Tag Archives: life

A Desire to Live, a Readiness to Die

“Take the case of courage. No quality has ever so much addled the brains and tangled the definitions of merely rational sages. Courage is almost a contradiction in terms. It means a strong desire to live taking the form of a readiness to die. ‘He that will lose his life, the same shall save it,’ is not a piece of mysticism for saints and heroes. It is a piece of everyday advice for sailors or mountaineers. It might be printed in an Alpine guide or a drill book. This paradox is the whole principle of courage; even of quite earthly or brutal courage. A man cut off by the sea may save his life if he will risk it on the precipice.

He can only get away from death by continually stepping within an inch of it. A soldier surrounded by enemies, if he is to cut his way out, needs to combine a strong desire for living with a strange carelessness about dying. He must not merely cling to life, for then he will be a coward, and will not escape. He must not merely wait for death, for then he will be a suicide, and will not escape. He must seek his life in a spirit of furious indifference to it; he must desire life like water and yet drink death like wine. No philosopher, I fancy, has ever expressed this romantic riddle with adequate lucidity, and I certainly have not done so. But Christianity has done more: it has marked the limits of it in the awful graves of the suicide and the hero, showing the distance between him who dies for the sake of living and him who dies for the sake of dying.”

~ G.K. Chesterton

Far Too Easily Pleased

Some of you may have already read this article from MSNBC; but if not, I strongly urge you to do so. Here’s an excerpt:

Stacie Crimm didn’t get to share much time with her infant daughter, Dottie Mae – she’d made the ultimate sacrifice to give the little girl life.

Crimm, a 41-year-old single mother, received the grim diagnosis of terminal head and neck cancer just months after her little girl was conceived. She opted to skip chemotherapy to protect her growing fetus.

Crimm survived long enough for the baby to be delivered. But shortly after holding her daughter for the first time, the Oklahoma woman slipped into a coma and died.

It’s a beautiful, beautiful story. Here’s a woman who (as far as I know) was not a Christian, and yet she demonstrated the essence of John 15:13 far better than many believers do. As Challies said, “Greater love hath no mom than this…”

But there’s something disappointing and troubling about this story, too: you probably noticed it yourself, toward the end:

[Crimm] didn’t have many special instructions on how she wanted her daughter to be raised, but she did have big plans for her little girl.

“She said, ‘I hope this little girl grows up beautiful so we can put her in pageants,'” Phillips told Lauer.

Really? I thought. That’s it? That’s all you want for your daughter? How sad.

Not surprisingly, I’m reminded of something C.S. Lewis once wrote: “We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased.”

As Christians, we, too, live because Someone died for us. Because Christ died for us. The life we now live is not ours to wile away on paltry earthly pursuits. Jesus didn’t die so we could have our “best life now”; He didn’t die so we could chase our wildest dreams; He didn’t die so we could win beauty pageants or write a New York Times bestseller or make it to the Oscars.

No, He died that He might call us to something bigger, better, grander, and far more magnificent than any of these things. He died that we might be sons of God – that we might love Him and glorify Him and enjoy Him forever.

“Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we
should be called the sons of God…” (1 John 3:1)

“Lord, I Was Blind!”

Lord, I was blind! I could not see
In Thy marred visage any grace;
But now the beauty of Thy face
In radiant vision dawns on me.

Lord, I was deaf! I could not hear
The thrilling music of Thy voice;
But now I hear Thee and rejoice,
And all Thine uttered words are dear.

Lord, I was dumb! I could not speak
The grace and glory of Thy Name;
But now, as touched with living flame,
My lips Thine eager praises wake.

Lord, I was dead! I could not stir
My lifeless soul to come to Thee;
But now since Thou hast quickened me,
I rise from sin’s dark sepulchre.

Lord, Thou hast made the blind to see,
The deaf to hear, the dumb to speak,
The dead to live; and lo, I break
The chains of my captivity!

~ William Tidd Matson