“To live is Christ, to die is gain” Say what, how is that?

“To live is Christ, to die is gain”, what?  How is that?

Death takes me further away from God, not closer. Death throws a silence over my faith. God is good. Let’s explore a little what it means to say that when:

  • You have faced death, tragedy and destruction of your world.
  • You come face to face with your own mortality.
  • You are intimate with the death of someone you love.
  • You watch helplessly as the breath fades.
  • You are alone with grief your only companion.

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Can you say ‘God is good’ and believe it when faced with an ending?

With no one to blame, is evil the easy answer? Or is it the answer for the cause of so much pain in the world?

  • The violence,
  • The hate,
  • The addictions,
  • The lust, and
  • The greed.

Good people are hurt and evil continues unabated, while we make excuses.

  • Collateral damage?
  • Innocent victims?
  • Life is hard and you die?

Illness, sickness and death with no concrete cause leaves you with the consequence. What is the grand design and meaning if there are no coincidences?

My life was irrevocably altered and I say I still believe. Am I angry and blaming of God? Showing an image to the world on the outside, but inside… do I believe? This face I show the world is that the truth of me? The question remains, do I believe what I say I believe?

Alone in the dark, with God’s total utter silence. No words from beyond except for a faint whisper of “Trust me.” If faith is evidence of things unseen, I have the evidence.

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What remains unanswered is why? The question that still haunts my waking and sleeping, but no answer ever seems forthcoming. “Trust me.” Do I have faith in the finality of that? What is next? A next life? Is it there? Heaven? Hell? Fade to black?

Time to give myself permission. Feel the fear, accept that loss and devastation may return. “Trust me.” It all makes me tired, very tired. Life is more than waiting for the ‘hammer to fall.’ The days and the years go by and the hole in your heart remains. “Trust me.” You laugh and love again. The joyful moments you desperately longed for return, but we fail because of the fear to live, present in the moments. Juxtaposing the past, present and the future. “Trust me.” Whispers through my mind while I feel a –

  • Fear of God
  • Fear of loss
  • Fear of happiness
  • Fear of succeeding
  • Fear of failing
  • Fear of guilt
  • Fear of forgetting
  • Fear of hurting
  • Fear of love

Trust me.” Time to give permission to live, be happy and love again. Permission to enjoy, delight, cherish, feel everything and accept.

“Trust me.” And you wonder if you can love God, accept your destiny, your life, your fate, for “I have come so that they (you) may have life and have it more abundantly,” so a reminder to

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(Originally written in October 2008, updated October 2010, October 2013 and again now, January 2017. Each time the mystery of unanswered questions continue as I contemplate my life’s journey the last twenty plus years. I am still learning to believe that hope lives. ~M)

Holding Space

Watched from afar
by loving eyes of grace.
Angels stand silently
at attention holding space.

Ragged breaths float
into the fading twilight.
Limp soft hands
and open eyes without sight.

At God’s command
quietly the angels step back.
Swords are dropped
onto heaven’s floor – clack!

Cold and alone
shivering to barely stand.
The path before
leads into undiscovered lands.

Walking slowly away
into the solid darkness ahead.
Trusting paths unknown
through whispering shadows we tread.

An eternal light
will shine into our night’s black.
If we choose to see
our future can be taken – back!

Answers lie unspoken
as new dreams emerge and begin.
Resting in stories
told of magic and truth without end.

~Mark Schutter ©2016

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God Is Awake! – 2016 Election

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As we hopefully conclude this seemingly never-ending journey of election drama and the fate of America and every American supposedly hanging in the balance, tonight I will lay my head on my pillow and rest. For I know that whatever tomorrow brings,

I will continue to believe that God is awake!

No matter which candidate wins, whether America wins or loses in the words of the philosopher Annie,

The sun will come out tomorrow

Bet your bottom dollar that tomorrow

There’ll be sun

Silly? Maybe. A false hope? I don’t think so. We never know what tomorrow may bring but every hope and dream is worth saving. This is your life, here and now, each moment of each day. In the words of the band Switchfoot,

Every breath that you take is a miracle

Life is short I want to live it well

And we never forget that kings and princes are ordained and toppled, while seemingly ‘ordinary’ people may be born for a time such as this. We are strong and despite circumstances that may cause us to doubt, keep the faith and just believe.

God is Awake!

PS – Go read a great blog’7 Things I Learned This Election Season‘ by BeautyBeyondBones, she nails it and encourages us all to prayerfully consider our vote. It matters! Have a great day!