WHEN ARE WE MOST ALIVE?
by Rev. Ernest O'Neill.
What we don't realize is that every time God allows evil to touch us, He is trying to blow us out of that. He is trying to make it as big as it is His plan for us. Loved ones, we were made to work in cooperative dependence on the life of God. You do not have all the resources you need, you do not have all the patience you need, you don't have all the love you need, you don't have all the kindness you need, you don't have all the gentleness you need and God knows that. He has it to give you and there are countless times when you come into situations where you find that you have to go beyond yourself and that's when He wants you to reach out.
When is life most vital, you tell me? When is life most vital? When are you most alive? When are you most alive? When are all your powers most alive and alert? You know it, in the midst of danger, in the midst of impending disaster, when things seem beyond you. There's some spirit that seems to come down, and you seem to live more fully and wholly at that time than ever before.
I really think that's why there's a lot of silly talk about Vietnam and about war. But I do believe that many men and women lived more fully when they were driven beyond themselves. One of the most pathetic letters I've ever read appeared in the London Times May 5th edition. The Menin Gate is in Belgium and in the first world war there were eight million of the best and the youngest men of all nations that were just slaughtered.
It's incredible when you think of the limited weapons we had in that war, how many people were slaughtered. In Belgium, millions and millions were slaughtered and put into graves but there were millions whose bodies were not found. And so the Belgians have put up a massive memorial to them. Everyday at a certain time in the late evening, since the 1914 war ended, there is a bugler that comes out and plays the last post in memory of these men that died defending Belgium and the traffic stops. This man writes, "Yesterday I stood at the Menin Gate and listened with overwhelming emotion to the sounding of the last post. As the haunting notes of the bugler echoed off the walls of the thousand upon thousands of British dead, I was overcome with a feeling of shame for the lazy, greedy, tax-fiddling, strike-written, bureaucratic, vandalized country we have created. Whatever the military folly of their sacrifice, they made it. Whilst at going down of the sun, I was remembering them, and thankful they could not speak to me for what could I have said of England?" You think of our own country and you think of how we rise at a moment of danger and how we seem to stretch beyond ourselves when things are too big for us to handle ourselves. And there seems something divine comes down to us in those moments.
I am not arguing for war but do you see that when you come into situations that are beyond you, those are the most precious moments of life and when you come up against that person who tries you beyond your own patience, that is the moment when you're beginning to lift into life. That is the moment when God expects you to look up and see His Son standing above the world with the world under His feet and with all the patience that you will need. And He expects you to call upon Him for the patience that you need at that moment and to act in the strength and the power of Jesus’ own life.
When you're fired unfairly from your job and you find that you do not have the courage for the future and you do not have the ability to take this with peace of mind, that's the moment when God has allowed evil to touch you in order to drive you beyond your own resources, to look up to Jesus and say, "Lord, I don't know where the next penny is coming from but I know that you have promised that you will supply every need and so Lord, on the basis of that promise, I am going to act in peace, not on the basis of my own plans because I have none. But on the basis of your promise".