The weeks lecture has long finished, but the question posed at its beginning lingers. It roles around in mind and soul entwining itself with a cacophony of academic philosophy and emotional confusion...
"How do you orientate yourself in light of your circumstances?"
Circumstances... the word itself is overwhelming. Where do I begin? Past, present, or future... Do I take into account the genetic circumstances that I have inherited? And to what extent? The thought of assessing all of these circumstances at once intimidates me. The philosophical dance of nature and nurture will surely conclude with a fatalistic loss of hope...
Then there is the problem of interpretation. How do I honestly assess my circumstances? Where will my bias lead? Do I allow my emotions to navigate the way? Along this track, raw unbridled honesty is always tainted by the insanity of sin. Do I follow the path of stoic academia, only to find myself in the company of denial, indiffernce and self-deception?
Neither path will lead to truth. So what is truth, and how do I do find it in the haze that is my circumstances?
"Jesus said to him, I am the way, and the truth, and the life." John 14:6It is impossible to step outside my finite little life enough to locate myself properly a midst my circumstances. Personal honesty will never locate reality unless it simultaneously faces the infinite God who is in all and who sees all.
I stop. I pray.
Lord, how do I locate You in light of my circumstances? Who do You say You are in the mess and business of my life?
"The LORD, the LORD, a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness, keeping steadfast love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, but who will by no means clear the guilty..."
Relief. The circumstances of nature and nurture do not determine who I am. I am more than the sum of my circumstances.
"Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's. "
"When you simultaneously face yourself, your circumstances, and the God who speaks, then even the most painful, sharp-edged honesty takes on the fragrance and sanity of Jesus."
- David Powlison