Our labours are not in vain in the Lord. What God sees us doing in secret will one day be rewarded openly. The trials and struggles we now go through – seemingly alone and unnoticed – are fully known by our heavenly father. Perhaps you are in a world of pain, and it seems like no one else knows anything about it. Well, hang in there: God knows all about it.
OK, so I am easily triggered – triggered in getting inspiration for an article that is. It does not take much for me to get an idea for a new piece. It might be something I just read, or saw on tele, or heard about somewhere. And often a number of things will coalesce at the same time, and lead me to write a new article.
This happened again yesterday. I was thinking about how often I am dealing with the grief of losing my wife, and praying that God would give me grace to keep on keeping on. At the same time I was working on a new article which related to this. And I also came upon something while flicking channels on the TV that further brought things into alignment. These various bits and pieces all came together, and so I posted this on the social media last night:
Writing a piece on Augustine and his Confessions, I am struck again by his honesty – ‘warts and all’ – as he discussed his journey. That spurred me on to reject the modern Christian tendency to only run with ‘positive’ and ‘uplifting’ stories, but to be real with where we are at. In that regard, and to be honest, over the past 3 months, I often tell the Lord I am ready to go home. I was going to post that, but then I came upon a TV show in which a guy mentioned his dad passing away some years ago by suicide. That reminded me to offset any self-pity and selfishness I might have with awareness of my responsibilities to others. Of course I have 3 sons and a dog and cat that need my attention. And oddly enough even some folks I have never met have some interaction with me (at least online), and I am perhaps indirectly responsible for them and their welfare. So I need to keep going and ignore somewhat the despair and grief that can easily overwhelm me.
Let me unpack all this a bit further. As to Augustine, I had just penned a piece on Aquinas, and am now soon to finish this piece on Augustine. They are part of my ‘Notable Christians’ series. Now that I am getting older, I am thinking I need to get cracking and finish off some of these articles. They are a small part of the legacy I want to leave behind.
I make no claim to being any sort of authority on folks like Aquinas or Augustine, but I do feel I can at least try to introduce some of these great believers of the past to other Christians who may know little or nothing about them. My brief introductions, coupled with recommended reading lists, might help people along the way in this regard.
As to his famous Confessions, Rowan Williams says this about them:
That is why it is so difficult to read the Confessions as an autobiography in either the ancient or the modern sense. Earlier classical and Christian writers had produced narratives of part or all of their lives: Augustine’s distinctiveness is the refusal to present a narrative that in any sense claims clarity or finality. . . . Those who have found the unity of the whole work elusive have missed the fact that he is not recording an edifying and coherent life but performing two different tasks.