by Ernest O’Neill
“Somewhere over the rainbow bluebirds fly ! They fly – so why can’t I ?”
Most of us have felt like the little girl in the old movie – we’ve really felt the narrow, smallness of life in this world – and sometimes felt we were made for a broader, bigger, freer more exhilarating existence than the one we have down here. But that’s as far as it goes – except for those odd moments when either a fast bike or sex or alcohol or a rogue wave took our breath away – and we felt superhuman.
However, especially in this celebrity-conscious society most of us feel insignificant and wonder if we’ll ever be noticed or known. We comfort ourselves with the thought that most people are like ourselves – trying to enjoy some vicarious fame by identifying with rock stars or sports heroes. Nevertheless we feel deep-down a little something that says ‘you are more important than people realize’ – however, nobody else seems to think this about us. So we go on through life somewhat dissatisfied and usually end up taking it out on our wives, children, or peers for not giving us more respect or attention !
How Important Are We ?
The real truth, of course, is that we are actually more important – in fact, we’re part of the most important being in the whole universe. But we don’t believe it – so we’re always rather dissatisfied with ourselves, our achievements, and others’ neglect of us. Why do we not believe that we’re part of the most important being in the whole universe ? Because we don’t read history ! We just can’t get past the many religious people who seem to us stupid or dumb ! And they certainly have not made it easy to see what modern theoretical physicists see so clearly through their studies of quantum theory.
It’s difficult to meet a modern physicist who does not believe that matter consists of infinitesimally small particles that one cannot see and whose position and speed cannot be known simultaneously. This means that the whole universe is still a mystery that had a beginning, but that there may be other parallel universes that have connections to ours where, as Einstein says, there is “spookiness at a distance”. Though the methods of proof are different, the tenets of science are not incompatible with the statements of the historical figure in the first century called Jesus, who said he was the only son of the Maker of the world.
Jesus talked of his own life with our Maker before this world was created – he said “you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you”, and a well-known witness said that Jesus was the “image of the
invisible God, the first-born of all creation; for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible – all things were created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together; for we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works which he has prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them”. Science’s emphasis on the “timelessness” of time harmonizes with Jesus’ statement that you were part of him before the beginning of the world – and that he is in you now to do something that only he can do.
What this means is that you yourself were made in this Jesus in a profound way that preserves your own consciousness and individuality; He and his Father do actually know you and have counted the hairs of your head – because you are really part of them. So, your life here on earth is something that they have planned – even if you sweep streets in Bombay or Rio, they are doing something through you that is vital in their eyes. Moreover, not only can you feel the pleasure of God when you do it well, but they also express their own glory through your actions. As you begin to live in this real reality, you experience the relaxed sense of fulfillment that comes from exercising God-given and God-used abilities.
Are You Significant ?
But you aren’t famous or rich or praised or lionized ! But neither are others after five or fifty years ! The truth is that the only esteem we need is not self-esteem but the confidence that someone, who cares about us, put us here and has something for us to do both here and hereafter. This is why the words spoken in the first century are important to understand. These are words spoken about you by one of the men who knew Jesus of Nazareth personally during his life on earth: Paul said “you are the body of Christ and individually members (or limbs) of it.” Jesus himself implied this when he said “I in you and you in me.”
The fact is that our Maker made you inside his only Son so that you would share the same uncreated life; he then let his Son (with you) come to this planet to express in it his nature and will. You often feel those “good” impulses within you and experience also the selfish “nothingness” impulses that are the live alternative. In this way you are constantly given the choice between God’s way and nothingness. As you make this choice you grow more like the Maker or more like his opposite abyss. You can try to replace his Son’s desire to please his Father with a desire to please others, but somehow the replacement never satisfies.
The reason for your existence is given in those words we quoted at the beginning – “we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, for good works which he has prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” That is where we find importance or insignificance fade into the background – when we begin to enjoy what we are and what we do because we know our Maker prepared it for us before the world was made. That’s when we sense his words apply to us – “this is my beloved son in whom I am well-pleased.”