In these troubling and precarious times it’s only natural that fears and insecurities are on the rise. The result is an equally rising number of questions that warrant and deserve some kind of answers.
Some things are conspicuous:
- Fear causes even the bravest to abandon the trivial while holding fast to the certain—What we know.
- All of us have many of the questions.
- None of us has all the answers.
- All of us have some of the answers.
We live in an ever-changing and frightening time. As a physician I hear questions from patients and their loved ones about survival from trauma and disease or other medical battles. One of the most common topics of discussion is faith—that someone is in charge.
But people are also confronted with fears about the world we live in and all of its increasingly discernible dangers like terrorism or the evil types I wrote about in prior blogs http://drmarkmcd.com/2016/07/01/bad-things-happen-good-people/
A precarious world surrounds us.
In light of the recent election, citizens of the US are acutely aware of change on the horizon. The outcome suggests that many are tired of the status quo. Many of those who are not, were too indifferent or dismayed to vote.
Interestingly, a pre-election focus group found that supporters for each of the candidates “knew what they knew” but were unable to listen to any contentions of the opposition. They were so sure that they were right, nothing else mattered. Little, if anything else, was heard.
Events happening around the globe seem random or capricious, at times inciting fear or trepidation into the hearts of people of all ages and walks of life. Terrorism is an evil that is escalating globally and thus affecting everyone on the planet. It’s an evil germinated from a seed of hatred and planted by those with fears of their own, hardly greater than those instilled into their victims.
We’re inundated daily with news of further unrest in the middle east like the recent blood war between Iraqi soldiers and the ruthless and hateful force that is ISIS. For the loved ones of our men and women in the armed forces, the repercussions of that struggle are fears that are permeating every square inch of our homeland.
Now more than ever, people want to know: There’s a God still in charge.
There’s an old saying:
There are no atheists in foxholes.
Our personal struggles become the foxholes that foster our beliefs. At least that has been true for me. As such, what we “know” is the result of the experiences we live (and learn) which often become testimonies to the beliefs we hold.
I’m an ordinary guy who has experienced some extraordinary events. Raised in a Christian home and family, we suffered a tragic house fire that claimed the lives of my mother and brother. I questioned my faith which was challenged to say the least.
Recovering from severe burns that were quite nearly fatal, I had a near death experience that forged strong convictions and my faith in God. From, and partly because of the tragedy, after confronting many subsequent medical obstacles, along with life transforming circumstances, I became a physical therapist and then a reconstructive surgeon.
Abandoning the trivial.
Many opportunities with patients over the years have resulted in occasions allowing them to share their stories, lessons, and faith. Those personal experiences have increasingly become more and more important. They’ve come to be what I know to be true—germane to my understanding and acceptance of the world.
My faith has never left me with with even the slightest sense of moral favor or preponderance. In fact, in contrast, the more I’ve grown spiritually, the more I realize my fears, shortcomings, and insecurities. Honestly—looking back, my journey has been filled with mistakes, blunders, and stumbles.
I can only pray they will serve as beacons of warning to my sons, coming along behind me.
Thankfully, I nurture a relationship with a God I’ve come to know as loving and forgiving—and the one reason I’m surviving these ever changing times.
Ironically, the longer I live, the fewer things I really “know.”
Those few things become that much more vital to my happiness, peace, and serenity. How could I not have faith? I’ve got nothing to lose believing, and everything to lose should I choose to walk agnostically through life alone.
So…all of us have questions and none of us has all the answers. But, as these times become increasingly precarious, our fears incite desperate cries for validity. We can’t help but start, to “know what we know.” Our personal stories will foster our own personal truths and beliefs.
The danger arises if, or when, we stop listening.
It’s perilous because, all of us have some of the answers. Everyone has a story worthy of being heard. Given our fears in this chaotic world, we can not afford to stop listening.
Do you have a story that is testimony to “what you know” perhaps answering some of the questions in these precarious times?
Please feel free to share your thoughts.