Sunday, November 2, 2008

Psalm 23

"The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want."

The Lord… the Lord… Have you ever seen the Lord? Have you ever touched him? Felt his touch? Smelled him? Have you ever heard the real voice of the Lord? I don't expect that God has revealed himself to all 5 of your senses. So then why do you believe in God? The Bible is telling me that the Lord, whom I've never seen, touched, tasted, felt, or heard, is supposed to be my shepherd? I shall not want?

Be honest: what do you want? Let me give you a short list of things that I want. I want to get better grades in school. I want to pay off my college loans. I want to become a Physical/Occupational Therapist. And someday, I want to have a family. I want to marry somebody who's going to be completely honest about herself, faithful, who possibly likes basketball and football, sings, maybe plays a musical instrument, preferably guitar or piano or violin. haha I sound like a personal ad. But back to what I was saying: every other Sunday for the past 3 months, we've heard Psalm 23 at Mass, but then I realize there's so much that I want, you know—and it's practical stuff. But is there a U-Haul trailing behind your hearse? Is my family going to jump in six feet deep with me when I die? Maybe if you're watching Maria Flor de Luna on the Pilipino Channel, yes, but in real life? NO!

You know, I always thought that having a girlfriend would make me happy. And I'm using that as my example because if there's one thing that I want more than anything, it's to share my life with someone special. But you know what? People come and go. Even when I've found that special someone, one of us is going to precede the other in death. People die. This life is finite; it has a distinct beginning and a distinct end. But God: God is infinite; God does not know the limits of the beginning and the end for he is the beginning and the end.
Wisdom 3:1 says, "The souls of the just [meaning, those who put their faith and hope in God] are in the hand of God, and no torment shall touch them."

But a God we've never seen, tasted, felt, smelled or heard? I've put my faith what is not God. I've tasted alcohol and know what drunkenness feels like. I've seen my own family members gamble away everything they've got. I've heard my friends talk as if they've got nothing, yet they're young and have more money in the bank than I've made in my entire lifetime. I smelled the aftermath – the burning flesh of the man who took his life into his own hands in the middle of UW on Red Square yesterday [October 30] afternoon. I'll tell you, I have never used all 5 senses to fully sense the Lord, but I have seen, tasted, felt, smelled, and heard all these other things; and I have found myself completely empty. I don't need to feel God to believe in him. Somebody told me "walk by faith, not by sight, and not by feelings." But if you need proof, look no further than the person next to you... or if nobody is next to you, look at yourself in the mirror. We are all living, breathing defiances of the natural laws of thermodynamics, chemistry, and physics.

The second law of thermodynamics states that the entropy, or disorder of a system will increase over time. Every beat of our heart is in defiance of entropy. Somehow, our bodies are maintaining their structural order, and even becoming more ordered. In fact, as I tell you these things right now, your nerve terminals are splitting to create new synapses, which are responsible for new memories. There is something that obviously transcends scientific law and human reasoning. The Bible is not a scientific text, but there is truth to Jesus' statement that "with God, nothing will be impossible."

There is no way that we, ourselves, are responsible for life. "The souls of the just are in the hands of God." Our lives are in God's hands. If God, who can defy natural laws, is our shepherd, why should we ever want anything than to be with him?

I'm not saying that we don't have to work in order to earn money and buy food and pay bills. I'm not saying that God will miraculously provide me with a 4.0 in Biology without studying. But money, grades, and a girl are not above God. God is above all these things, yet close enough for us to realize that he really is working through us and sustaining life inside of us all the way down to the molecular level.

"The Lord is my shepherd; there is nothing I shall want." People often want to know, "What is the meaning of life?" God is the meaning of life. Without God, our entropy would increase and our lives would become random and disordered and devoid of meaning. With God, there is nothing I lack; without God, I am nothing.

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