Reality can be absurd.
During an unusual cold snap in South Florida, there were news stories cautioning people to watch out for frozen iguanas falling from trees. Days later those stories were replaced by articles about people selling iguana meat – to eat. I live in North Florida so when the temperature dipped, I only had to worry about covering my plants and wearing closed-toe shoes. Still, I followed the stories about the non-native iguanas and the people who eat them.
More recently, I have been reading about sightings of non-native wild monkeys in the area and other parts of the state. Apparently, some of these monkeys are infected with a deadly strain of Herpes B. These herpes positive primates have been known to attack when their territory feels threatened. So, now not only do Floridians have to worry about being bonked in the head by a comatose iguana, or whether it’s actually chicken in our Brunswick stew or reptile meat, we also have to worry about diseased monkeys charging us.
And people think life here is just sandy beaches and lulling surf.
I often contemplate the absurdity of life. There is so much truth that reads like fiction. So many realities that seem fantastical. One of the biggest of which is that there exists a God who so madly loves us that he died for us. Of all the ways he could have mesmerized, awed, and astonished us to show his love, he chose death. I can’t say that would have been my pick. On the surface, it doesn’t make a whole lot of sense that he willingly gave his life out of love for us. When you contemplate the suffering that preceded his death, it feels as absurd as free-falling iguanas. “But God proves his love for us in that while we were still sinners Christ died for us,” (Romans 5:8). Much to the hindrance of my relationship with God, I have struggled with the reality of this truth. How could he possibly know me so completely and still love me unconditionally? How could he identify all my weaknesses and still want me? How could he acknowledge all my failings and forgive me? And my favorite wondering of all, how could he allow me to suffer when in a breath he could remove the entirety of the world’s suffering?
In a word, every one of my questions can be answered with the same one that prompted Jesus to die so that we may have a chance to live: love. The immensity of his love feels like an absurdity that I don’t deserve. Yet despite my inherent unworthiness, he loves anyway and all the way. Accepting this as truth changes the way I see everything. My heart smiles just thinking about it.
Of course, for a moment I digress and wonder about the plausibility of a heart’s smile. Then I remember there are stranger truths and carry on with my smiling heart and my loving God.
This week Valentine’s Day is celebrated. The story of Jesus’s life is by far the greatest love story ever told. It’s also your story and my story. Doesn’t your own heart smile just thinking about that? Sending His love to you all.
Read last week’s post here: Pro-life: Pro-love