live it intentionally that way. That is, arise from bed, say to myself “God exists,” and then go about living the proof. How would I do that exactly?
But what of people watching me and trying to make sense of what I say or do? How I respond. How I spend my time, my money, my energy. What kind of witness do I present?
Some would say, “Oh, there will always be naysayers and fault-finders. Pay them no mind.”
But I don’t dismiss them. In fact, favoring those who would complement, encourage or affirm me, who would let me rest on my “church-going” laurels, may be just what the darkness would like. Nope. It’s exactly the naysayers whose attention I have attracted that I invite in. They are a gift to me. They challenge me. They challenge how I live, and how I respond.
It is exactly in those moments of potential confrontation, accusation or dismissal that my witness speaks up. My words are useless. My fear and defensiveness is what they expect. If I withdraw from the angry challenge, I leave them scratching their heads saying “what in the world made her do that?” That’s when God speaks up. Because those are moments not of this world.
It makes no earthly sense. Exactly.