“The glorious liberty of the children of God is not the happy fluttering of a butterfly from one attractive flower to another. It is joyous, but it is also radical, hard, and absolute…Giving us our burden, God launches us into an unsuspected adventure of conflict, which is finally that of freedom.” (Jacques Ellul, The Ethics of Freedom)
At the back of our farm is a barn where we have experimented with growing wild wild flowers—a melange of white and purple happiness with two lone sunflowers to boot. They smile up at the cumulus clouds casting across the sky. I sit alone with my flowery friends enjoying the quiet interlude before the challenges of life slap me across the head and I realize afresh that reprise is only one part of the human story.
There is another side to life—the one which carries sudden bad news drawing all joy away. It is a sword piercing hearts infinitely more holy than mine, crushing everything that lies in its super nova path.
It is indeed as Ellul foresees: the journey of life includes a fair measure of joy (fluttering butterflies), but also that which is ‘radical, hard, and absolute…giv[ing] us a burden, a conflict.’ I believe along with Ellul that our journeys end in ‘adventure and freedom,’ but it does not come easily. There are battles to fight, wounds to bear, and crosses to carry before we reach the distant sun-gilded shore.
May we be strong and courageous enough to face the FOE that makes for strong and pure hearts.
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My exact thought this week. As I face my challenges I see the blessings knowing that my challenge is an invitation to a closer walk and conversation with Abba.
A thoughtful reflection piece Alan!