Lost and Found

Michael Ramsden, 22/09/2013

The question about finding meaning in life is one that affects every group of people. A young person once asked him. He works for the family that control his country. He said while he talked to his leaders he got stuck and asked for Michael’s number. 9 months later, Michael got a call and at first he didn’t know who the caller was. After a while, he made the connection. The caller broke into tears. He said he has billions and he works with leaders of nations but he could not find happiness. He was willing to fly to see Michael. He met Michael and wanted Michael to speak to his country. One day, Michael went to that area and gave the man a call. The man asked him to go to the Dubai International Airport for him to go to the country for 3 days. However, there was no visa. He was not allowed. Michael convinced them to let him go through. At the boarding gate, the security personnel wanted to stop him and again Michael convinced him. That country has a bad human rights record. Entering the country without visa is a serious offense. Michael only remembered the man’s first name. Upon arrival, he met 2 men who asked him to go with them. They took him to the room and asked him for a visa. They then made arrangement for his visa within 30 minutes. The man arranged everything. When it was time to go, Michael told him the plan was going to take off. The man said the plane would leave when he told them to. It was a 6.5-hour flight, he would fly back. He wanted to talk to Michael.

So much of our energy is used to just keeping on. In life, we find that as number of choices increase for us, we find it harder to make the choice. When we have limited choice, we think we are disciplined. Scarcity makes it easy for us to choose. As we become increasingly affluence, we find it harder to make choices and also harder to enjoy those rewards. Where do we go from there?

In the West, there is a crisis. Many people are questioning the meaning in life. They eliminate the question. Blue Bear from Jungle Book first did this, is his Bear Necessity. (Michael observed there are many thin people in DUMC and it disturbed him. He said life is too short to be thin.) Jean-Paul Sartre told of Antoine ‘discovering’ the reason for the existence of the chestnut tree. There is no explanation why, things just are. He tried to make the world that exists in his imagination into the real physical world. It didn’t work and he became sick. When the novel is published in English in North America, it was under one single word that describes the book, Nausea.

Some people told Michael they would like to believe what he believe but they could not. What they are saying is Michael seems to be happy and they would like to have. They think Michael is happy because of this Christian faith but they think that’s imaginary. They don’t want to partake in the ‘insanity.’

Several years ago, Michael was in a wedding dinner. He sat in a group of people he never met before and never met again. In the same table is a professor of Post-Modern Spanish History. He said all history is about the interpretation of historical facts. It used to be an examined course but now the students write whatever they want. The prophet doesn’t tell you what will happen before it happen. Instead, he explains why it happens. (Here, Michael once again made a reference to Chris Wrigt and asked everyone to come.)

A psychiatrist went to a psychiatry ward for the first time. He met a man who claimed to be Napolean. He asked him who told him. He said God did. The man beside him said he did not.

Many claimed to be God. We live in a world of brute facts. In science, there are 3 levels of explanation – causal explanation (physical). Another is functional (formula). The last one is about of why. This seems to be hard to answer and it has been dropped. Scientists focus on the cause and the functional explanations.

A friend gave this illustration of a kettle boiling. A causal explanation is how the physics of water converting into gas. A why explanation could be someone wanted to have tea.

A friend who is in astronomy showed him a star charts. He said if he were to put a dot on the chart to represent his significance, he would have overstated it. (The friend also recited the formula for the black hole, all 2.5 minutes of it.)

The rounder people are more environmental friendly. All the skinny joggers are environmental terrorists. Michael wanted us to remind Dr. Chris Wright when he is here next week.

What if we are here by design? What if our life is not by chance? There is a different reason why some concluded that life is meaningless. Not because of science and philosophy but by morality the absurdity of what we do and what we want to do. (cf Rom 7:15-20).

Michael said if we think we are perfect, have no fault and can make no mistakes, there is only one solution – we must get married.

Paul said he knew what good it but he didn’t want to do it. He also knew what evil is but he did it.

I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[c] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.

When we do go work, we find peer pressure. We apologize for speaking the truth when we do. We are struggling to do the good. It’s so hard to do good and so easy to do the bad things. One may question why God made us this way – that we do the bad things and then punish us for doing the wrong things. It makes life absurd. It’s like God sees us drowning and ask us to get out of it. We could not help ourselves. God said if we drown, he will punish us. In another scenario, God sees us drowning and extend his hand to save us. We tell him it’s our life and we could do what we want to do with it.

John 3:16-17 tells this clearly. Jesus spoke about why he came to the world – to save us. If we put our hands in his, we will not drown. He will save us. Everyone who trusts in him will be saved. If we refuse to take the only rescue plan God has for this world, then only will we be condemned. We didn’t choose to be born. This is the same tragedy when we counsel victims of abuse. We have to let them know they didn’t anything to deserve the abuse. But we all have done things to get us into our drowning situation.

Michael told the life story of Thomas Tarrants III. He joined KKK and he didn’t like it because they were too liberal and didn’t take enough actions. He then co-founded the White Knights of the KKK. Edgar Hoover sent spies to infiltrate the organization to kill him. During a bombing attempt, the spies tried to kill him. 200+ rounds were fired. The woman beside her was shot in the neck. Thomas was shot but escaped. The pursuers saw a light and caught him and were convinced he would die from his wounds. He got operated and survived and put in a maximum security prison. He escaped and re-joined his group. One night, when a friend came to relief him 30 minutes earlier before schedule was shot under heavy fire. He was caught and put under solitary confinement. He was allowed outside once a week. He asked to read Mein Kempt by Hitler. Eventually, he asked for a Bible and he read the verse about what profit a man if he lost his life. He realized he was wrong. He got down on his knees and gave himself to Christ. The agent Hoover sent to check on him said he was a different person. Thomas requested to meet the agents sent to assassinate him and wanted to apologize to them for putting their lives in danger. Most of them became Christians. More about Thomas Tarrants III can be read here.

We need to know that Jesus Christ loves us.

Michael used his wedding ring as an illustration. The gold ring has value not because of scarcity. Everything is scarce. But for anything to have value, there must be a demand. If no one wants gold, then there is no value in gold.

We need to realize our value in Christ.

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