survival and sustenance

There’s this ethereal place I’ve always wanted to reach but never can. Never will. A place I want to reach but cannot find. Where everything and everyone will be okay. Whole. All things and persons as they should be. All things and persons made new. For as long as I can remember I’ve longed for it in the midst of this palpable sense of lack and brokenness. But it’s permanently elusive because it cannot exist (at least here and now). The longing it produces is what matters, not the imaginary arrival itself. The longing, not the arrival. The question is: will we survive the longing, the waiting? Some are crushed by it. Will we survive it. Can we. 

Not everyone survives the emptiness. Idols, escapism, death, come in all forms: substance abuse, addiction, self-harm, harm of others, hatred, violence, injustice, prejudice, nationalism, racism, xenophobia, homophobia, scapegoating, persecution, depression, anxiety, fear, despair, hopelessness, meaninglessness, suicide; or lifestyle, location, travel, money, career, possessions, passions, romance, relationships, sex, intimacy, belonging, religious activity, good works, self-righteousness, and on and on. Anything can be an idol or an escape. Anyone can be the target. Including ourselves.

How do we survive? We allow God to meet us, be with us, love us, in the midst of the lack and brokenness, what we do and do not and never will have, the good and the bad, the joy and the sorrow, the fullness and the emptiness. We work to better ourselves and others and the world but without putting our faith in outcomes, without trusting in certainty, only in God, whatever we do or do not see, whatever happens or changes or does not. We survive only in the one constant of the universe—God, who’s love conquers all, and conquers us if we allow it. I couldn’t imagine trying to live, survive, without God and his love. I don’t expect him to “fix” me or others or the world, but to sustain me, and others, and the world, and the universe, and whatever comes after.

God is our sustenance. This is where our hope lies. At God’s table bread and wine always abound—in the presence of friends and enemies, in declining years and breaths, in life and death. In all things, God is our sustenance. This is how we keep going. This is how we survive. 

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